Balancing labor and demand has become a huge theme for manufacturers in 2020.


Knowing which lines are above or below production thresholds and understanding how lines can be best utilized to meet demand is imperative to a financially healthy business.


Today, we are going to walk through a key example of balancing labor and demand with Our mission is to arm leaders with the tools they need to take the right action at the right time to drive positive results.


Balancing Labor vs. Demand

To start, you must ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I making enough?
  • Am I making it efficiently?
  • Am I going to stay under labor budget? // Do I have enough people to produce enough?

Next, you need to know who you are balancing it for:

  • Operations Managers for Manufacturers - Typically in charge of a plant that has multiple lines and multiple shifts.
  • Operations Managers for Distributors - Typically in charge of one warehouse or 3PL


What Does it Look Like - A Day in the Life

The power of is delivering insights at the right time. Only having insight once per month and receiving that insight days or weeks after the fact, will not help leaders make key decisions to impact positive results.


It is not only about having insight but having that insight in a timely and relevant manner. Let’s imagine:

  • Line A is behind in production. There aren’t enough people working on the line. They are understaffed by 3 people.
  • Line B is overstaffed. Consider switching workers to line A.
  • Line C is under its efficiency goal.
  • Line D is trending towards exceeding its labor budget. Tom is going to hit overtime.
  • Line A's average tenure is low. You could be at risk of an error or accident.
  • Line B's machine is down.

What could you do to positively impact the issues above? You could:

  • Line A: Consider switching workers from Line B to Line A.
  • Line B: Consider switching workers form Line B to Line A.
  • Line C: Closely monitor your cost per unit to see which of the 4 key drivers are impacting your efficiency the most
  • Line D: Send Tom from Line D home to avoid unnecessary overtime

But the question now is how you will do it. Without data, it is nearly impossible to know all 6 of the issues occurring on that day. With, you will receive all of those insights and more, at the right time for the right person.


Alerts Receive at the End of the Shift, Day, Week or Month

With alerts and insights received at various points throughout the shift, day, week or month, a lot of the issues above can be avoided. And, you will be able to recover part if not all of the lost revenue from those occurrences.


With the right data, you can begin to answer questions like:

  • Plant Performance - How did the day end up? Was I on or off budget?
    • Productivity vs. Budget
    • Efficiency vs. Budget
    • Labor vs. Budget
  • Poor Performers - Why didn’t I hit budget? Which lines do I need to focus on tomorrow?
    • All lines that did not hit their production budgets. This includes Production vs. Budget.
    • All lines that did not hit their efficiency budgets. This includes Units per Minute and/or Cost per Hour.
    • All lines that exceeded their labor budgets. This includes Labor vs. Budget, Headcount vs. Budget, & Overtime.
  • Top Performers - What’s working well? Which line manager is doing the best?
    • Top 5 lines in productivity
    • Top 5 lines in efficiency
    • Top 5 lines in labor management
  • Trends - Is what I am experiencing today normal? How do I compare to trend?
    • Lines that are typically lower producers
    • Lines that are typically lower efficiency
    • Lines that typically exceed budget
    • Plant productivity today vs. this day last year
    • Plant efficiency today vs. this day last year
    • Plant labor today vs. this day last year

What if you could answer all of these questions? What if you had all of this data and more? What could you do?


End Result

The end result in this circumstance is always positive. The value of goes beyond the numbers. It allows employers to be more effective, efficient and better leaders to their people. It allows for data to drive decisions, instead of gut.


Imagine if you saw these results below every day, week, month or year.

  • Labor Budgets are met
  • Production Budgets are met
  • Efficiency Goals are met
  • Accidents are avoided
  • Plant Managers can coach Line Managers real-time
  • Communication is improved
  • Worker experience is improved

It would be game changing.


That's Why We're Here

At, we uniquely understand the need for manufacturers and distributors to balance labor vs demand. After all, that is a foundation of labor efficiency and productivity.


With our first-ever, cross-functional labor efficiency and worker productivity platform we break down data barriers and organizational barriers to set up operations managers for success. This means businesses can arm their leaders with real-time insights by alerting leaders in all departments of staffing shortages, labor overages, and productivity trends to better manage their organizations.


If you’d like to learn more about ways to balance labor vs demand with data or discuss how will work for your organization, reach out to us. We’re eager to connect with you. If now is not the time to consider new software but you liked what you read here, subscribe to our blog below.


Originally published October 30, 2020.

Written by Natalie Ostoic

Outside of spending hours reading new trends in product and experiential marketing, I consider myself a true foodie in every way. Want to know which restaurant has the best aesthetic to food quality ratio? Or, looking for the best coffee in town at the most affordable price? I'm your girl!