HUB 2014 Recap: Strategic Workforce Planning


Anaplan’s Head of Talent, Amelia Generalis, shared the stage with Workforce Insights’ Mike Emsley, GM & EVP, Manufacturing, Public Sector, & Services in one of the most buzzed about sessions at the event, Strategic Workforce Planning: Right Headcount, Optimized Spend, Accurate Projections. They kicked off the planning session with the provocative question: “What are minutes worth to you?” For one Fortune 500 client, solving their excessive overtime issue resulted in $50 million in savings, while resolving another’s lack of precision in scheduling resulted in $100 million in savings, all a result of labor optimization.

Benefits of Labor Optimization

Mike shared some commonly held industry statistics on the areas in which labor optimization can have the most positive effect:

  • 4% savings in absence management, with payroll savings related to unscheduled absences
  • 3.2% savings with demand driven scheduling, reducing labor costs with more precise schedules
  • 1.2% savings on overtime reduction savings, realized by moving from manual to automated systems
  • 4% savings due to increased payroll accuracy

A company with 20,000 employees taking advantage of these savings could see $70 million in savings.

The 4 Categories of Labor Optimization

The session broke labor optimization into 4 key areas:

  • Improved labor budget allocation. Large multi-site retailers struggle to accurately forecast payroll dollars to each location, frequently defaulting to blanket assignments that don’t reflect location-specific opportunities or challenges.
  • More precise staffing and scheduling. How can you better align your data with your staffing? If you’re consistently underscheduling, you can see excessive overtime or lost opportunities or a decreased level of customer servicing.
  • Correct implementation of labor rules. Federal, state, organizational and union rules can create a complex environment to navigate. Similarly, organizations who have grown through acquisitions of other companies frequently find they are “paper-clipping” labor rules together, manually. Using Anaplan can allow you to model potential changes to labor rules, and show what the impact to those changes would be to the organization., which can often lead to significant cost savings
  • Enabling an enterprise view of labor. Labor optimization can give a company a view of their labor, globally, that unlocks the potential to move production to other geographic areas, sharing labor from location-to-location, or even benchmarking locations to identify best practices to replicate.

Barriers to Labor Optimization

What company wouldn’t want to have an extra $70 million per year in its pockets? And HBR reports that human capital is the top factor contributing to sustainable economic value. So why isn’t everyone focusing on labor optimization?

  • Barrier #1: Investment Priorities. Marketing and sales get all the glory… and often the most attention and investment. Why? Because they’re easy to get your arms around and to benchmark.
  • Barrier #2: Optimization can be Deceiving. For example, aggressively going after one area at a time, such as overtime, you could be adversely affecting the whole ecosystem.
  • Barrier #3: Data Silos. It’s a wide-spread issue. Human capital and finance data very rarely well-integrated, often due to incompatible legacy systems.
  • Barrier #4: Technology. IT has so many demands on its time already, for all sorts of priority projects, that labor optimization is usually at the bottom of their queue.

How Anaplan Can Break Down the Barriers to Labor Optimization

Mike shared that one of his favorite benefits of introducing Anaplan into an organization seeking to improve their labor optimization is the ability to quickly and easily integrate numerous disparate, legacy systems’ data, and provide a central repository that allows them to work together. Once that data has been aggregated, Workforce Insights is able to integrate their proprietary models and IP, making the ramp up time significantly faster than starting from scratch and building manual data views. The bottom line? “We work with lots of data…only once we’re really modeling it and creating new views of it does it have meaning and strategic value,” Mike said.

Workforce Assets applied their deep knowledge and experience in this area to create the new Anaplan HALO app—Human Asset and Labor Optimization, which they demo’d in the session. The shared example was a global $20 billion manufacturer of parts for other oil and gas organizations, with a new enterprise workforce management system and more than 100 ERP systems in place.

Using HALO, they were able to create dashboards that answered these questions:

  • What is my profitability by part?
  • Where is the best place to produce an item?
  • Do we have the capacity to produce?
  • If capacity is constrained, what are my options?

Having the answers to these questions quickly in hand sets your organization up for significant cost savings, and increased earnings potential. What question could HALO help you answer?

Strategic Workforce Planning: Right Headcount, Optimized Spend, Accurate Projections (Anaplan HUB2014) from Anaplan

Stay tuned for more highlights from HUB 2014, and check out our archive of conference presentations on SlideShare.

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