Though they're not backing off from the practice, top executives admit to some misgivings about how well their companies manage the temporary workers they bring in during peak periods. Responding to a recent Supply Chain Consortium survey, executives at 100 top retail and consumer goods companies acknowledged that there was room for improvement in the way they manage the thousands of temp workers who pour into their DCs each year.
"Results indicate that companies are searching for ways to improve strategies for handling peak period volume and managing temporary labor," says Bruce Tompkins, Tompkins Associates principal and author of the study, Peak and Temporary Labor Hot Topic Report. "There is clear evidence of a need for a more structured temporaryemployee program."
The biggest problem, according to Tompkins, is a lack of training. Nearly half of all respondents' companies provided fewer than 10 hours of training to their temporary distribution employees, and 21 percent provided fewer than two hours of training.
Despite their dissatisfaction, the executives have no intention of cutting back on their use of temporary help. The survey showed that respondents' plans for 2008 include increased use of temporary labor (as a percentage of the total labor force), more training, and a slight increase in compensation for temporary employees.