by Consultant, Catalina Rodriguez

This post is part three of the Upgrade Your DC series. If you missed the first two posts, you can access them here: part one covering scanning and part two covering slotting.

When improving and upgrading your distribution center and its operations, a couple of first thoughts that might come to mind are: Do I need new material handling equipment? Do I need to upgrade to a certain type of conveyor system? These are important; however, it is imperative not to disregard one of the greatest contributors to distribution costs: labor.

Distribution centers with high labor content benefit immensely from an effective management system that can help control the cost of labor without compromising quality and service. The question to now ask is: Which labor management system is right for my operations?

The following labor management systems, in no particular order, are some our team recommends along with specific differentiating features that can help you decide which one is the best fit for your distribution needs.  

GoalPost by Intelligrated

Implemented in nearly 200 sites, GoalPost has become a favorite in the industry by promoting the benefits of labor management: measure, manage and motivate. GoalPost is equipped with mentoring and employee coaching tools and training curves. For a facility that is interested in incorporating an incentive program as part of their labor management, GoalPost makes it easy to access different types of incentive programs that are embedded right in the software.

Some supply chain management features include import/export management, order management and sales and operations planning. GoalPost boosts productivity and reduces a distribution center’s labor cost by using all of its tools for labor projection capabilities. By allowing the real time administration of people and processes, GoalPost accelerates labor performance and becomes an aid in the reduction of costs in supply chain networks.

What We Like About This LMS

Our team enjoys working with GoalPost because it has great breadth of functionality. It is a straight forward system, making it user-friendly for anyone who interacts with it. Its performance and coaching form tracking are examples of user-friendly features our team has benefitted from. Our favorite feature in GoalPost are its reports since it allows the user to manipulate the preferred outcome, similar to building a pivot table on Excel. All of this combines to make this labor management system one of the most insightful systems for labor and productivity data.

Manhattan LM

Manhattan’s Labor Management system strives on giving you the tools to create an engaged workforce that can increase productivity and work performance, decrease turnover and ultimately reduce labor costs. As a subset of the Manhattan WM, this labor management system has the capability to track employee productivity, forecast workforce requirements and calculate incentive pay that can also feed directly to some payroll systems. By measuring an associate’s performance against installed engineered labor standards, Manhattan’s LM can create systematic feedback and produce a scorecard to track their progress. Based on demand forecast, this software is able to optimize the three different types of labor in distribution operations: regular, overtime and temporary by day, shift and operation.

After acquiring Manhattan LM, your managers will be able to perform a “what-if” analysis for their specific department to ensure they have optimal staffing. This highly developed software is compatible with smartphones and is able to show real-time employee data at the touch of a button anywhere in a warehouse. Manhattan’s LMS is sure to maximize your operations’ productivity and manager effectiveness.

What We Like About This LMS

Our team enjoys working with Manhattan LM because of its integration with the Manhattan warehouse management system. The main benefit we have found is the inclusion of automated tracking of associates when interacting with the system based upon pre-configured activity codes. This eliminates the need to travel to and from a clock/kiosk to change job functions; any sort of manual change can be made from an RF unit. Manhattan’s ability to integrate different systems is able to reduce wasted time and improve overall efficiency.

ProRep by Spalding Software

Productivity Measurement and Reporting System (ProRep) is a Microsoft Windows-based system that offers numerous features to provide management detailed information about their labor force. One of its best features includes clock in and out time transactions that give insight to managers on the exact time their employees have clocked off standard or on standard.

Some of its other transactions include carton loading, picking and putaway. ProRep is able to access and import data from warehouse management systems in order to track individual, team and group performances. Also including an incentive pay module, ProRep is able to use both productivity and quality data to calculate incentive pay for your facility’s associates.

Another attractive feature of ProRep is the capability of using historical or engineered standards as well as animation of travel paths used to calculate standard travel time. By setting minimum requirements for performance and accuracy based on employee hire date, ProRep is able to develop reports and graphs for managers to use. Managers are then able to view these reports and graphs covering any period of time for their employees and send automatic reports and warning letters when performance and quality policies are not met. ProRep minimizes clerical and administrative tasks and verifies that policies are applied uniformly within departments at your distribution center.

What We Like About This LMS

Our team enjoys working with ProRep because of its simplicity. ProRep is effective and we consider it a user friendly system for engineers, managers and warehouse associates. Reports have custom options to be as intricate as needed and are easy to build subscriptions to. We consider ProRep a robust system that has all tools necessary to run a performance management program.


JDA, like other labor management systems, provides management the visibility they need to track completed tasks, employee downtime and workloads in a real-time module. It is a role-based user experience giving specific access to only individuals with certain roles and is equipped to be a fully mobile enabled system.

JDA has all features required to run an employee incentive program including the ability to create report cards and access employee data real-time supporting coaching sessions and manager feedback. It is able to capture the time an employee spends working on a specific task which is able to show a manager utilization and give them deeper visibility into their department. It carries a dashboard with handy tools that are able to adjust labor management components such as learning curves, milestones, policies and users.

Since JDA’s labor management system works as as a subset of JDA’s warehouse management system, it contains several WMS functionalities that improve the accuracy of engineered standards measurement. JDA has the ability to create a virtual map of a facility as well as the incorporation of “XYZ” which can measure distances between locations. It contains the capability of creating job codes with engineered standards for every department of a distribution center and flexible reports of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track employee progress. JDA is able to collaborate with payroll and clock integration softwares to accurately compute incentive and performance calculations. JDA’s labor management system is a whole system that will surely decrease labor expenses while maximizing your distribution center productivity.

What We Like About This LMS

Our team enjoys working with JDA’s labor management system because of its vast reporting features and accurate XYZ mapping tools. Like other LMS, JDA has the capability of creating customized reports for different roles in a distribution center. Its warehouse mapping feature is elaborated enough to give an accurate representation of distance traveled, making standards for areas with plenty of travel reliable. JDA is a powerful system optimal for facilities with robust operations containing many useful configurations for the creation of standards, reports, policies and follow-up material.

Regardless of which labor management system you and your team choose to review or research, it is apparent that each one is capable of providing different benefits for your distribution operations, but all work towards the common goal of productivity increase and reduction of labor costs. Our selections include only a few LMS and we acknowledge that there are other capable systems in the market that are also optimal solutions to a facility’s labor management needs such as NextView or WAMAS labor and resource management system from SSI Schaefer. 

Once you choose a labor management system, you’ll have all of the tools necessary to improve your performance management. For the final step in the Upgrade Your DC series, head to part four to learn all the benefits that improved performance management provides.