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In addition to having the right talent, it is equally important to have a resource (read direct labor, indirect labor or staffing here) to meet the ever increasing and timely needs of the customer. At the same time, it is important that your company not be ‘over staffed’ because the company is increasing its costs.

However, for most companies, the direct labor and staff required to run the business properly is (for the most part) ‘unknown.’  The only time it shows itself is when fundamental processes and procedures are not followed or work goes unfinished. In today’s customer-driven environment, this can lead to some unsatisfactory outcomes such as missed sales, incomplete or untimely communication, increased costs, etc.

There are several solutions for companies. One of them is to hire an Industrial Engineer to conduct time studies on the many direct labor and staff positions. But another extremely effective yet inexpensive way to do this is by using  ‘Activity Logs.’

These logs list all activities and when completed enable a company to gauge the amount of staffing needed for (most) of the positions in their departments.

Below is a view showing a portion of an Activity Log for a Buyer.

Professional Staff Managment
These logs are quite easy to develop and administer. Important fundamentals include,
– a review of the position descriptions for each position to be examined,
– involvement and collaboration of the workforce in the analysis,
– practical experience and complete understanding of the work being performed and measured,
– measuring the workload over time using a specific methodology,
– ensuring impartiality or objectivity when measuring the work.

Activity logs must also cover the ‘range of work’ so as to be sure to include the entire workload activity. This is one of the areas that company’s typically fail and, as such, the actual workload profile is underestimated.

These kinds of analysis provide many insights both the staff and management. Sometimes activities have been overlooked, and other times it is found that some individuals are duplicating work outputs. Still, in other cases, it is found that some activities are taking much more time from the employees than originally planned.

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