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Total Logistics urges businesses to get ready for the new Agency Workers Regulations

With the introduction of the new Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) fast approaching and coinciding with the crucial run-up to Christmas, supply chain consultancy Total Logistics is urging UK businesses to consider how it will impact on their logistics planning.

Research* suggests that more than a third of businesses are not familiar with the new regulations, due to be introduced this October. With many logistics-focused businesses relying heavily on agency workers to provide a valuable, flexible and efficient source of manpower, Total Logistics warns that they may in danger of overlooking a key consideration in their logistics and warehouse planning.

AWR will entitle agency workers, after their first twelve weeks of employment, to the same basic employment and working conditions as if they were permanent employees. This change will force logistics managers to take a fresh look at their staffing levels and forward planning as, until now, this variation will have been factored in as an integral part of their plans. Total Logistics acknowledges that the changes will present new challenges and additional work for warehouse managers, but it is urging companies to see them as an opportunity, rather than an obstacle

Peter Roan, director at Total Logistics, comments: "When it comes to resource planning, the new AWR regulations make working ahead even more important. In fact, our experience shows that making such revisions can actually be hugely beneficial for businesses. For instance, we conducted a structured review of the current demand and order profiles of stationery manufacturer Acco to create and implement a clear set of operational KPIs, which ultimately reduced labour by ten per cent and boosted logistics efficiency.

"These new rules come into force just before the vital pre-Christmas period, meaning the issue needs to be addressed sooner, rather than later."

For those managers preparing to tackle the implications of the new regulations, Total Logistics recommends looking at six key areas:

Familiarise yourself with your processes: Many managers operate inherited systems so a full understanding of these can uncover more efficient alternatives

Review data: This is the perfect opportunity to uncover any inaccuracies, and ensure all data is readily available and integrated

Benchmark operational efficiency: Against your full potential, as well as your rivals

Review technology and equipment: There may be new options that could be more effective

Performance management: Evaluate against key performance indicators

Resource planning: Perhaps the most important point to consider, particularly ahead of peak periods

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