The Government Shutdown and the Gig Economy

Unpredictability in Job Security

The government is on its 33rd day (and counting) of being shut down. This is the longest shutdown in America’s history, surpassing the 21-day shutdown of 1995. Because of this, over 800,000 government workers are left without pay and the absence of a monthly salary is affecting millions more.

Although the government shutdown will soon end and thousands of people will go back to earning their expected wages, there is a lesson to be learned about workers relying on a singular source of income. There are many factors that can impact the longevity of a company, many of which are out of anyone’s control. Companies can go under or lay off employees, and many workers are left without the only job they’ve ever known.

The Gig Economy

Luckily for government workers during this shutdown (and many other workers who might have been the victims of recent layoffs) the “gig” economy has gained popularity in past years. Essentially, the gig economy is made up of workers who combine a variety of tasks for different clients/companies. Even though their pay for these individual tasks is less than what a yearly salary would be, the pay from the combined jobs is similar to that of full-time employment.

Although this way of living has been criticized by some, more than one-third of U.S. workers are currently working in the gig economy. One study showed that by 2020, 40% of American workers will be independent contractors. In order to participate and contribute in this type of economy, higher education and special skills are not necessary. In reality, all businesses really want from a worker is work ethic, dependability, self-motivation, and a good attitude. Consistency in these four categories from workers is the cornerstone of a smooth-running business that reaches its full potential.

The Veryable Solution

At Veryable, we want to give the power of choosing to the worker. Our Operators have the ability to choose when, where, and how they work and get paid daily for their hard work.  New work opportunities are posted on the Veryable App daily, giving Operators the ability to choose between a variety of businesses and work environments. This process allows Veryable Operators to be in control of their careers and not be economically dependent on one business. By using Veryable, furloughed government workers are able to gain access to immediate income without the need to have specialized education or skills.

Veryable is here now and it is being used by many operators to find jobs in the manufacturing, logistics, and warehousing sectors. Find it at the app store or go to to sign up today.

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  • Catherine Cantu

Forecast Challenge

Whenever you kick off a demand planning cycle, you may get the feeling that it’s an exercise in futility. Honestly, it is difficult to reliably predict future business, and it probably feels like consulting a crystal ball would be just as useful. Odds are variances to plan will grow wider and wider as your business progresses through the planning window.  

So what’s the purpose of forecasting if it’s always going to be wrong? To put it simply, the purpose is to determine a set of numbers to align different business units, basically saying ‘hey, this is what we are going to do.’  Having a common plan and goal creates the opportunity for people to execute on what they do well: serving your business.  To handle the demand variances along the way,  please refer to this previous post, Forecasting vs. Flexibility, to develop the operational labor capacity required to compete in today’s market.  

To hone in on the “right” number, independent parties within your business should take two different approaches to projecting out the next demand period: 1) roll-up from a bottom’s up perspective and 2) take a top-down approach.    

Roll-it-up demand planning

From a finite product family level, your demand planner should assemble a view to the next period(s) for what will be produced over the timeframe, then assemble a ‘unit and dollars’ view.  Even with a roll-up approach, you shouldn’t start your forecast with the finite parts of a component. Rather, your prediction should remain at a product family level.  Forecasting at a component level is a low-value exercise because uncertainty is not pooled at a high enough level.  To gain a better understanding of managing inventories, please read the inventory management blog post. 

Top-down Forecast Approach

At the same time, have another planner take a top-down approach and develop a demand plan from an external point-of-view, independent of your roll-up plan.  This plan should be reflective of the following drivers: company performance across the previous period(s), industry trends, economic factors, and changes in product mix.  By using external data to drive the forecast, this will reduce the company bias present in the numbers.

Combining the two approaches

Bringing these two forecasts together is the last critical step to developing a coherent, feasible forecast for your business to execute over the coming period.  Absolute precision in the forecast is not as important as accuracy, so you should follow all steps mentioned previously to ensure the forecast is not biased.  Overall, your primary goal is to have a believable forecast that the business can execute against.  

When flexible labor capacity is required to manage a demand variance, Veryable is here to help you capture peak revenue opportunities while maintaining low lead times by tapping into a reliable pool of workers you can use exactly as needed.