So you want to create a more organised and effective warehouse and logistics training program to boost supply chain performance. The good news is that it’s not that hard to do, provided you set aside a realistic budget and ensure that training and education are not the first things you target for cost cuts when times get tough.
To help you put your plans together, here’s a short five-step guide to creating an effective warehouse and logistics training process.
Step 1: Conduct a Training-needs Assessment
The first thing you will need to do is identify the most important skills required to improve efficiency and effectiveness of each team in your warehouse and logistics operation. You’ll need to conduct a gap analysis, by identifying competency goals for each relevant skillset, identifying current competencies and prioritizing training efforts where the gap between current and desired levels is widest.
Step 2: Determine the Warehouse and Logistics Training Methodologies
Different training needs need different approaches. For example, you can’t effectively train forklift-truck-operators to work more safely or efficiently without putting them on a truck. However you can decide whether to use an external training company or whether to have some of your own people certified as trainers and then run an internal training program.
On the other hand, many warehouse and logistics training needs can be met using online materials or PC-based training packs. Others might need to be covered off with classroom training.
For any topics you decide to train using in-house resources, you will also need to develop appropriate training material or, have a specialist provider develop it for you.
Step 3: Run Pilot Programs or Courses
It makes sense to test each training program or course that you develop, with a pilot class comprising a good cross-section of employees, especially if it’s a program that will be delivered to people from multiple teams. Use feedback from the trainers and the trainees to adjust and refine the content, delivery method, and materials before you implement in earnest.
Step 4: Create a Schedule and Implement the Training
Now you should be good to go. You will need to plan your training workshops and courses to a schedule that enables all relevant employees to benefit as soon as possible, without leaving you short of staff to keep your operation running while your warehouse and logistics training takes place. Once implemented, you should continue to gather feedback about the training process and make adjustments as necessary.
Step 5: Check if Employees can Apply What they Learn
Apart from gathering general feedback from trainees, it’s vital to ensure that your training is actually proving useful and that your employees can apply their new knowledge in the course of their work. This is probably the most important measure of training effectiveness.
One way to evaluate this is to have employees create and follow an action plan with goals and measurements indicating how well they apply the skills in which they have been trained. If more than one or two trainees seem to be struggling, this may indicate a need for some tweaks to the training program.
Some Final Thoughts about Warehouse and Logistics Training
Here are a couple of closing thoughts, which you should certainly keep in mind after going to the time, trouble and expense of putting together a new package of warehouse and logistics training activities.
If your organisation struggles to find the necessary resources for its training program, don’t be afraid to consider outsourcing. In some cases, enrolling employees on warehouse and logistics training-courses run by supply chain school or training providers can prove more cost-effective than keeping all your educational activity in-house.
Finally, remember too, that although it can be easy to target training cutbacks when economies take a downturn. This is often a short-sighted measure that can result in cost increases arising from employee disengagement, degradation of performance, and perhaps even high rates of employee turnover.
As long as your company follows the necessary steps to create an effective process, money invested in employee training is well spent in the bad times as well as the good.