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WMS Implementation & the Value of Training

Your business has spent time narrowing down the right solution for your next generation warehouse and inventory management system. You’ve put in the investment and effort to make sure that your new WMS is going to work exactly how you need it to. Throughout the implementation you’ve been careful to ensure that the project stays on budget and on time. Overall, the implementation goes to plan, and you arrive to that all important date: Go Live. Success! Right?

Ultimately no matter how well an implementation goes, at the end of the day people are going to need to use this brand new WMS. You may have put in place the best solution for your business’ needs but without properly trained staff your new WMS will not be able to deliver the results that were expected. Remember, that warehouse staff may have been working the way that they do for some time now. Thus, the need to train them in a new way of working is imperative. This may mean that staff need to acquire new skills and knowledge in order for the business to maximize and leverage new technology like a WMS.

This being the case an implementation should always have a training component. Yet how can this be done in an effective and meaningful way?

First is to recognize the value of training within the implementation process. At times training can be viewed as an afterthought. As well training can come with a signification cost attached to it. In order to satisfy project budgets it might seem like an easy portion to cut out. But by cutting corners on training a business immediately sacrifices the long-term success and benefit of the new WMS software. So, when formulating a budget for a WMS implementation make training a key part of the project rather than a maybe or nice to have.

Now that we have training as part of the project there are a few things to consider for your training sessions. Every organization is different, so a one size fits all approach doesn’t always fit. In the case of a smaller warehouse operation it may be feasible to have all staff participate with your solution provider for training sessions. On the other hand, if your organization operates across many locations, it would be best to make sure that those involved in the training sessions are those best suited to communicate the information on to other staff for inhouse training. In Akatia’s case when training organizational staff, we take the train the trainer approach. How this works is that the business provides the key stakeholders and those who will oversee onboarding of other staff later. This first helps to create a learning environment and experience that is both focused and productive. Second it establishes a core group knowledge base within the business that are familiar with the WMS and who can then act as advocates for the new way of working.

As part of the implementation process there are two facets of training that should be covered. The first is familiarity with the general system itself. This would include elements, features, concepts, and functionality of the WMS that as a rule all or most businesses would use and are integral to using the WMS. In Akatia’s case we provide an in app learning management system that has a learning program with explainer videos and quizzes to help reinforce these principles. What’s great about this approach is that all the materials are available to every WAM user at any time. This not only facilitates initial train the trainer sessions but can be used by the business later to help onboard current staff and eventually become part of the staff onboarding process for new hires.

The next facet of training surrounds the business’ specific processes and configurations that are unique to the business. In this case the workflows and processes should be accurately documented during implementation and reference material produced so that once train the trainer sessions are complete, they have tools that they can used to help other staff members onboard with the new WMS.

Another key to successful training is communicating the value of the new way of working the business is implementing. If people do not understand and appreciate the value of the changes being implemented, then it’s unlikely that they will maximize the new WMS in their daily roles. So how can this be done? Take an example of a process that already exists and demonstrate how the new way will make their jobs easier. Get them enthused by telling them how previous tedious tasks, like physical counts, won’t be necessary anymore, so no more coming in on a weekend to accomplish this task. By communicating value and getting people enthused they will eagerly want to train and apply what they’ve learned.

An uptrained and upskilled workforce is one that is enthusiastic and productive. By not cutting corners on training your business will be able to train your team members effectively and efficiently on your new WMS, while leveraging and optimizing your new WMS and way of working to the fullest extent. The early investment on training will prove valuable in the near term and will set your business up for success as it digitally transforms.

If you’re looking to transform your warehouse and inventory management, click the link below to get in contact. We’d be happy to speak with you.


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