The Role of Ongoing Training in Boosting Operational Efficiency
This post is part 2 in a series of 10 different approaches to addressing the common challenges faced by distribution centers (DCs) across a broad range of industries without investing in automation.
In my first blog of this 10-part series about improving operational efficiency without investing in automation, I discussed the importance of thoroughly knowing your operation through continuous reviews of metrics at both the department level and facility-wide. Now let’s look at the role that training plays in boosting overall performance and efficiency.
Step 2: Train, Train and Train Again
While the majority of distribution center managers would agree that employee training is valuable (and mandatory when it comes to safety and onboarding new team members), it often falls to the bottom of the task list when orders need to be picked, packed and shipped as fast as possible.
However, regular re-training on current systems and processes can increase efficiencies among personnel who may be regularly omitting a step. And while you’re at it, take the time to review the current training manual. Many operations are still using one from years ago which may include outdated equipment and processes. This means that today they may not be operating at optimal efficiency.
Other training tips include:
- Standardize equipment and operating systems across all departments. If everyone uses the same handheld scanners everywhere in the building, universal familiarity cuts training time.
- Post “cheat sheets” with photos or illustrations of key processes in associated areas to prompt new or temporary staffers who are less familiar with the required steps.
- Explain the “why” behind the “how” during training. If associates understand why they need to perform three separate tasks to complete a process (capturing a specific metric during receiving, for example), they’ll be more invested in doing it correctly.
- Cross-train associates to handle tasks in different, yet related, departments. For example, if your shipping team also knows how to process inbound receiving, you can easily reallocate personnel to help manage excessive demand or a labor shortage at the docks. Working in another area also gives employees a fresh perspective on how their primary role impacts other DC processes.
To learn more about the other nine steps, download the latest Honeywell Intelligrated white paper, “10 Steps to Improve Operational Efficiency: Addressing Common Order Fulfillment Challenges Without Investing in Automation.” Meanwhile, Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss the third step in this series: “Get in the People Business.”