5 Steps for Finding and Training Your Warehouse Workers

Dustin Caudell
Wed, Jul 22, 2015
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Take the guess work out of training by providing clear results.

The speed at which merchandise moves in and out of a warehouse plays a big part in customer satisfaction. To ensure clients are receiving the proper, undamaged product in the appropriate time, a business must employ and train efficient warehouse staff.

A quick and productive training program is the goal. Competitive companies can't afford to spend long periods of time getting new people up to speed, but having unprepared employees could become even more costly. The trick is to create a warehouse system ready for a successful training period before the new hires ever walk through the door.

Here are five steps managers should take to create an inventory environment ready for successful training:

1. Find the Right People
Manufacturers need skilled labor. Warehouse employees need to operate heavy machinery, process complicated orders and work with data systems.

Accenture, a management consulting firm, found U.S. industries are suffering from a lack of qualified applicants. Skilled laborers are getting harder to find. To make up for this deficit, employers have started expanding their candidate pools, providing digital learning tools for potential applicants and reorganizing their skill-building techniques.

Businesses have to find employees who have the necessary skills or are eager to learn. Training has to be reevaluated to utilize existing talents and promote skill development.

2. Information Provided by Current Workers
Companies can use current employees to search for new ones. The Society for Human Resource Management suggested conducting skill inventories of warehouse crews. By tracking current worker performance, managers can analyze what qualities lead to greater success or which skills touted during the hiring process have not found use on the floor.

Analyzing daily routines also highlights where there might be holes in the training process. If employees all seem to have the same process blind spot, that indicates where improvements in hiring and introduction to job duties need to be made.

3. Set Standards for Success
Once a warehouse determines which goals are necessary for successful training, it needs to formalize a plan for new employees to achieve those results.

An inventory training program should be performed with a schedule and a series of checkpoints. Supply & Demand Chain Executive stated almost all tasks can be measured provided the company has the right tools. A warehouse data-capturing system logs individual employee performance. A company needs projections ready to compare to employee results.

4. Make Effects Visible
If companies do not set benchmarks, employees will. People want to see the results of their efforts. When a training process doesn't provide feedback, workers start defining their own success.

Data collection during training should be shared with the employee. Showing new hires how their performance is improving or giving them specific goals to focus on encourages improvement and ensures they are progressing according to the business's schedule. Inbound Logistics reminded employers every employee learns at different speeds, so be certain to acquire a flexible system that can accommodate to individual needs.

Before a company hires an employee, it should have a mobile data collection system in place that captures performance data and makes it visible to everyone involved in the skill development process.

5. Have the Needed Tools
A software system that charts the performance of current employees, creates projections for training goals and provides visibility of new hires' success is a great way to prepare a warehouse for skill development procedures. There are other tools a company could invest in to ensure effective, speedy training.

Data capture equipment - such as barcode scanners and voice picking devices - not only makes inventory count and order preparation more accurate, it also offers a process that is consistent and easy to learn. Employees don't have to worry about mistakes caused by poor handwriting or missing documents and can focus on learning more important skills.

Mobile technologies provide data visibility to all workers. In the RFgen white paper "The Power of Adopting an Enterprise Mobile Strategy," mobile technologies are described as adaptable, designed for each individual warehouse's needs.

Technologies created with particular systems in mind facilitate efficient training. No time has to be wasted adapting technology; the tools are ready for employee success. Mobile devices allow new employees to capture the results of their training and see their own progress on a device that fits in their pocket.

Learn how to go from paper to barcode scanner to tablet with mobile apps

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