Train your employees in digital tools: 3 best practices
Published on 6 July 2021
Mastering flow management solutions, interacting with autonomous mobile robots, running a warehouse remotely during periods of confinement: the digitalization of the supply chain requires logistics professionals to develop their digital skills. Here are 3 best practices to make your digital transformation a reality and optimize it.
In a sector that is constantly evolving and undergoing digital transformation, the effectiveness of training for logistics operators and managers is both a competitive lever and a competitive advantage. How to transfer new skills and reflexes to employees in an agile and sustainable way? How to encourage the adoption of digital tools in the face of potential resistance to change? Our advice for Optimize the commitment of employees in the crucial process of 'digital upskilling'.
1. Make digital meaningful again, with training in context or on the job
According to McKinsey, 90 million European workers will have to significantly renew their skills in the coming decade, as more than 20% of their current tasks will be taken over by technology. This is considerable, and it is likely that this figure will be even higher in the supply chain sector, where robotization and process automation are already prevalent. If these transformations can raise legitimate concerns in warehouses and logistics platforms, professional training is the ideal place to demystify technology by providing evidence of its usefulness and interest for employees (and not only for the company). However, this is only possible if it provides concrete and realistic answers to everyday problems.
For your training courses, avoid focusing on generic e-learning modules or only on theoretical training courses, which are too disconnected from the reality of the field. When it comes to digital technology, employees need to project themselves. By organizing sessions directly in the workplace, through real-life applications, employees will be able to appropriate digital tools and perceive their impact. And thus judge for themselves their potential benefits. Among them: the reduction of work drudgery; more space for initiative, quality control or communication.
The rate of employees trained in digital technology and the completion rate of training courses are indicators that HR/training departments monitor closely... and they are a constant challenge. Especially in an industrial context, where access to online training is more complicated to organize. Some companies, such as Continental, have decided to install "learning boxes", a kind of bubble equipped with screens and digital tools, in the heart of production areas, to encourage employees to take self-service training through technical tutorials or serious games.
2. Encourage reverse mentoring
In the jargon of human resources, we speak of 'reverse mentoring'. The principle is to create a bilateral learning system between a young 'digital native' employee and a senior employee, less familiar with digital and technological uses. This approach can be part of an official mentoring program run by the company's training department, with predefined training content, an action plan and objectives. Or it can be more informal and spontaneous, with exchanges and collaborative workshops. In all cases, this practice not only promotes the transfer of digital skills, but also stimulates intergenerational links within companies, while encouraging employee commitment and retention.
3. Focus on virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) devices
Used for training purposes, virtual reality offers the advantage of immersing employees in a work environment similar to their own, without risk to their safety and without interrupting the production line. In the case of augmented reality, they can even be immersed in the real 'setting' of their company. Equipped with a helmet, a joystick or a screen, learners can thus familiarize themselves with new gestures and undergo various business scenarios in a fun way. For example, they can drive a remote-controlled forklift truck while avoiding obstacles, or try to find the fastest way to a product reference. Or even simulate inventory management in a virtual warehouse. This type of immersive experience allows the employee to be an actor of his training and thus to learn from his mistakes. Customized to the company's needs or available off-the-shelf from training program publishers, these devices can integrate collective simulation experiences, aimed at training multidisciplinary teams.
This VR-based approach is all the more relevant in the post-Covid era, where more and more tasks are destined to be performed remotely.
Thanks to virtual reality, Danone and Generix Group have developed in Russia a methodology allowing the production of remote warehouse management systems (WMS) in several sites in a synchronous way.