For those of us who already know about Gartner and the unbiased research they perform, this article is not surprising. They have an uncanny ability to find the newest and yes coolest trends in technology.

For those unfamiliar with Gartner, they are the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company always looking for the best and brightest ideas to help businesses. They recently featured KMI Learning as one of their “Cool Vendors” and explained how KMI’s unique training approach sets them apart from other e-learning companies.

Gartner explained that in the ever-changing world of distribution and automation the most progressive companies have invested in a Warehouse Management System (WMS), which is software that runs all warehouse operations. It provides significant labor savings by standardizing processes and procedures and automating most functions. The problem that Gartner discovered is that most companies fail to provide adequate training to their employees beyond the basic training included with a WMS software package. KMI takes warehouse training several levels higher by training employees on more than software but also on the critical “blocking and tackling” of everyday distribution operations.

Here is a short excerpt from the Gartner report..

“While WMS software vendors will often offer training on the operation of their application, they don’t integrate this with operational end-user training that must extend beyond the boundaries of a specific application. For example, a WMS might tell users to travel a certain way to a certain location where they are instructed to pick a number of cases of a certain product. Users certainly need training on the steps and procedures for completing this task from a WMS perspective; however they also need training beyond what is specific to the WMS. For example, they might need instruction on the best ways to handle heavy cases or how to properly build a pallet, or even how to navigate safely throughout the warehouse. The latter training requirements are crucial to safe and productive operation of a warehouse, but this is often overlooked and left to casual interactions between experienced and inexperienced users.”

Gartner research has found that KMI Learning is far ahead of other web based learning providers in that they offer customized courses specifically designed for the client’s business. While those not involved in distribution and warehousing tend to believe all warehouses are created equal, that is simply not true. The complexity of activities in large, highly automated warehouses is significantly different than a basic pick/pack operation. The training needs therefore are also very different and KMI can identify those differences and design training around your specific activities. The best WMS out there still relies on people to execute the activities and people still rely on training to show them how to do the activities.

Chances are that over the years you have developed best practices or SOP’s in your distribution operation. Many of these practices were developed by the best or long term employees over a number of years. So what about new employees or temporary or seasonal employees? How are the SOP’s passed on to them? Often it is manually done by a trainer or supervisor and depending upon the day, may be effective or not and the trainer’s skill and detail definitely varies day to day.

So why did Gartner tag KMI Learning as a “Cool Vendor”? Because KMI understands several critically important aspects of training that most training companies don’t.

[list] [list_item icon=”arrow-right”]One size does not fit all– Your operation is rather unique and trying to use off the shelf tactics and content is just not effective. KMI gets to know you and your operation so training is designed specifically for your employees.[/list_item] [list_item icon=”arrow-right”]Technology matters– KMI has an incredible LMS (Learning Management System) that hosts the training, is scalable, flexible and tracks and reports on every detail of the training[/list_item] [list_item icon=”arrow-right”]Train on the stuff that matters– KMI has created state of the art courses for warehouse safety, productivity improvement, delivery driver procedures, quality improvement, receiving procedures. Activities that when improved will bring real value to the bottom line.
Consistency is everything- having all employees, especially new ones, hear and see the exact same procedures taught the exact way you want them taught is key to high performance. No matter how hard they try, trainers are not able to train any two people exactly same.[/list_item] [list_item icon=”arrow-right”]Training is boring– How often have you sat through training only to think “This is really dry and boring”? KMI uses a multi media approach that is interactive with the employee and engages them throughout the course with quizzes, activities and hands on practice for the most important parts you want them to remember.[/list_item] [/list]

If you manage a distribution or warehouse operation and the often hundreds of employees involved, you already know the importance and challenges of training.
KMI has worked with world-class distribution organizations to develop training that exactly suits their needs and has shown benefits in improved safety, increased productivity, reduced errors, improved retention and a shorter training cycle. They don’t believe that for critical employee training “one size fits all” and neither should you. Your operation needs to perform at a high level and your employee training should support that.

Ted Stoecker

Ted Stoecker

Ted is an executive level leader in distribution, logistics and warehousing with over 30 years managing multi-site operations with over 2000 team members in 32 locations. He has installed a WMS and LMS (labor management system) for a $5 billion manufacturer/distributor and has improved all KPI’s through the use of enhanced learning and training programs. Ted was an early adopter of an e-learning system that helped train his team members on all aspects of warehouse functions including safety, quality, productivity, private fleet operations and regulatory compliance. He has over 8 years of experience with an LMS (Learning Management System) and has achieved consistent, positive results with customized training designed specifically for his team and his organization.

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