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OVER-Train Staff for Warehouse Automation Success

By Ian Hobkirk | 11/27/2019 | 9:19 AM

Most companies that have attempted to implement automated materials handling equipment have discovered that these projects can be particularly vulnerable to Murphy’s Law, the principal that, “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” This blog is twelfth in an ongoing series on “Beating Murphy’s Law in Warehouse Automation Projects.”

Blog 14 DCWhen it comes to operator training, there’s no such thing as too much. It can be inconvenient and costly to take operators away from their duties to train them on new processes, but it is important to remember that training will happen – it will either be in a controlled fashion, ahead of the deployment, or chaotically in the heat of the go-live.

Project leaders and engineers may find it easy to underestimate the degree to which new processes and technology must be clearly laid out to the those who must actually use them. The key project stakeholders may have been living and breathing these changes for over a year prior to deployment, as new processes are designed, built, and tested. Many times, however, the system operators themselves are only exposed to the new processes in the immediate lead-up to the implementation. It may take them longer than expected to embrace the new ways of working, and they may not readily admit when they do not understand aspects of the new workflows. Murphy’s Curve cannot be eliminated, but relentlessly training, testing, and re-training can make it as shallow and short as possible.

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About Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk

Ian Hobkirk is the founder and Managing Director of Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors. Over his 20-year career, he has helped hundreds of companies reduce their distribution labor costs, improve space utilization, and meet their customer service objectives. He has formed supply chain consulting organizations for two different systems integration firms, and managed the supply chain execution practice at The AberdeenGroup, a leading technology analyst firm.



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