3 top warehouse training challenges for retailers

Posted on Oct 05, 2017

If stores and websites are the showrooms in retail, then warehouses are the engine rooms. When this cog isn’t working properly, the entire operation can break down.

We look at three top training battles to win in the warehouse.

Connecting the omnichannel chain

This is the number one challenge today.  A positive customer omnichannel experience is critical to retail success, resulting in more sales and a growing band of loyal customers. But if there’s a break in the chain – for example, no readily available stock in store even though the products are displayed online or vice-versa – then the brand has lost a sale and a customer, who’ll probably tell all their friends. Or ineffective communications between stores and warehouses so that no-one is 100% sure what’s in stock and where it is.

Embed brand values

As a result of multi-channels, today’s retail employees need to have a 360° understanding of the business. Having a picture of their role within the organisation is critical to having a seamless operation because what happens in one part of the chain has an impact on another. Sharing brand values, or corporate culture, instils this understanding, together with a team ethic.

A great example of where this was done well was at Specsavers.  More than 30,000 people work for the optical and hearing business  in stores, the supply chain and support services.  Specsavers used a global online induction to embed ‘the bigger picture’ on the company’s values and brand with new starters.

Shrinkage

Retail losses caused by customer theft, employee theft, bad stock control and poor inventories cost businesses globally tens of billions of dollars each year. Trained and engaged staff are the key to reducing incidents and losses.

Change behaviours

When industry experts Retail Knowledge ran a survey of 100 of the UK’s top retailers to discover their priorities in tackling shrinkage, an overwhelming answer was to develop a workforce with a shared, positive attitude. 60% of retailers believed creating a culture of loss prevention could reduce their losses, with 20% making it their number one priority. Staff training to raise awareness of issues across the business was seen as one of the best methods of achieving this goal. This makes complete sense: often, it’s staff who report incidents. The Learning Leap training programme at Tesco is an example where engaging learning aimed at embedding behaviours is being successfully delivered to a global workforce.

Health and safety

In the UK alone, the cost of accidents at work runs into billions of pound a year. When it comes to the cost to health, figures from the Health and Safety Executive show that over 600,000 workers suffer an injury at work each year and over 500,000 develop a work-related illness. It’s a similar story globally. Warehouse working is among the riskiest. How can this be changed? The answer lies in keeping health and safety top of mind every day – and in keeping the learning engaging.

The bottom line is that you can boast the best systems in the world, but ultimately, the smooth running of the warehousing side of the business requires well-trained and engaged personnel.

For more, download the new retail white paper: Top 3 ways to drive loyalty, sales and profit in retail

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