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Secrets of The Fortune 50: How VR Has Transformed Warehouse Training

As many organizations set their business plans in motion, they often look to the Fortune 50 for pointers on what it takes to get their business to the next level. It’s clear that business growth depends on the choices that are made from the top down. But what kind of incentives lead these big-name businesses to adopt VR training?  If there’s one thing Fortune 50 companies have in common, it’s their rejection of the status quo.

Companies are investing in technology in more ways than one. If you’re familiar with the talk of dark warehouses, it may seem as though the future of warehousing will look dystopian and lifeless, operating solely through automated robots. While the rise of automation is a trending topic in warehousing, the warehouses we see in 2023 still rely on a human touch.

According to a study done by a team of Harvard researchers, 42% of warehouse workers fear job loss. Accounting for 35% of all the negative responses, was a fear that inadequate training resources would reduce workers’ ability to succeed in a new, digital workplace.

Despite the ‘dark warehouse’ emerging as a tangible reality, people will always be essential to warehouse operations. XR training resolves the uncertainty by preparing employees to be an integral part of streamlining operations, making warehouses more productive than ever.

It’s no secret that Amazon is thriving. Much of their success can be attributed to their innovative business model. While automation may replace tedious warehouse positions, VR programs can empower and upskill the workforce to manage warehouses in specialized roles.

For many organizations, taking a page from the Fortune 50’s playbook leaves their stomach turning at the thought of total expenses. But as the metaverse continues to shape business plans and growth objectives, accessible VR will start to level out the playing field. Curious to know what they’ve been working on? Here’s what we’re seeing.

Amazon Robotics Project – Virtual Reality Safety Training

Safety is one of the top training topics that VR programs can address better than any other learning modality. Roundtable Learning created a VR training safety program to bridge a training gap for an Amazon warehouse robotic floor.

This experience was designed to train employees on how to safely enter the robotics floor, perform maintenance within a hazardous environment, and get production back up to speed as quickly as possible. With products zipping around the warehouse floor at light speed, the intricate robotic environment requires employees to know how to get onto the floor, safely navigate, locate the robot, and how to troubleshoot without being injured.

The VR robotics training reinforces safety standards through an immersive experience that engages learners to practice safety procedures. By giving learners a place to practice troubleshooting all the obstacles that may occur, they can react faster to real challenges when on the job.

This program’s effectiveness went beyond the scope of safety. The VR experience also prevents turnover by acting as a realistic job preview. The best way to impact turnover is to help a new hire to experience what a day in the life looks like while providing the tools to effectively train them.

This particular training highlights the trend in upskilling, something that Amazon continues to make a priority in providing career advancement for their employees. Take a look at how the pilot program went over with candidates at Amazon.

Fortune 50 Beverage Company – Safety Warehouse Training

Safety is essential, but slow operations are a top concern for every warehouse. A large and well known food and beverage distributor needed help moving their products out into the world faster. The problem was that employees, like in most warehouses, were getting hurt left and right because they didn’t retain what they learned in during their inital onboarding. Roundtable Learning created a custom VR start of shift and order selection training to combat these issues.

The VR program was designed to optimize their workers’ ability to stack pallets correctly and efficiently. In the program, new hires navigate the warehouse using their RF gun, become familiar with their environment, and hone their safety awareness.

In our training, learners practiced tasks such as proper layer stacking, correct handling of different types and weights of packages, and the two-hand grab required for safety. It simulates everything a warehouse employee experiences in a real shift, including PPE, reading aisle labels, locating correct items on shelves, and picking the correct number of boxes. The more hires complete these tasks correctly in VR, the more it translates to overall warehouse efficiency.

Each and every detail put into this custom program was designed to address essential warehouse skills, including reinforcement of correct lifting techniques, safety awareness of surroundings, and efficient picking. VR is a useful tool to solidify technical and safety skills, all while avoiding a ride in an ambulance.

Fortune 50 Wholesaler – Warehouse Training

A little healthy competition never hurt anyone. In fact, it’s great for warehouse morale.  We partnered with a multinational wholesaler of food and kitchen products to create an original VR warehouse training to transform their efficiency. Like many leading distributors, this wholesale corporation wanted to try something new and innovative. To spice things up, we incorporated gamification into their VR training program. We designed a custom “perfect picking game” that randomized different scenarios during the picking process. Learners earn a score and compete with other distribution centers, aligning them all with a shared goal for proficient picking.

In VR, the gamification of standard warehouse tasks works to aid in knowledge retention and incentivizes productivity. The opportunity to repeat training in VR ensures that the flow of real-life products will be smooth sailing for their picking process.

What You Can Unlock With OTS

If you’re having trouble differentiating between fact and myth when it comes to the future of warehousing, it’s important to remember that technology is advancing rapidly.

Our experience creating custom VR content for Fortune 50 companies has been a stepping stone in the calibration of VR manufacturing training. We know and believe every warehouse deserves to operate as safely as the Fortune 50. Off-the-shelf VR (OTS) will make advanced training programs accessible for any and all organizations to optimize the productivity of their distribution centers and drive their business growth.

Off-the-shelf training is affordable, versatile, and a great way for organizations to get the ball rolling with VR without starting from scratch. With OTS training, any organization can adopt VR.

How Does VR Compare?

This is not the only way VR is outcompeting eLearning. The most obvious difference is the immersive experience that VR offers. While eLearning has a time and place – users are better equipped to navigate safety hazards, apply technical skills, and onboard at a faster rate with VR training to guide them in their role and familiarize them with their environment.

PwC reports that VR learners are 4x more focused than their eLearning peers and that when delivered to enough learners, VR training is estimated to be more cost-effective at scale than classroom or eLearning.

At 375 learners, VR training achieved cost parity with classroom learning. At 3,000 learners, VR training became 52% more cost-effective than classroom. At 1,950 learners, VR training achieved cost parity with e-learn. The more people you train, the higher your return will likely be in terms of employee time saved during training, as well as course facilitation and other out-of-pocket cost savings.

VR’s budding success is revolutionizing eLearning. With stronger user engagement, training has been shown to yield incredible results for the manufacturing industry.

Bridging Knowledge and Experience with VR

We are all familiar with the book smart versus street smart stereotype. Although, at times, these labels don’t represent the full scope of our capabilities – there is an underlying truth when it comes to the difference between real-life experience and studying it. Virtual reality bridges the gap between information and experience.

From technical skills training to safety training, the top organizations have invested in custom VR training to provide employees with an interactive training experience that sparks an emotional connection and knowledge retention. VR training pairs the opportunity to learn with the ability to physically move through and interact with a virtual environment. The Fortune 50 don’t have to choose between safety and productivity because they know, with the right training, one doesn’t have to compromise the other.

Companies are starting to catch on to the developing presence of VR in the training world. As more of the Fortune 50 organizations incorporate VR into their business models, training programs will continue to optimize industries spanning from aviation to warehousing.

Let’s Wrap It Up

The digital landscape of warehousing will only continue to evolve as companies see more ROI from immersive technology. With OTS VR training, the secrets of the Fortune 50 are within anyone’s grasp.

The top distribution centers are proactively addressing employee confidence and readiness for the job. The advances in VR technology have created more immersive and interactive opportunities for the warehousing workforce to upskill. Discover the potential of your workforce by bridging skill gaps and giving your workforce the right training tools to optimize their performance.

VR training creates company-wide ripple effects that directly impact the most important elements of your manufacturing success. Safety. Efficiency. Speed. VR attracts talent that has digital experience, allowing you to push your business forward by integrating the future of learning into your organization now. Off-the-shelf VR is an accessible alternative to custom training that produces measurable results. 

The pillars of success don’t necessitate an outpouring of funds, but smart investments. At the end of the day, your bottom line is dependent upon your approach to learning in your organization. Discover more about innovative learning here.

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