How To Increase Supply Chain Safety And Efficiency With Blended Learning

How can you set your organization up for successful supply chain operations? One option is to implement technology-enhanced supply chain training through a blended learning program.

Blended learning for supply chain operations trains employees by using interactive training modalities, like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), eLearning, and virtual instructor-led training (VILT). These modalities are used across various areas of training, including: 

  • Safety Topics — Basic Hazard Recognition, Slips, Trips, and Falls, and See Something, Say Something.
  • Technical Topics — Pallet Stacking, Maintenance and Repair, Industrial Vehicle Operation, and Loading and Unloading Trucks.

In 2017, 8% of worldwide supply chain leaders indicated that they were planning to invest in AR and VR technology for training. Two years later in 2019, that number jumped to 34%.

Organizations operating in the supply chain industry have increased investments in AR and VR technologies for training, but what accounts for this increase?

Let’s explore how a blended learning program with integrated technologies can enhance supply chain safety and efficiency. 

This article will explore the importance of supply chain training, explain how blended learning elevates supply chain training, and demonstrate how to create blended learning programs for supply chain safety and technical topics. 

 

What Is The Importance Of Supply Chain Training?

An efficient supply chain ensures that products arrive on time and allows an organization to be more competitive in the marketplace. Throughout each phase of the supply chain, from sourcing the raw materials to reaching the customer, it’s critical that the personnel involved are adequately trained, managed, and supervised to ensure processing is efficient. 

The goal of supply chain training is to yield proficient supply chain management and execution. Such training allows organizations to learn from their decisions and improve operations without impacting business. 

Supply chains need to maintain efficiency and safety now more than ever because of the influx in demand. With a training program that addresses safety and technical topics, supply chains ensure their employees are prepared for the job and equipped with the skills needed to succeed. 

Read More: Addressing the unique training needs of the manufacturing industry

 

How Can Blended Learning Elevate Supply Chain Training?

Blended learning brings together traditional and digital learning techniques to create a fully comprehensive program. Blended learning caters to different learning styles of individuals and is more personal and economical than a traditional approach. 

A blended learning program elevates supply chain training in the following four ways:

  • Reduce Safety Incidents — Learners are given a space to practice their job functions without real-world risk, leading to a decrease in workers’ compensation claims and safety incidents
  • Increase Employee Efficiencies — Both learners and facilitators can catch common mistakes and correct them before working on the job, leading to increased efficiencies in performance and production.
  • Improve Employee Engagement —  Interactive programs engage learners, leading to higher knowledge retention rates and better performance on the job. 
  • Increase Time To Proficiency For New Hires — New employees complete training tasks at a pace that’s comfortable for them that leads to faster proficiency. 

Ultimately, technology-enhanced supply chain training — when powered by your subject matter experts (SMEs), modern learning technology, and instructional design — can shorten the time to learn and reduce on-the-job mistakes.

Read More: Why You Should Consider A Blended Learning Program

 

Two Main Supply Chain Training Topics And Their Solutions

Supply Chain Safety Topics

Supply chains face a variety of training challenges across management, processes, production, and more. A main area of concern for supply chain training is safety. Safety topics include:

  • Basic Hazard Recognition — Workers must recognize and evaluate whether a particular situation, item, process, etc. has the potential to cause harm or not.
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls — While on the job, employees could slip if they lose their footing, trip if they accidentally hit something, or fall onto objects or off equipment. 
  • See Something, Say Something — Employees need to have the proper awareness and knowledge to report violations of workplace safety to prevent worse behaviors or activities from occurring. 

For safety training, Roundtable recommends a blended learning approach that uses eLearning, 360° VR, and VILT. To start, the eLearning portion of the program can be facilitated from anywhere and teaches learners of the program’s objectives through custom branded content. 

Next, the 360° VR portion of the program places the learner in their work environment where they experience all the real life sights and sounds of their workplace. In this environment, learners apply what they’ve learned from the eLearning by identifying potential hazards and learning how to respond to them correctly. 

Lastly, over a video conferencing platform, a VILT allows learners to review what they’ve learned from the eLearning and VR activities. Throughout this review, learners speak with experts and team members on the topics they’ve learned and ensure they’ve retained the correct information. 

Read More: Cost of Virtual Reality Training: 360º VR [2020]

 

Supply Chain Technical Topics

In addition to safety topics, supply chains may face challenges training their employees in technical topics, including:

  • Pallet Stacking — Employees need to know the proper stacking technique with the correct orientation and a stable base. 
  • Maintenance and Repair — Workers should know how to complete functional checks and repairs for equipment, machinery, and more. 
  • Industrial Vehicle Operation — To ensure safe operations on the job, employees should be trained on how to operate large machinery, such as electric pallet trucks, forklifts, and aerial platforms.
  • Loading and Unloading Trucks — To fulfill shipping and orders, supply chain employees need to understand how to load and unload efficiently. 

The solution that Roundtable recommends to address supply chain technical training is a blended approach that uses eLearning, AR, full VR, and job aids. To start, the eLearning activity teaches learners the key principles necessary for participating in the program ahead. 

Next, the AR portion of the program has learners interact with accurate digital recreations of real-life equipment. On their iPad or tablet, learners explore complex equipment as a whole, break it into pieces, and learn about internal components of the machinery that would otherwise be difficult to explore in real life. 

To follow the AR activity, learners complete a full VR program where they’re completely immersed in real-life scenarios by wearing a headset with remotes. This gives learners a safe environment where they can make mistakes, learn how to correct them, and enhance their skills. From practicing pallet stacking with the correct orientation to driving a delivery truck, full VR offers an interactive learning experience participants are sure to remember. 

To conclude the program, learners are given job aids for future reference, including how-to guides and informational posters. These serve as reminders of key learning topics and give learners quick access to resources if any questions arise. 

Free eBook: 7 Step Guide To Creating Your First VR Training Program

 

Are You Ready To Boost Your Supply Chain Operations?

A comprehensive blended training program for supply chain operations leads to more proficient management and execution of processes, enabling businesses to reach large growth and success.

Start designing your custom supply chain operations training program or transform your existing program by consulting our expert team today!