How a WMS Supports Warehouse Apprenticeship

As the U.S. economy improves, order fulfilment talent and service capabilities need to be developed in tandem to meet future growth.

There’s a disturbing dichotomy in the U.S. economy. On one hand, America's economy grew at a faster-than-expected 2.8% annual rate in the third quarter of 2013 and the number of jobs created in October reached a better than expected 204,000. At the same time, nearly six million young people in America (almost 15% of those aged 16 to 24 ) are neither in school nor working, according to a new study by Opportunity Nation.

U.S. companies have an opportunity to help those young people and improve their own chances of filling jobs in their companies as positions become available. Now is a good time for those involved in distribution and supply chain management to train, develop and retain a talented and skilled workforce.

The role of the warehouse in the supply chain has never been more important or more sophisticated. As skill demands and levels amongst warehouse staff increase, staff retention is far more critical for the continued efficiency of a company’s distribution processes. By investing in the training, well-being and future of warehouse staff, a company is more likely to secure staff loyalty and higher levels of staff retention.

Apprenticeships develop skills and knowledge in a practical sense, through on the job training in an active warehouse environment. Warehouse apprenticeships offer employees the opportunity “to earn while they learn” through real work experience and allow them to gain a nationally recognized qualification. The skills and operational knowledge acquired will allow warehouse staff to become professionally competent in their field of work while improving their confidence and self-worth. By investing in warehouse apprenticeships, a company makes its warehouse staff feel valued.

Most warehouse apprenticeship programs offer a balance of on-the-job training, independent study away from work, work experience and a combination of knowledge and competence based assessments. The focus of these is to develop both individual and team working skills. The apprenticeship provides a broad and comprehensive spectrum of experience and skills in warehouse affairs including health, safety and security, team working, customer service, housekeeping, stock control and moving and handling goods (including receiving and dispatch).

Warehouse apprenticeships are not only for new employees, but also existing staff who are changing job roles or have new or additional responsibilities.

Companies are implementing more services and functions in their warehouses, in addition to the traditional and historic storage functions. These services include product configuration, finishing, packaging, labeling, ticketing, pricing, and creating shelf-ready product displays. A warehouse management system can offer a greater level of functionality, flexibility and versatility to meet the demands of increasingly diverse, multi-purpose, multi-talented warehouses.

Gavin Clark is CCO for SaaS warehouse management system provider Snapfulfil.                                                                                                                                      

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