As a business leader, you can probably identify with the importance of supply chain education for your workforce. However, making education happen and maintaining operational performance can sometimes like an unattainable goal.
As if it’s not enough to try and continuously develop the supply chain workforce, globalisation and increased supply chain complexity have together moved educational goalposts. Now it’s not only supply chain practitioners who must be trained…
Supply chain education is seen more and more as a necessity for those engaged in other business functions too, such as marketing, sales, and finance.
To cap it all, budgets for both education and labour are constantly under pressure, creating conflict between the need to make supply chain education meaningful, and to maintain high rates of workplace productivity.
eLearning: The Key to Convenient Supply Chain Education
So how can you enrich supply chain education without placing undue strain on your human resources? Obviously you need to minimise the amount of productive time lost to training activity. To some extent this can be achieved through on-the-job training.
However, even on-the-job training has a negative impact on productivity, as trainer and trainee must focus on education at the expense of optimal work rates.
What’s needed is an education solution that makes employees (whatever their roles or status) enjoy learning so much that they are prepared to invest some of their own time in the process, and to give them tools which make it convenient to study anytime, anywhere.
Enter eLearning, which of course has been around for a while, but is continually being improved with new tools and methods. So much so, that in this year and beyond, we can be confident that “self-service” supply chain education will rise to new heights of convenience.
Developments to Watch in Digital Supply Chain Education
As online learning continues to gain credibility, supply chain education providers are learning to innovate, finding new ways to improve training efficiency, effectiveness, and accessibility.
As a result, this year will likely see more companies adopting eLearning. It is after all, the one supply chain training channel that’s both convenient and engaging, especially for the technology-hungry millennials who comprise the majority of today’s workforce.
If you’re interested in the use of eLearning for your supply chain team, or to introduce other business departments to supply chain fundamentals, consider trying out the following innovative tools and methodologies:
Microlearning: A trending online education technique, microlearning is great for delivering supply chain training without eating into productive working hours.
Microlearning comprises short video-learning modules (typically five minutes long or perhaps even less). Modules are designed in a way that allows the user to gain valuable nuggets of knowledge, and to verify that the information has actually been learned and understood.
Mobile Learning: Microlearning and other forms of online education are perfect for delivery via mobile devices. Most people today keep smartphones almost constantly to hand, a fact which hasn’t gone unnoticed by digital-training providers.
Supply chain education material is increasingly being designed specifically for mobile access, and students (especially millennials) are more than happy to make use of such material. Again, this is great news for any company wanting employees to engage in study outside of productive working-hours.
Blended Learning: The practice of combining online training materials with physical workshops and seminars is not really new, but as a supply chain education methodology, it is on the rise.
While blended learning requires that you release employees occasionally to attend physical training events, the majority of learning can take place online and progress at the student’s own pace.
This makes it easier to gain trainees’ agreement to use their own time for studying, in return for the few days per year on which your company must lose them from the workplace.
If you choose a provider (like Supply Chain Leaders Academy) offering pragmatic education, delivered by knowledgeable experts from within the supply chain theatre, workshops compliment the online training element extremely well. They also deliver real value, as trainees come back to your business with practicable skills and knowledge that they can put straight to use.
Supply Chain Education Made Easy
Hopefully the message is loud and clear: supply chain education no longer needs to have a negative impact on productivity or create extra labour costs—provided you make use of the right tools and techniques.
Micro-learning, mobile, and blended learning are all examples of the latest digital trends making education more accessible for employers and convenient for employees.
When your managers and staff can engage in learning wherever they happen to be, they’re unlikely to have a problem investing some of their own time into vocational study. That makes it more realistic for your company to develop talent across the enterprise, while maintaining productivity, and without overstretching your pool of human resources.