How to put together a WMS user training plan

When implementing a new warehouse management system, or any other large platform, the right training can make all the difference in maximising your ROI.

User training can reduce errors, improve usage, maximise efficiency, and test things beforehand so that your team has the time to fail and grow before it impacts your bottom line. It can be difficult to get the process started and know what you need, so we’ve put together a brief introduction that you can use to create your own WMS user training plan.

See what the vendor offers

Your first stop is talking with your WMS vendor and seeing what user training planning materials they offer. Most include an initial round of training in your implementation costs. Get everything you can from books and tests to a live trainer. The more that comes from the vendor, the better, because they have the most experience with this platform. This should be more than the demo they showed you already.

Choose your style and method

Based on what your vendor offers and your team can do, choose your training methods. This can include a long workshop to go over the entire system or a series of small training classes to introduce elements right before they go live.

The good news is that either a large lecture or a small class can work for you, as long as the training is done correctly and people (all of them!) are taught what matters.

Ensure schedules are realistic

The best user training plans look at everything ahead of time, including how training will impact your daily operations. You want a schedule that will work with you, instead of trying to force staff to train whenever they get a break from their daily activities.

Create an extensive list of topics and who needs to learn each one, plus how long each training session will be to help this process go smoothly. You can make sure everyone has access to the classes they need, and this matrix will help you plan out how many hours the total training will take for each person or group.

Check your training equipment

Before any training can begin, you need to ensure that you have the right equipment for everyone to train on and to use for teaching. This includes computers loaded with training versions of your WMS as well as classroom materials like a glass board, printed materials, and notebooks.

Make sure you have everything you need before it’s time to train and get a few extras if possible.

A little pro-tip for you: test your projector ahead of time and get out the manual that shows how to position it. This helps you make sure everyone can see the materials you’re using and can cut down on questions and grumbles.

Secure training data

Work with your vendor to set aside company data to use in your WMS testing. Vague sample data just won’t cut it because it won’t feel like your company or your orders. Seeing customer names and common orders in the new system will also help your staff be more willing to adopt the platform.

Training before the training

Before the first day of class, you need to bring in your trainers and have them run through some of the exercises that they’ll be using for your workers. Testing and pre-training reviews will ensure your data is correct and the systems are working correctly. You might also see an area where training materials need to be adjusted to meet your team and company.

Leave plenty of extra time

In the world of training, most things take longer than you think, especially if you’ve selected a WMS with advanced or new features. Leave time around the training for people to ask questions and get things wrong. You also want an additional training session at the end or at least at the end of each week so people can review what’s confusing. Giving your team extra time helps you work out the kinks in testing environments instead of when you’re trying to complete an order.

Plan your follow-ups

The final piece of your user training plan is a review and audit. After all the training is complete, and people have had a week or two to put the new practices into place, see how it is working. Ask your team if they have questions or need help. Look for areas where people have reverted to older practices.

Identify the metrics and activities important to your business and check against them. If needed, plan some retraining activities at this point.

About the Author

Geoff Whiting writes for Explore WMS. He is an experienced writer and business development consultant with a focus on enterprise technology, e-commerce implementation, and supply chain development. His work often delves into the latest automation capabilities and how it can improve companies as well as lead to more jobs in the market.