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Case Study (Procedures): Inventory Management

Submitted by  on January 7th, 2014

business woman holding yellow folderIn a previous blog post on procedures and training, I illustrated with a real-life example some key lessons on how to use company procedures for maximum training impact. (You can read my six lessons in my article: Six Lessons on Integrating Policies and Procedures into Your Training Program.) In this blog post, I want to continue this theme with another mini-case study demonstrating how getting your organization’s procedures right before the training begins can make a big difference to the success of your training program.

Procedures is one of eight factors in Leslie Allan’s PRACTICE Approach™ for improving the impact of training. Find out more and get Leslie’s high impact training guide.

In this case study, a company manufacturing consumer electronics recently implemented a new inventory management system. The new system involved a hardware upgrade to the company’s servers and the installation of new inventory management software. The training department invited production planning department and warehouse employees to a demonstration of the new system. The demonstration included some hands on exercises. Over a period of six weeks, the software vendor delivered the training competently to a little over 70% of the eligible employees.

Three months after the training, the training participants’ managers expressed their disappointment to the Human Resources Manager. They were upset that only a core of production planning and warehouse department staff was using the new system. They were also very dismayed that the expected efficiencies from the new system did not eventuate.

The Human Resources Manager organized a meeting with a cross-section of the affected employees to find out what was going on. Employees were not shy in coming forward with their complaints. I have listed their grievances below, with a note next to each identifying which of the six key lessons the complaint illustrates.

  • It takes too long to find from the “training” manuals how to perform a task. So, we just give up.

    Lesson 1: Do not rely on training manuals to act as procedure documents back in the workplace.

  • The screens are different to how they appear in the “training” manuals. System customizations are not documented anywhere.

    Lesson 2: Make sure that the procedural documents are updated to reflect the customizations added to the software.

  • The inventory data in the new system is hopelessly incomplete and inaccurate and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.

    Lesson 3: Put in place business rules, systems and procedures before training starts.

  • Some supervisors are saying that the system is in use now whilst others say that it is still being implemented and to hold tight. Some of us cannot get access to the system.

    Lesson 4: Ensure that the new system has a definite cutover date and is communicated to program participants.

Do you recognize one or more of these complaints from your previous training courses? What went wrong? What can you do to prevent the same maladies happening again? Review all six lessons on integrating procedures now to see which ones you can learn from and apply to your next training program. Let us know how you fared and what improvements you made.

High Impact Training Guide

Are you struggling to make the most of your training budget? Do you want to minimize waste whilst maximizing effectiveness? Then check out our high impact training guide, From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance. Learn proven strategies and techniques for finding performance roadblocks, aligning training to real needs, developing training partnerships, engaging learners and maximizing learning transfer. Find out more about From Training to Enhanced Workplace Performance and download the free introductory chapter today.

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