The Lean Supply Chain

The Value of Training

Having published a Lean Supply Chain & Logistics training simulation and training package (Lean Supply Chain game), I realize the value of good training to enable an efficient, lean supply chain.

However, it comes as no surprise that, especially in the U.S., training usually is given a fairly low priority. In fact, according to one study I read, U.S. companies, on average, train employees 7 hours/year/employee vs. “best in class” countries which clock in at over 200 hours/year/employee.

Sometimes I think we lose the concept of why training is so beneficial. If we just look at it as “training for training's sake” then we are setting the bar way too low. We need to set our expectations higher, as among many benefits, training can lead to increased productivity and performance improvement, improved customer satisfaction, increased employee morale and retention and even increased revenue.

There is also a gap in terms of qualified supply chain & logistics employees worldwide making training even that much more important. In fact, according to The Outlook on the Logistics & Supply Chain Industry 2012, “the logistics and supply chain sector underpins the entire global economy” and “the logistics industry is essentially a people business.” This is not surprising but the fact that “almost two thirds (64%) of the executives surveyed confirmed they had experienced difficulty in recruiting good employees” is somewhat alarming. The main reason for this was for the most part, not enough good candidates are available.

So there is definitely a need for supply chain & logistics training in organizations (and universities). In most states in the U.S., there are grants available for employee training (lean, supply chain and otherwise). In many cases, companies aren’t even aware of these grants, and those that are, tend to look at them as “one off” type of training instead of a way to start the transformation process for their companies for the long term.

We need to gradually change the short-term focus of training to a longer term focus of continuous improvement in order to truly gain the benefits of a globally integrated and lean supply chain.

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