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Enabling the logistics workforce of tomorrow

Interviews & AMAs
min read
In-headset view of a logistics warehouse facility in VR
Colleagues in the logistics industry wearing bright yellow safety vests and virtual reality headsets

At the recent virtual event The Future of Logistics Real Estate, Strivr Founder and CEO, Derek Belch sat down for a conversation with Steven Hussain, Director of Community Workforce Programs at Prologis. Hussain lent insight into how efficiency in logistics operations can bring tremendous ROI and how immersive learning is helping organizations improve their efficiency at scale.

Watch the video or read the transcript below to discover how VR-based immersive learning is helping logistics organizations reduce churn, improve operational efficiency, and accelerate onboarding at scale.

Reducing churn among logistics frontline workers

Steven Hussain: How does training enable the success of frontline workers and support talent development within the companies they work for?

Derek Belch: The learning-by-doing opportunity that virtual reality (VR) affords is critical and something that’s been very exciting for our customers. Candidly, the NPS scores that come back from a lot of these folks tell us that frontline workers want more of this technology.

Technology shouldn’t just make learning more fun, but can potentially engage the workforce in a more effective manner and lead to better real-world performance—which makes people feel better about their jobs, so they’re not leaving. There’s a shorter ramp-up time, and there’s also a downstream effect of decreasing churn.

The reinvention of management onboarding

Derek Belch: With the pandemic, onboarding for managers has changed significantly. A lot of our customers are telling us they can’t actually bring managers into the warehouse to train because they have to lower the number of people onsite from a safety perspective.

Watching a video on how to manage someone is almost a waste of time, and role playing doesn’t do it justice, either. If companies don’t invest in the people side of their business, eventually they’re going to be behind. So now, they’re pivoting to VR for this type of training, too.

More efficient operations, higher ROI

Steven Hussain: L&D is not just an expense. It can yield real operational improvements. I certainly think the most sophisticated organizations are the ones investing to see yields and productivity increases, declines in safety expenses and claims, and effectiveness at packing and shipping. If you really do these things well with your training, from a measurement perspective, you can generate incredible ROI.

Derek Belch: One of the biggest ROI drivers we’ve seen from a measurement perspective has been seat time. With Walmart as an example, their time to proficiency has come way down. In some trainings, they’ve eliminated half-day and full-day trainings in favor of 20 to 30 minutes in a headset, and seen that the output is the same from a learning perspective. When you look at that time savings, plus not having to pay for hotels and flights, it adds up to tens of millions.

But it goes back to making training cost efficient not just from a butt-in-seat perspective—getting workers on the floor and making them proficient—but also using technology to lead to better learning outcomes, and therefore better real-world outcomes. There’s a financial ROI that comes creating better operational output, for instance, loading a truck more effectively where every square foot matters. Some Strivr customers have fleets of tens of thousands of trucks and hundreds of warehouses. If you consider that a foot in a truck is a million dollars in profit, extrapolated over the course of the fleet, making people better in the real world will benefit the back end.

Calibrating training for a new generation of learners

Steven Hussain: What’s your advice to folks on how they can address the future, starting next year?

Derek Belch: The need and desire for a training modality that fits into the modern day and future workforce is real and palpable. For all this talk about automation, there are a lot of human jobs that aren’t going away anytime soon—if ever—so that knowledge transfer is important.

There are also macroeconomic trends at play such as the aging out of certain folks in the workforce and the groundswell of a new generation of workers. Knowledge transfer is critical, but the younger generations don’t necessarily learn the same way that the older generations learn—nor do they want to.  If you’re not speaking their language as an organization, with tools like VR and video conferencing, you’re behind.

So just do something different, something innovative. Speak the language of the younger generation. In terms of Immersive Learning, it’s not snake oil; it actually works. The ROI is there in a myriad of ways. I would really encourage folks to make sure it’s in their plans—at a minimum to test it in 2021.

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