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Distribution Center Training in Georgia
Delivering the goods. That’s what makes a successful distribution operation.
That’s also our mission at Quick Start — we deliver strategic workforce solutions that can help you deliver more efficiently.
As the volume of products moving around the world increases, you need employees with higher-level skills in areas such as critical thinking, communication and leadership. In addition, your team needs to understand your specific measures of success.
Whether you track your operation’s picked-product rate, on-time loading schedule, or delivery on-time rate, your team needs to understand these metrics in order to meet your targets.
That’s why Quick Start is your ideal partner. We continually evolve our best practices to meet the needs of operations whose core business is logistics.
Quick Start is Georgia’s internationally acclaimed provider of fully customized, strategic workforce solutions free-of-charge for qualified new, expanding and existing companies.
Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for workforce training, Quick Start supports numerous global leaders in logistics as they track products from creation to consumer.
With Quick Start as your partner, a workforce equipped to reduce order-processing time, increase accuracy and build efficiency can be yours here in Georgia.
Comprehensive, customized training for distribution center operations
Your distribution operation is unique. Your training program should be, too.
We have extensive experience developing and delivering effective and timely training designed specifically to improve the efficiency and accuracy of distribution centers. Our solutions aren’t off-the-shelf.”
These programs are designed in full partnership with your management team and subject-matter experts to directly prepare your personnel to maximize their potential.
Quick Start’s customized, job-specific training will ensure that your workforce is prepared to execute from day one.
Our strategic workforce solution for your operation will help you:
Select the best team
Train employees to your specifications
Cultivate the motivation, work ethic and dedication for a successful team
Emphasize safety, quality, leadership, collaboration and continuous improvement
The soaring success of Bass Pro Shops shows that the company knows what its customers want. Bass Pro’s theatrical and evocative environmental décor has been a hit with its outdoor-adventuring clientele, and at its state-of-the-art distribution center in Macon, the company is letting its fans go backstage.
“Our shoppers are the kind of people who are interested in how things happen,” says Bruce Beasley, vice president of distribution for Bass Pro. At the company’s new distribution center, Bass Pro shoppers for the first time anywhere will have the chance to peek behind the curtain and see “how an item gets from a vendor to a peg hook in the store.”
An observation area in the 420,000-square-foot facility will let customers watch cutting-edge mobile warehouse equipment dart in and out between aisles of merchandise, guided by a wireless system embedded in the floor and moving in precision to get everything from full-sized kayaks to the tiniest fishing lures into the center and back out to stores across the six Southeastern states it supports.
“I think being able to enter the distribution center environment and observe our trucks and conveyors will have a real ‘wow’ factor for our customers,” Beasley says.
If the stars of this show are ready for their close-up, everyone agrees it’s partly due to Quick Start’s training program for the distribution center employees, who will eventually number about 175.
Facing the challenge of training employees before the facility was built, Quick Start’s solution had to be as innovative as Bass Pro’s new distribution system.
“Having a simulated working warehouse for training was essential to having a well-trained workforce on the first day of operations,” says Burt Bethea, Quick Start training coordinator. So Quick Start’s team studied Bass Pro’s operations in Missouri, documented the process and created a virtual distribution center with animations, video and multimedia technology.
This training, along with Quick Start’s customized core skills and job-specific courses, has paid dividends in both time and money, according to the company.
“We have a schedule for transferring stores to the new distribution center, and the Quick Start training has allowed us to move that schedule up by about a month,” says Ernie Reed, manager of the distribution center.
“I’ve been very impressed with the Quick Start team — they did every-thing they said they were going to do, and that’s important. Lots of people make promises. Quick Start made promises and not only kept those promises, but often even exceeded them.”
Vice President of Distribution
“It’s helped reduce our turnover rate as well, all because the training gave the employees a good, solid understanding of what their job involves before they ever hit the floor.”
The training is particularly critical for the new Macon facility because the variety of products will surpass that of many other distribution centers.
“We handle 78,000 [different products], which is unusual among distribution centers,” says Beasley. “We’re not dealing with just shirts, or even just clothing. A trolling motor and a fishing lure are not handled the same way, and our employees have to know how to handle each one, and everything in between.”
The solution to that logistical challenge is technology, and with every new technological advance in the industry, a greater skill set is required from team members.
The new Bass Pro facility incorporates all the latest innovations, from overhead scanners to automated high-speed conveyors and radio frequency (RF) scanning of labels and bar codes, and the new technology is changing the entire scope of a distribution center employee’s job.
“A lot of what we do with bar codes is all new to our associates, allowing so much to be done in real time,” says Beasley.
“Before, someone would inventory a new shipment on the floor, and then take it to a clerk to input into the computer system. Now, the second you put something on a shelf and scan it with an RF scanner, the entire company knows where it is.”
Thanks to Quick Start training, these employees are prepared for the challenges.
From its small beginning in 1962 with one store in Arkansas to more than 4,600 stores worldwide and record sales of $244.5 billion in 2003, Wal-Mart has been an innovative leader, recently being named the most admired company in America by Fortune magazine.
Wal-Mart has statewide presence in Georgia, occupying millions of square feet in distribution centers in Monroe, LaGrange, Macon, Statesboro, Douglas and, most recently, Carrollton.
For more than 10 years, Quick Start has partnered with Wal-Mart on training for six Wal-Mart distribution centers, with the training customized to the particular needs of each center.
For example, Quick Start has worked with the Wal-Mart Statesboro Distribution Center on three separate occasions. The services provided helped reduce turnover by more than half.
Much of the merchandise on the company’s store shelves is funneled through these distribution centers, requiring them to operate full-throttle, seven days a week with a precise system in order fulfillment and inventory.
To keep Wal-Mart customers happy, merchandise must be shipped on time and kept in stock. That’s where Quick Start expertise helps: Training Wal-Mart’s distribution workforce keeps merchandise flowing.
When Wal-Mart decided to build its Walmart.com distribution center in Carrollton, Bob Duron, regional manager of Wal-Mart Specialty, knew who to call, having joined the company after successfully running the Amazon.com distribution center in McDonough, where he had also worked with Quick Start.
“I knew [Quick Start’s] approach was to come in, assess the situation and get dialogue going about what we’re trying to accomplish,” he adds.
“When we started Walmart.com in Carrollton, there were no tools or manuals on how to operate the sys-tem – it all had to be developed. We leveraged Georgia Quick Start to help us. I knew from working with them before that they have the infrastructure, knowledge, tools and skill set to help us accomplish our goals.
“Within weeks, Quick Start project managers came in understanding the functionality of the system and the process flow…Quick Start is a very flexible, intelligent, sharp group of people working together toward a common goal.
“The impact of Georgia Quick Start on the learning curve was significant,” Duron says. “Georgia Quick Start played a significant part in helping us develop the tools we need to get these people onboard quickly.”
“Quick Start’s training has been very good,” says Sherethea Copeland, training manager of the Carrollton facility.
“Their visual aids worked well and the training has been flexible, which is very helpful. At Walmart.com, things change daily. We’re relatively new so we’re constantly finding new ways to do things.”
Some employees of the 1.1 million-square-foot Carter’s, Inc., distribution center in Braselton, Ga., look a lot like shoppers as they push carts through the aisles, talking and listening to the electronic devices they’re wearing.
Sounds a little different than your average retail store, though. “Zone echo one sierra, confirm.” “Check seven eight three.” “Pick seven confirm.”
This is a behind-the-scenes look (and listen) at what happens after customers press the “Buy Now” button on the Carter’s/Osh Kosh B’Gosh Web site.
These employees are filling e-commerce orders, one of three functions of this multichannel distribution center, which also supports wholesale and retail distribution for the company’s babies’ and kids’ clothes. What you hear is the employees’ side of an interaction with Voxware, voice-recognition software that guides them through the warehouse, helping them fill individual customer orders efficiently.
“Across our business, but especially in e-commerce, there’s always a connection with the customer — we call her ‘Mom,’” says Christie Craig, manager of learning/development and communications.
“Our associates know that each package is a direct link to Mom.”
“The materials and training Quick Start has provided will enable us to cross-train the building across the board once we’ve completed the startup phase.”
Learning/Development and Communications
To make sure that link is a strong one, Quick Start works with Carter’s to make sure employees are well-trained in all the technology and procedures they follow throughout the operation — no matter which part of the operation they work in.
“We don’t want three separate staffs in e-commerce, retail and wholesale — the basic premise of this building is that we need to be able to flex our staff and move them where we need to as business changes across each sector,” says Steve Wittry, director of human resources at the Braselton fulfillment center, which currently employs about 700 people.
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