The importance of training is often overlooked in the transportation and logistics industry. For many supply chain management (SCM) and logistics organizations, employee training is usually minimal and primarily focuses on onboarding training. While important, managers in the industry must look into continually training their team to keep up not only with essential skills but to keep up to date on new trends in technology as well as SCM & logistics best practices in a highly competitive space.

So why exactly is training for logistics so important, and how can organizations in this sector employ training to overcome the biggest challenges in supply chain management?

Why is training for logistics and supply chain management important?

Most would think that managing freight from point to point is cut and dry however the very nature of the industry is continually met with challenges that organizations must be ready to meet. Whether we’re talking about the management of global supply chains from raw materials to the final product or the warehousing and transportation of those from a third-party logistics (3PL) standpoint, the industry as a whole isn’t immune to change. New transportation systems, software technologies, trends, and networks, all pose opportunities for organizations to gain an advantage over competitors. Logistics businesses are always looking for new and efficient ways to deliver more freight on time.

Training courses for SCM and logistics professionals usually encompass an understanding of the different software implemented and an understanding of practical methods in freight shipping and management. Common courses supply chain professionals take usually include:

  • Warehouse Management System (WMS) software
  • Freight forwarding and 3PL planning
  • Trade lane management
  • Route optimization
  • Transportation management system (TMS)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
  • Production and Inventory Management
  • Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution

What courses can be taught in a logistics training program?

The courses noted above are usually related to onboarding new or slightly experienced employees into a logistics organization. For continual learning, companies will want to invest in training to upskill team members to prepare for new challenges and roles that the global supply chain industry faces.

Some of the biggest 2023 challenges in logistics are shipments going missing, getting damaged in transit, or being delayed (often by strike action or severe weather conditions). But beyond this, logistics workers must also get to grips with:

  • Blockchain technology: the bill of lading (legal documents used in international trade) can potentially be replaced with cryptocurrency-associated technology, allowing easier-to-access updates on freight and cargo transit status.
  • Transportation management systems: new software is being implemented to better manage route optimizations for truckers, and trade lanes for shipping specialists, replacing clunky, manual spreadsheets.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML): AI and ML are playing increasingly important roles in predicting route optimizations, last-mile logistics calculations, and risk mitigation, using terabytes of data compiled over years of international trade and transportation.
  • Geopolitical risks: logistics professionals must stay up to date on new and recurring risks affecting global trade lanes, including political upheaval, strike action among workers, and even piracy.
  • Driver training: From the port to the truck, to the warehouse. Training your trucker fleet to meet expectations will be paramount as trucker lanes from ocean to land freight will be critical. That also excludes the potential to train operators for self-driving delivery vehicles in your fleet.
  • Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA): Managing returns, repairs, and defects in the most efficient way possible will be critical with the continual expansion of e-commerce.

On top of all this, the global logistics industry is expected to grow significantly in the next decade with container shipping alone accounting for $280 billion in 2033. While this will pose challenges for logistics professionals in 2023 and beyond, this also opens up opportunities to introduce high-impact training for logistics companies, ensuring workers continually learn from experts in the industry and adapt to the huge array of emerging technologies at speed.

This takes training far beyond basic onboarding, reskilling, and upskilling. Instead, logistics training is about preparing SCM teams and industry professionals to adapt to the biggest 2023 logistics training challenges, arming them with the skills needed to stay one step ahead of the competition – especially with so many new transportation and logistics companies popping up to compete for a share of this growing market.

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The benefits of developing training programs for supply chain and logistics employees

When it comes to investing in the business, the importance of transportation and logistics employee training should not be overlooked. Alongside new technology and assets, investing in training your logistics professionals is one of the very best investments you can make, helping to sharpen skill sets, improve problem-solving skills, and increase efficiency and profits.

Just some of the benefits of investing in your logistics training program include:

  • Employees who are ready to hit the ground running from day one, reducing time to competency
  • Increased employee retention rate (especially as many logistics companies struggle with high employee turnover)
  • Improved job satisfaction, motivation, and employee wellbeing
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Reduction in sunk costs, such as underutilized systems and poor-fit employees
  • Improved operational structure and systems implementation

Training your transportation, logistics and supply chain workers, from brand-new employees to senior managers, is the best way to ensure the long-term success of your business. You can have the very latest systems and technologies, but if nobody knows how to use them properly, it’s a wasted investment, so make sure that you are investing in your people side-by-side with any technological spending across your organization.

How to conduct a successful logistics training program

If you’re ready to design and implement your new logistics training program, you need to start by identifying several target areas, from functional areas such as shipping and transportation processes, down to employee-specific goals by department. This will help you understand where each department wants to improve, and what support and training they might need to get there.

That’s where a Training Management System (TMS) comes in. No, in the context of this post, we don’t mean TMS to mean “transportation management system” but an entirely different software.

With regards to software for learning and training scheduling, a TMS is a tool used to streamline and automate training scheduling, meaning your training team can focus more on actually delivering great training, rather than spending unnecessary time and effort piecing together the right instructors, rooms, resources, and more. By implementing a TMS, you can plan, organize, and facilitate transport and logistics training in the same way you would organize the transportation of cargo from point A to B – with efficiency and no wasted time.

So, what does this look like?

1. Organizing your course schedule with qualified instructors

Every instructor will specialize in something different and will have different skills and strengths. For instance, you may have one instructor who knows a new WMS inside out, and who can conduct training in Spanish for Spanish-speaking employees, while another may be an expert in route optimization. With a TMS, you can hone in on the best instructor for every training session to maximize the impact of your logistics training program.

Look for a TMS with a robust scheduling system, allowing the training team to better align course schedules with instructor availability for the most efficient training solution.

2. Analyzing training performance for logistics employees’ learning

Go beyond a blunt pass/fail to see if logistics employees are truly hitting the mark, or if you need to adjust your training to ensure a deep understanding of the subject matter.

But it’s not just about getting a deeper insight into training outcomes – it’s also about drilling down into your instructors themselves. Finding the right instructor for logistics training isn’t always easy, so use your TMS to compare capabilities and qualifications at a glance to ensure you’re building the best possible training program.

You may wish to check statistics for specific courses to find out where you can make improvements on a more granular level. For instance, if you discover that one course isn’t getting you the results you need, you can focus your efforts on improving the efficacy of that course, without wasting precious time trying to identify the issue across your entire program.

3. Making training flexible and enjoyable for your team

Transportation and logistics workers are busy and don’t have time to waste on low-quality training. Ensure learning fits into their busy schedules by employing strategies such as mobile learning, microlearning, gamification, on-demand learning, and on-the-job performance support to complement their live training sessions.

Instructor-led training (ILT) and virtual instructor-led training (vILT) are essential for the success of a transportation and logistics training program and should be part of any good hybrid or blended learning environment. By combining live, instructor-led sessions (whether in-person or online) with on-demand, shorter resources, logistics workers can keep learning fresh in their minds and brush up on what they need when it suits them.

4. Incentivize success with certification programs

Build trust among customers and business partners by incentivizing your transportation and logistics employees with certification programs. Certifying your team helps prove their competency with an industry-recognized qualification, and gives professionals something to work towards. For supply chain and logistics professionals, these would normally include the APIC certifications awarded by the Association for Supply Chain Management.

The key to easy certification management is choosing learning software with in-built certification capabilities. For instance, select a TMS where you can manage certificates and license holders so you can automatically be updated on when employees are due for training or their certificates are about to expire. The system can then automatically invite them to an upcoming training session to renew their certification and stay up to date with all the training they need to do their jobs well.

Training Orchestra: the TMS for Logistics and Supply Chain Professionals

For organizations looking for a robust transportation and logistics training program, it can be tricky to know where to start. There are hundreds of learning systems on the market today, and it tends to be one of the biggest investments a training team will make, so getting it right is crucial – especially in a sector as complex and fast-changing as transportation and logistics.

Training Orchestra is a TMS that aligns perfectly with the needs of transportation and logistics companies. Whether it’s comprehensive, efficient onboarding, engaging skills training, or essential compliance and health and safety training, Training Orchestra is equipped to handle all ILT and vILT for logistics professionals.

Training Orchestra sits alongside your LMS to complement your online, on-demand, resource-driven learning with impactful, live training sessions. It’s especially well suited to large, complex organizations, making it the TMS of choice for many transportation and logistics organizations looking to upskill large workforces at speed, without the need for clunky spreadsheets or manually chasing employees to register for their next training session.

But in fact, the real magic of Training Orchestra happens behind the scenes. While your employees will enjoy a slick, streamlined training experience, it’s your back-office training staff who will realize the biggest benefits. They can use Training Orchestra’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface to schedule training while assigning a suitable instructor, finding the right training venue and allocating resources is a breeze.

On top of this, training administrators can keep track of training budgets, down to the cost and utilization rates of individual instructors, and if they need to reschedule a session, it takes just a couple of clicks to move it, reallocate resources, and inform everyone of the change – no lengthy email chains required!

Transportation and logistics organizations tend to be very large and complex, often comprising a mixture of full-time employees, part-time employees, and contractors. With Training Orchestra, it’s easy to manage entire groups of learners in one go, freeing up administrators’ and instructors’ time to focus on what they do best.

Why choose Training Orchestra for your transportation and logistics training?

Training Orchestra is trusted by transportation and logistics organizations worldwide to manage ILT and vILT with ease. For instance, scheduling onboarding sessions for new employees in peak periods (such as in the run-up to the holiday season) is easy with Training Orchestra, as administrators can create multiple sessions in seconds, allocate suitable instructors, select any relevant resources, and find rooms (or virtual rooms) that fit the budget and capacity requirements.

But don’t just take our word for it! Training Orchestra has received industry accolades from learning and research organizations such as the Fosway Group, the Brandon Hall Group, and Talented Learning, and continues to be recognized as one of the best specialist learning systems for organizations looking to manage their ILT and vILT efficiently and at scale.

Supply chain and logistics powerhouses Bollore and Maersk trust Training Orchestra for the swift, accurate management of their live training, creating better-skilled workforces who are fully equipped to deal with the biggest logistics challenges. The right learning platform makes the world of difference, and streamlining your training operations will set you on the path to success when it comes to sending shipments around the world.

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For over 20 years, Training Orchestra has helped over 600 training companies, corporate L&D departments, and associations worldwide to address instructor-led training operations management challenges for their employee, customer, partner, or member training programs. We’ve crafted the perfect training management system to address the most critical needs of corporate L&D and training businesses.

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