Training and Going Live for your Warehouse Management
In this article we cover what are often the most anticipated stages of our five-step plan: the training, and the go live. These are in fact the final two steps of our process, and for good reason. Everything we’ve done up until this point has prepared us to move to these exciting but delicate last steps, where everything comes together and your operation begins to take real form. But without the right preparation, these can be easy to get wrong, and many businesses’ attempts at going live turn out to be an outright failure. If, however, you follow the plan we’ve refined over the years, the chances of this happening are dramatically lessened because you will have built a strong foundation based upon sound implementation principles that will reward you and your team when the go live date finally arrives.
Typically, when people want to get help with their warehouse management software, the first thing they want to begin with is training, so it may come as a surprises that the training is one of the final steps in our inventory software implementation program. But in our experience, this has been the most rewarding approach for virtually every small business trying to implement their warehouse management software. We think that training is extremely important, and this is precisely why we consider it to be is something that needs to be prepared for sufficiently in order to ensure that it will be ultimately successful.
The Inventory Software Training
Because in step three we documented individual procedures, we will have a detailed roadmap of how the training should proceed, as well as how long it will roughly take. Moreover, we will have already decided and documented which roles and responsibilities are assigned to whom, as well as the specific procedures that they will be performing. With the overall file setup and workflow vision now completed, we are now ready to train your employees on that vision.
We like to follow a simple approach when it comes to training your people: Explain, help, show, and watch. With this order of operations, your employees will first see what they need to do, understand why it needs to be done, and then get the chance to practice it themselves while you verify and help them do it correctly. At this point they should feel confident doing their task on their own without supervision, and eventually, they should even be comfortable training another individual if needed.
Keeping it Simple and Streamlined
If you document your SOP procedures as we recommend, it actually makes the training process far more efficient because it will help you outline who needs to be trained on what. Often businesses assume that everyone on their team needs to be an expert at every aspect of the QuickBooks software, but this simply isn’t true. Going to such lengths is unnecessary, and even potentially overbearing and/or wasteful. It is instead better to train your users on what they need and not much more, so that they can be comfortable in their role without worrying or being overwhelmed with other features that they likely will never interact with. The only individual who should know everything about the software is either yourself or a designated project manager who is specifically assigned and trained to be the overseer of the inventory system in relation to your business operation.
We firmly maintain that if you are going to train your people, you should know exactly what you are training them for, and this is why we recommending going through our prior steps one, two, and three before starting with the training. That way, you’ll be confident that the preparation goes smoothly because you will have the vision and tools ready to answer questions as well as the proper set up to ensure a realistic learning environment. The larger your company’s operation is, the more important it is that you get this down before delving into an in depth, multi-user training program.
Get the Software Training Right the First Time
The placement of training as the second to last step is purposely done, because it is the point at which your users will be both adequately prepared to receive it, as well as neatly positioned right before the go live date. This is ideal because once you go live with the software, the training just received will be fresh in your user’s minds and the process will simply be a transition from practicing to executing. This practice time is valuable because it allows those who are working on the specific procedures to raise their questions, suggestions, and concerns about the process, helping you to refine and revise the existing workflow in response to the feedback that your people will be providing you. Repetition is key, and the more that your team members use the software, the more comfortable they’ll feel.
While practicing will take place in a sandbox environment (as discussed in our prior articles), it is important to always be in the “live” mindset with your team, entering realistic values and practicing situations that are practical and likely to come up when the software is live. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even enter in several live orders without processing them just to experiment with some actual data. These kinds of efforts will better help uncover problems that might otherwise only be apparent after you’ve gone live with the inventory management software for your small business, a circumstance we certainly would like to avoid. As a matter of fact, this time is as much of a practicing session as it is a testing environment where we make certain that the best business practices you’ve outlined are sound, both in theory and in practice.
The Go Live of the IMS
You’ve decided on a go live date, taken all necessary steps to prepare for it, and it’s finally here. Every stage of our five-step plan has prepared you for this. But what does the go live date look like? Ideally, it will look just like another good day of practice. If we’ve done everything right, then there should be few surprises or problems, but instead, a smooth and simple transition from the sandbox to the live software where your users continue to utilize the functions they’ve learned well throughout the training process. While going live is a great accomplishment, nothing about the day should feel out of the ordinary.
This concludes our in-depth review of our five-step inventory software implementation process. If you have any questions or would like our assistance, visit this page and contact us about your situation and we’ll have a representative reach out to you.