Most DC managers view temp workers as a necessary evil: they need the extra hands to meet seasonal order peaks, but they dread the extra work required to bring temps up to speed, not to mention the inevitable increase in errors from inexperienced workers. John Migliore, General Manager of the Do it Best Retail Service Center in Montgomery, NY, is an exception.
I met John at a voice-directed DC Tour event Lucas hosted in Montgomery. John’s team had just completed on-boarding a couple of dozen temps for Do it Best’s busy summer season. Prior to the event John gave me a tour of his facility and told me how the Lucas voice-directed work execution system has benefitted managers and associates. Among other things, he said training temps is no longer the challenge it used to be in the pre-voice days. (To see the Do it Best voice application in action, view the video on YouTube: Voice Picking at Do it Best) On-boarding temps takes time from supervisors, team leads, and other pickers.
Do it Best still needs to provide general orientation and safety training, but John says the specific picker training is a lot faster and easier with Lucas. And since many of Do it Best’s summer temps are college age people, they like the idea of using voice technology and a mobile computer. After all, most 20 year old’s have a smartphone permanently attached to their hand.
Reducing Training Time From 4-8 Weeks to 1 Day With Voice
John says that with Do it Best’s old paper picking system it would take at least a week to train a temporary worker, and 4-8 weeks before they would reach their target performance rates. With the Lucas system, most pickers are up and running on their own in one day and up to standard within a week or two. Beyond the short learning curve and productivity gains, John also explained that the voice system, since it validates locations and quantities at every step in the process, has greatly reduced the number of errors they see from temps. John was so confident in his temporary associates that we mic’ed them up for the tour.
While most DC managers realize voice will improve the accuracy and productivity of their permanent workforce, few people appreciate that those benefits are magnified when dealing with inexperienced workers, especially temps. This is an important message as we approach the holiday shopping season, when many other retailers and foodservice and grocery distributors face their own seasonal peaks.