The Retail industry is passing through trying times. The emergence of ‘e-tailers’ and changing buyer tastes and preferences have taken a heavy toll on companies in this important sector. Various well-known retail chains such as Dots, Alco Stores, Radio Shack, Deb Shops, Wet Seal, and Delia’s have filed for bankruptcy protection in the last 15 months. The situation is indeed grim.
How can firms in the Retail sector face the intense competition from e-commerce companies and overcome other challenges? What does it take to ensure that Retail organizations do not become history? Well, experts believe that ‘brick and mortar’ retailers need to focus on a key aspect – inventory management. Optimizing retail inventories is the need of the hour.This critical need of retail companies has given rise to the following training needs.
- Delivering effective training on inventory handling and control processes
- Equipping staff members with good knowledge of various software used to improve inventory management efficiencies
Many Retail firms are using the online medium to meet these training needs. This is because e-learning courses are highly flexible and cost-effective. Companies opting for the online training format can choose to either develop customized courses or purchase readymade learning materials from a vendor.
It is better to go in for custom-built e-learning courses to meet your inventory management training needs because:
There is no ‘one-size fits all solution’
Inventory management processes of Retail firms are as diverse as the firms themselves. Each organization has its own minimum stock, maximum stock and re-ordering level requirements. Different companies have different counting cycles. There is also a wide diversity in the inventory management software used in the Retail industry.
An off-the-shelf e-learning course, developed by an external vendor who does not know the unique inventory management needs of your company, will not be very effective. This is because the course is not tailored to your specific needs. You will have no such problem with a customized online course.
Flexibility to modify the course is important
Many a time, you need to make changes to the learning content of your inventory management course. For instance, the developer of your inventory control software has released its new version. You need to make changes to the online course used to train your people on the software, accordingly.
It is not possible to make modifications to an off-the-shelf e-learning course. This is because you do not have access to the source code of the course. All you can do is request the vendor to make the changes, and there is no guarantee that he will oblige. On the other hand, YOU OWN the customized online course and can update the course as you wish.
Training can be delivered with minimum expenditure
The L&D managers of Retail firms are under tremendous pressure to reduce the cost of training. Every training dollar counts, and it is essential to get the maximum benefit with minimum expenditure.
Off-the-shelf courses come with licensing fees, which can make them very expensive. For instance, a large Retail company with stores in 10 counties needs to train its 20,000 people on inventory control best practices. A catalog online course priced on the basis of number of learners is used for the purpose. The license fee charged for each learner is $20. This amounts to $400,000 (20,000*$20). But, a customized e-learning course can be developed for only $10,000. What a difference!
Customized e-learning courses help retail organizations deliver tailor-made training to enhance their inventory handling efficiencies. These courses can be updated without any hassles and enable retailers to deliver training in a very economical manner. Thus, they are ideal to deliver inventory management training to the Retail workforce.