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E-Business Update

Tactical Logistics and On-Line Training

by Victor Hetmanczuk

What strategy are you using to harness the wealth of information residing in your employees’ minds?

Organizations are made up of two forms of knowledge: explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge consists of manuals with Standard Operating Procedures, the processes used to make your products and the systems that manage or control the enterprise.

Tacit knowledge is the experience, skills and relationships of the people who work in the company. The combination of these two types of knowledge will determine if your company has a competitive edge.

The key leadership challenge in the next decade will be to ensure that both these knowledge types are effectively used. Today, management must create a climate in which people can share and apply what they know willingly and quickly.

The Canadian Professional Logistics Institute has recently announced the availability of a Distance Learning Package entitled: “Tactical Logistics - On Line,” that allows the front-line personnel in logistics to become active participants and creators of new innovative solutions for the day-to-day problems encountered in the operation of a distribution centre and and its associated Network. It was designed for supervisors, administrative support staff and operations staff.

It employs an Internet distance learning technology to enable staff to take these courses anywhere, anytime. In addition, a Problem-Base Learning strategy has been applied to promote the application of logistics knowledge in problem solving and decision making.

Problem-Based Learning, as defined by Finkle and Torp (1995): “It is an instructional system that simultaneously develops both problem solving strategies and disciplinary knowledge bases and skills by placing the students in the active role of problem solvers confronted with an ill-structured problem that mirrors real-world problems.” This approach gathers both the individual’s and team’s knowledge of the problem and comes up with a creative way of resolving the issue.

It shows the application of tacit knowledge to workplace issues. As a side benefit,

when you use this form of problem solving, you will be collecting the tacit information

from all your experts in a particular area and saving it in an electronic format – easy to retrieve for the resolution of the next issue or problem. You have the beginnings of a Knowledge Management System for your company.

How does “Tactical Logistics - On Line” work? It is a highly interactive, self-study program of 14 modules that covers topics confronting front-line staff daily. This program is designed to enable staff to develop the problem solving skills required to apply to the logistics content.

The Internet-based delivery approach has been selected to provide easy access for the convenience of the staff and the organization from the workplace or from the employee’s home - 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

The Simplex Creative Problem Solving Process has been employed as the problem

solving model. The Simplex One Hour Problem Solving Software is available for each student to download, free.

The content has been organized to give the student the opportunity to practise working through a logistics problem and developing a solution. Quizzes are featured

upon completion of each topic area. Questions are in the form of either true/false or multiple choice, and scoring feedback is provided. A participant receives immediate acknowledgement of the correctness of their response and immediate clarification if an inappropriate selection occurs. Case studies are presented to provide the student with the opportunity to practise the application.

The logistics topics covered in this package are: Selecting the Right Carrier, Scheduling Carriers, Controlling the Budget, Scheduling Resources, Controlling Inventory, Assembling Orders, Operating Procedures, Product Damage, Health Safety and Environment, Forklift Safety, Personnel Problems, Good Logistics Practices Program, Customer Service, Customer Complaints.

The topics are subdivided into three areas: The supervisors would take all 14 topics; the administrative staff would review eight topics; while the operations staff would review seven.

In addition, all the students take the Simplex module first to gain experience in using the method and becoming familiar with its process steps.

As an example of the challenges in one topic area, we see under Scheduling Carriers: Develop workable daily carrier plan, Develop workable daily resource plan, Adjustments for emergencies, Monitor carrier performance.

Each participant will require an e-mail address so that the administrative portion of the program can keep track of progress and send reminders of when assignments are due. A side benefit of this strategy is that participants will learn how to use the Internet and e-mail.

Giving properly trained employees access to the right material when they need it will be a critical ingredient for success in the future.

For more information, call the Institute at 416-363-3005 for a two-hour demo and pre-consult.