There’s lots of potential danger in supply chain operations: work at distribution centers involves using heavy equipment to pick, pack and move products at an extremely fast pace. Walmart’s U.S. division achieved dramatic safety improvements with a daily training solution that provides personalized short quizzes on safety topics, helping change on-the-job behaviors of more than 100,000 associates at 150 DCs. Recordable incidents at eight DCs decreased by 54% during the pilot program, and voluntary participation rates have consistently topped 90%.
Walmart Canada is seeking to replicate those results by deploying the Axonify training solution. The implementation is part of a $3.5 billion investment designed to improve Walmart Canada’s e-Commerce operations and will be used specifically to reinforce critical safety concepts for 5,000 supply chain associates working at 10 DCs across the country.
When the solution is completely deployed, “we can create a single touch point for all the associates,” said Francis Lalonde, VP of Transportation at Walmart Canada in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “If we need to focus on one particular aspect of safe working for everyone, we can push it via Axonify.”
However, Lalonde expects the biggest benefits to come from the fact that each employee’s training is personalized — not just for their job role, but also for their individual strengths and weaknesses. During their downtime, employees can review three- to five-minute training modules and answer quiz questions. “If you’re good with answering one type of question but not another, the AI module figures out who is doing well, in which parts of the business,” said Lalonde. Questions are designed both to reinforce what’s already been learned, and to add to each employees’ safety consciousness and expertise.
Lalonde may be the ideal person to improve safety in Walmart Canada’s supply chain. “I worked in explosives manufacturing years ago, and that’s where I got exposed to world-class safety,” he said. “Manufacturers tend to be better than retailers on safety, because it’s easier to focus on a small group in manufacturing. In explosives, we could do $500 million in business with just six people, but you need many more people in retail to do the same. My goal is to ‘retail-ize’ this type of safety approach in order to hit home with all the frontline folks.”
Single Point Of Connection Across The Enterprise
With the single point of contact Axonify provides, Lalonde and other Walmart Canada executives can quickly track and analyze user participation, determine who is using the program as well as spot potential problem areas in terms of safe operations. “They can track across the entire population and understand who has seen the training and who knows it,” said Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Instead of it all being disconnected, there’s one global point of connection for everybody. That’s particularly needed with the disruptions that are happening in 2020.”
The deployment, which began earlier this summer, will include information about dealing with COVID-19. Lalonde wants to use the system to identify who is struggling, and in which areas: “You might be struggling with material handling equipment, but are OK with personal protective equipment [PPE]. This solution makes everybody stronger in multiple areas.”
The solution also includes a gamification element and a safety-oriented leaderboard to take advantage of employees’ innate competitive nature. “When I was in the U.S., there were serious competitions for bragging rights about the leaderboard,” said Lalonde.
After the DC deployments, Walmart Canada plans to expand its use of Axonify to its truck drivers and others involved with transportation and logistics.