CPULD partnered with ProLogis to offer their employees specialized training on pallets in automated warehousing supply chains
In 2020, Virginia Tech partnered with ProLogis, Inc., a major real estate investment company in the U.S., to develop a custom training program for their maintenance technicians. ProLogis builds and/or rents out warehouse properties to its worldwide customers, including Amazon, FedEx, Home Depot, Walmart, Pepsi, BMW, and more. Especially during these days of COVID-19, more and more companies are expanding their delivery services directly to customers, creating the need for even more warehouses as opposed to retail spaces. In addition to simply renting buildings, ProLogis also offers streamlined help in setting up their customers’ new automated warehouse systems as well as ongoing facility management/maintenance services.
Maintenance technicians are the boots on the ground workers for ProLogis. Because they work closely with the companies that rent the warehouses from ProLogis, they have firsthand knowledge of the major pain points for their customers. The training was designed to provide practical knowledge on a wide range of topics in order to enable attendees to identify potential improvement opportunities in the warehouses and offer solutions to their clients.
This new training course covered information focused on four major learning areas: supply chain management, material handling and storage systems, unit load stability, and warehouse optimization. The course was originally designed for in-person education, but due to the pandemic, the format was modified for online delivery but kept some of the hands-on aspects. Eduardo Molina, packaging instructor, and Dr. Laszlo Horvath, director of CPULD, each taught sections of this virtual training. The material was divided into six sessions. Between each lecture, the attendees received hands-on assignments that allowed them to translate the skills that they were learning into practice. To make learning easier, each module included on-demand, pre-recorded lectures that the attendees could watch on their own time and live lectures with facilitated discussions on the covered topics.
The attendees’ final assignment challenged them to find an improvement opportunity in the warehouse that they are responsible for and present it to the leadership of ProLogis. The training was a huge success and will be repeated in March 2021 for a second cohort of employees.
Virginia Tech offers multiple short courses on a wide range of topics each year and works regularly with companies to build custom courses for them in the areas of packaging, pallets, and unit load design. See our current offerings at https://www.unitload.vt.edu/education/continuing-education.html