PCM Corporate Training Initiative Succeeds Where Two Others Failed

Mar 29, 2019

A large manufacturer has driven positive change across its organisation — which includes over 140 manufacturing locations and 200,000 plus employees — by implementing SAP, making sustainable progress possible, and meeting demand in a revolutionary industry.

The Challenge

The need for increased productivity and improved profitability, driven by an ever- demanding global marketplace, required a higher level of company performance — so management initiated a multi-phased, multi-year SAP implementation.

Almost every aspect of the client’s business was impacted through the implementation: finance, accounting, procurement, order management, manufacturing and assembly, quality and plant maintenance, engineering, and inventory and warehouse management functions and processes were redesigned through this initiative.

The scope, pace, and impacted audience of this implementation made it a monumental challenge in terms of successful training development and delivery. In every SAP implementation, the end users’ ability to utilise the system to perform daily job functions is every bit as important as how the system is configured.

After establishing the enterprise business process transformation project, the client engaged its SAP integrator as its initial training partner to support the initiative in the education space. Following a failed pilot from an end-user learning perspective (training that was developed was too high-level, was not job-specific or task-based, was deployed without a well-defined strategy, and resulted in end users ultimately being
unable to perform their job functions at go-live), the client selected its second training partner with the following results:

  • Training redesign strategy performed by the new partner identified 400+ required courses.

  • Calculated training seat time was inflated by 25–50 percent.

  • The client made a significant investment in the development of training materials resulting from the new strategy.

  • 11 months were spent in an attempt to develop in excess of 1,000 hours of curriculum.

  • By the time training deployment was scheduled for the next series of impacted sites, less than 50 percent of the required curriculum was complete.

  • Shortcuts were taken in an attempt to accelerate development, resulting in compromised quality.

  • No attention was paid to the training client or data strategy – with the expectation that already over-taxed process team members, who had no familiarity with the flow or intent of the training courses, would be responsible for loading training data prior to training deployment.

Recognising the issues at hand, the client contacted PCM and requested that they perform an audit to compare the current state to best practices and recommend a series of actions to turn the program around.

Our Solution

PCM completed an extensive audit of the client’s SAP training curriculum and program in an accelerated timeframe. The audit focused on three critical areas:

  1. Curriculum structure and design
  2. Curriculum components and development process
  3. Training program project management

To perform the audit, a PCM performance consultant took the following actions:

  • Met with key client leadership, both within and outside of the training organisation

  • Met with training curriculum designers and developers – including client team members and members of their training partner team

  • Reviewed all project-related training mechanisms, including: project management tools and trackers, training templates, and in-progress
    training deliverables

  • Aligned the findings with recommendations and best practices

  • Provided the client with short-term, tactical plans to realign the project in order to achieve best practices and to gradually redefine the program to better serve the impacted end users and, ultimately, the client organisation as a whole.

Key recommendations made through the audit included:

  1. Restructure the curriculum from enterprise profile-based to process- based in order to reduce the number of modules in scope,
    reduce redundancies in the curriculum, and document holistic impacted processes instead of disjointed fragments of each.

  2. Recalculate course durations based on the transactions covered in each course.

  3. Conduct a thorough stability analysis to determine which of the modules in scope include content that is in flux due to design or configuration changes and which include content that is mostly stable. Concentrate development on those that are most stable and impactful to the business.

  4. Revisit the current structure, purpose, and templates of all of the training components within scope. The structure and quality of the deliverables were the most significant risk to the success of the training program and needed to be corrected immediately given the short timeframe until the next go-live.

  5. Define and enforce the process that is used to develop the course materials.

  6. Build a manageable project plan that organises tasks into the project phases, presents those tasks in chronological order, and is structured
    to ensure that training materials are completed prior to each of the project milestones where they are required.

  7. Establish project status reporting requirements whereby issues and risks are documented, communicated, and systemically resolved; project deliverable completion is clearly tracked by course, and budget conditions are clearly illustrated.

Following the audit presentation, PCM was invited to staff the deployment side of the training team supporting the implementation – more than 20 instructors who would utilise the redesigned training materials that were still under development by the client’s training partner. The PCM staff was provided access to the training materials and client subject matter experts to prepare for training delivery.

Unfortunately, despite the recommendations made during the audit, the client’s training partner was unsuccessful at implementing the changes required to ensure the program’s success. PCM’s instructors delivered training with inadequate and inaccurate materials, operated in a training client with data that was never validated, and were subject to a constantly changing training schedule that was never corroborated against a substantiated curriculum.

The instructors, however, were able to build a strong rapport with both the training team client staff as well as the client staff at the impacted sites, rewrote many of the training materials in process to meet the impacted sites’ needs, and served as conduits to transfer the much needed information from the project implementation teams to site power and end users. Despite the challenges, the impacted sites went live on the SAP system successfully. This was attributed, in part, to the ingenuity and perseverance of the PCM staff tasked with the job of delivering the training given less than ideal circumstances.

The Results

Following the successful delivery of training to those sites, PCM was awarded the contract to develop all future training development to support the client’s SAP implementation as well as continue with training deployment responsibilities.

  • Redefined the training curriculum into a process-based, sustainable solution that truly reflected the processes impacted by the implementation

  • Prioritised training material development so that the most stable, critical, and impactful processes to the client’s business received primary, focused attention. This maximised the client’s initial investment and dramatically reduced redundant work in the development effort

  • Stabilised the material-development process and solidified the templates utilised for each of the training components in scope

  • Developed in excess of 100 courses – more than half of the entire curriculum in scope – in less than half of the time of either of the predecessors who were engaged in the project

  • Improved Level I evaluations for both training material quality and instructor performance in each wave of deployment since our original

  • Provided thought leadership in all aspects of the training program to drive continuous improvement and ensure sustainability as we transitioned development and deployment activities to the internal client team. As a thought leader, we drove adoption of, and loyalty to, SAP

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