When Pam Cobb began her new job as Human Resources Manager at Yokohama Industries, one of the first things she noticed was the lack of an organized training plan.
"Our previous training program was really ad hoc," says Cobb. "When somebody new was hired, they were given to an experienced employee on the floor and that employee trained them, whether they were an expert trainer or a good trainer or even an effective trainer."
Steven Shown, Training Analyst at Yokohama, argues that the informal nature of Yokohama's previous training program led to a lot of waste in the form of unusable product, or scrap.
"Without standardization, we never knew if people were getting trained the right way and if they were getting trained on the best way to do it," explains Shown. "There was no benchmarking or anything like that. Scrap was being produced at a higher rate because many people weren't following correct procedures because they were never taught a correct procedure—they were taught a shortcut."
"Scrap was being produced at a higher rate because many people weren't following correct procedures because they were never taught a correct procedure—they were taught a shortcut."
In the Convergence LMS, Cobb and Shown found a solution that would allow Yokohama to build a single, standardized set of training that could be delivered to all of their employees, while also laying out a roadmap for advancement within the company.
"We're basing our whole performance program off the LMS," says Cobb. It's really building into our progression plan. From the bottom all the way up. Around here it takes about three to five years to become fully-trained. In three years, you just start coming into your element and in five years, you should really know exactly what all the machines do."
At the most basic level, for new employees, Yokohama has created onboarding training on all the equipment in the plant, describing the purpose, function, and safety hazards of each machine.
For more experienced employees, Yokohama found they could leverage the LMS to foster more ownership from their workforce by using "elective based training" to help employees choose their own path forward.
"We're trying to put the onus on the employee and help them follow the path that they want to follow and not the one that we set before them or that isn't there."
"We have a master training task list for each machine style," explains Shown. "And one machine may have twenty or thirty different tasks that you need to perform on a daily basis. The Convergence LMS allows us to lay out a specific set of training activities that they have to successfully complete before they move into a new role and take on more responsibilities. We're trying to put the onus on the employee and make sure that they're following the path that they want to follow and not the one that we set before them or that isn't there.
"A lot of times, you don't know what an employee wants to do with their career. But if you can give them options and then let them follow those options, they'll show you where they want to go and it will keep them motivated at the same time. If they know where they're going and what it takes to get there, you'll see them start performing those roles and working successfully towards navigating to that particular avenue."
The Convergence LMS allowed Yokohama to take the responsibility for training from "non-trainers" in the field, and centralize it to ensure a consistency of message.
"We're most proud of what we see as a more professional approach to training," says Shown. "The ability to create consistent training experiences for our employees and the ability to deliver those effectively every time -- that's priceless. It takes it out of the subjective realm and creates more objective training."
Additionally, Yokohama has come to appreciate the LMSs reporting functions as well as its basic training management features. Shown notes the Convergence LMS's ability to run a report showing who's completed their training and who hasn't is important for anybody in his role.
"Without an LMS, if you need to provide training completion reporting for an employee, typically it would take somebody fifteen or twenty minutes to go and track down their file and folder and get the hard copy and take it to them with a lot of extra data that might not be needed." explains Shown "Whereas, now... just give me the names, I'll print out the training record on the spot in real time."
For a larger organization such as Yokohama, Shown sees the benefit in efficiency of a training program such as the LMS.
"If you can think about it, how long would it take you to train four-hundred and fifty employees if you had to do it individually and it was a thirty-minute training course? That's versus a week with the Convergence LMS to develop it and get it out there and finalize and review it and send out and assigned.
"I'm extremely happy with it. It's been really easy to learn and it functions as advertised."
"If you can think about it, how long would it take you to train four-hundred and fifty employees if you had to do it individually and it was a thirty-minute training course? That's versus a week with the Convergence LMS to develop it and get it out there and finalize and review it and send out and assigned."