Keeping Track – 160 Trainees over 250 Locations
"Our goal is a clear and straightforward work schedule," explains Uwe Wälde. The Training Manager at IMS Gear and his 14 employees wanted a clear picture of when and where which trainees could be found at any given time. No easy task – the automotive supplier employs 160 German-speaking trainees who cover around 250 different areas and departments during their three years of training. Four fifths of them are trained in industrial-technical occupations. The company also wanted to be able to store evaluations, report portfolios and certificates all in the same database. Further requirements included enabling the instructors to enter data themselves and the trainees to keep track of their work schedule a year in advance. All of this, of course, with different access rights in order to ensure data security. In other words, extremely complex.
"The German version is working very well," reported Wälde one year on. Almost six months later, the English version was also up and running for a further 40 trainees in both plants in Mexico and the USA. This was challenging for both sides, as IMS Gear was the first commercial customer operating in this foreign language. As a result, software developments for the gear and transmission technology specialist took a little longer, but were provided free of charge.
"Two years ago, our Excel spreadsheets were confusing," Wälde remembers, which is why he looked into four other alternatives in addition to easySoft. The others, however, were self-contained programs with too little scope for variations and he would have had to adapt the company's previous work processes to the software. In contrast, Easysoft Education was much more flexible and customer friendly with its modular design and the ability to reprogram some parts. "The software is programmed intentionally in such a way that it can be adapted to customer needs in many places," explains Wilfried Hahn, Head of Development at Easysoft. For about every fifth customer, the company based in Metzingen also re-develops smaller program components.
"Obviously, this takes time," says the training manager, who now shares his experiences within the software developer's user work group. Fortunately, there are also German employees at both plants in Mexico and the USA who work at the relevant points of communication, which made it possible to schedule the trainees there using Easysoft software even before the English version was introduced.
In the meantime, all the trainees can now fill out their report portfolios online. The major advantage of this is that training managers and others who are responsible within the departments can check whether the trainees are fulfilling the task or not and then follow up. This was a key deciding factor for IMS Gear. Instead of printing out all the report portfolios and sending them to the responsible Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the digital report portfolios can now be sent online. Not every Chamber accepts this procedure yet, but with increasing digitization, it is only a matter of time.
Another important requirement for the company was to be able to incorporate their intricate and well-thought-out evaluation system into the software. Evaluation templates of this kind already exist. They can be adapted within a few minutes and further modified later on.
The company, which generated 479 million euros with 3050 employees in 2016, definitely achieves time savings, according to Wälde. Among other things, the work schedule can be printed out quickly, the training status of individual trainees is transparent and interdependencies can be seen at a glance. In addition, he feels he receives excellent support from Metzingen. "The hotline tries to solve all user problems within one day." Two IMS employees from the HR Department also attend the user conference regularly to expand their knowledge and relay the information back to their department.