Shimano provide flexible product knowledge to Europe-wide independent retailer network

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Organisation information

Large Enterprise

Shimano is a Japanese multinational manufacturing company. Among other things, they make high quality parts for bikes, providing gears and other elements. Shimano Europe is based in Holland.

The Challenge

Shimano has a reputation for high quality bike parts. A critical audience for maintaining that reputation are the bike mechanics who work with their parts.  The mechanics need to know about new Shimano products, how they work, how to ensure customers get the best from them. But the business faced a challenge – these mechanics aren’t their employees. They work in service centres, which are independent retailers.  There are 686 of them in Europe along, and mechanics often move from one to another.

Shimano didn’t have a system in place to reach them. It was beyond HR’s control to regulate or provide training to this group. The fallback was to send out physical brochures and manuals. But of course, that form of product knowledge gets out of date very quickly.

They wanted a more flexible approach. They wanted to reach and support this vital audience in multiple countries and languages, without a big overhead of effort on their HR team. They also wanted to go beyond product knowledge to certification. Totara Learn brought the potential for these solutions and more.

The Solution

Neo Learning, the Totara partner for Shimano, developed a solution with several key benefits to Shimano:

Custom look and feel:

The site needs to convey the high quality of Shimano’s products, and it’s had a custom design to do just that, with a high-end graphical and learner experience.

Shimano Home page

A local, devolved, experience:

Rather than requiring central HR teams, the Totara Learn solution has moved the responsibilities to a lower level. A custom module devolves this responsibility to a Country Distribution Manager, responsible for their country and their entire dealer network. It’s far more localised and precise than a centralised approach. Shimano has full visibility of all learning and performance, and local managers can maintain and update.

A personalized product knowledge experience:

Within the LMS, there is a range of programs. Learners create a profile to specify what’s relevant to them, and this generates recommended programmes, e.g. by role or type of bike. These use program management in Totara Learn to define completion rules and learning paths. Programs and courses are available in multiple European languages.


In the current solution, mechanics can be certified, ensuring that the standards of service expected by Shimano are met. Each learner earns Open Badges for completion of programs. The badges stay with the individual, not the service centre – vital information if someone moves centres, because their expertise goes with them.

Continuing to grow: 

Over 1,700 mechanics are currently being supported, and the site is being upgraded to support over independent bike dealers as well as service centres. In 2016, this will increase the user base to 30,000 mechanics across Europe, along with some visual enhancements and additional Badge Features.

Shimano Open Badges screen


  • Ease of administration: Having control at the country level removes a whole layer of administrative complexity and has been very well received
  • Engagement and reach: Over 100 programmes and over 800 courses are available, in 8 languages
  • Certification: Open badges ensure standards are maintained and transparent, and move with the individual
  • Scale: There have been almost 20,000 course completions to date

Shimano Europe has been working with Neo Learning for the past 3 years. Initially the scope was limited to a certain target audience but over time the system has proven its benefits for Shimano. That’s why we are now targeting a broader user group (+25.000 users). Thankfully in the early stages Neo Learning has provided valuable structures to easily cope with this new heading. Thank you Wim and your team for being a partner in this process.

- Cas Jansen, Online Training Officer

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NEO (brand of Xylos) has many years of experience in the domain of E-learning. Neo is known for its original approach using extraordinary methods. We are passionate about education and learning through experience. Our educational experts combine knowledge and know-how to create surprising learning journeys that will submerge your students in a world centred around discovery and experience.

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