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.
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 But of course, that form of product knowledge gets out of date very quickly.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.
Neo Learning, the Totara partner for Shimano, developed a solution with several key benefits to Shimano:
Custom look and feel:
The site needed to convey the high quality of Shimano’s products. To achieve this, Neo has built a high-end custom interface. Now, Shimano offers a state-of-the art learner experience closely related to the daily work environment of its user base.
A local, devolved, experience:
Rather than requiring central HR teams, the Totara Learn solution created by Neo Learning 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 personalised product knowledge experience:
Within the LMS, there is a range of programs, courses and badges. Learners create a profile to specify what’s relevant to them, and this generates a personalised user interface with recommended courses, badges and programmes, e.g. by role or type of bike. These use course and program management in Totara Learn to define completion rules and learning paths. The combination of individual learning tracks with the custom look and feel creates an intuitive learner experience. Programs and courses are available in more than 10 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:
After an initial start with 1,700 mechanics being supported, the system has grown exponentially. Over 10,000 mechanics in independent bike dealerships and service centres worldwide, are now using the solution. In 2017, a major update introduced visual an functional enhancements, focussing on quick and easy access to the courses, programs and badges.
- Ease of administration: Having control at the country level removes a whole layer of administrative complexity and has been very well received
- Flexibility: Scope and product changes can be easily implemented in the system
- Intuitivity: The solution is easy to use and closely relates to the user's daily work environment
- Engagement and reach: Over 160 programmes and over 250 courses are available in 13 languages
- Certification: Open badges ensure standards are maintained and transparent, and move with the individual. To date, more than 5,000 badges have been awarded
- Scale: There have been almost 170,000 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