GeoMetrix Helps ABB Carry Out its Global Learning Initiative

ABB is one of the world’s leading engineering companies and is a global leader in power and automation technologies. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the company employs 150,000 people and operates in 100 countries.

Although its current incarnation began in 1988, the company’s history encompasses more than 120 years of innovation and technological leadership.

ABB’s power and automation technologies help utility and industry customers improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. Today, ABB is the largest supplier of industrial motors and drives, the largest provider of generators to the wind industry, and the largest supplier of power grids worldwide.

The company’s strategy is simple: offer more value for customers, which in turn helps them become more productive and makes them more competitive.

One way that ABB creates value for its customers is though its corporate university, which provides high quality, consistent and cost-effective learning opportunities. The vision of ABB University is to create long-term partnerships with customers and provide organizations with the right skills and knowledge to prosper.

With multiple training centers located around the world, ABB University is focused on assessing and meeting human performance issues.

“We have a for-profit training business that’s associated with the products and systems we sell,” says Rich Hensler, LMS Implementation Project Leader for ABB. “The decision to purchase a Learning Management System was prompted by a desire to improve the way that business operates.”

Back in 2002, ABB didn’t have a single system to manage its training. Different centers had different systems and not all of them were learning management systems. “ABB needed to be able to address its training needs in a systematic way. A Learning Management System seemed like a good way of achieving that.”

But while many corporate universities focus on employee learning, ABB’s focus was on facilitating its training business, and the LMS it chose had to satisfy the requirements of that business.

ABB University’s scope of services includes course delivery for product training, platform training, process/ application training and professional skills training. On-site training is conducted at a plant site, and custom training is geared towards specific equipment, personnel or industry. ABB also trains and certifies its instructors.

“The ability to schedule resources, classrooms, instructors, and equipment was a high priority. Equipment in particular is more important for us than for many other organizations. The product training we do tends to be 40-50% hands-on in a lab-type environment that is upgraded as the product evolves.”

Because ABB offers training worldwide and each country has its own needs, portal capability was a strong requirement. The mix of e-learning and ILT (instructor-led training) varies on a country-by-country basis. Localization and multi-language access were also important.

To satisfy these requirements, ABB chose the TrainingPartner LMS from GeoMetrix Data Systems Inc..

“TrainingPartner fit very closely to our needs and the way that we operate — especially from an administrative perspective,” says Hensler.

For ILT, the LMSs from GeoMetrix all include powerful, visual scheduling system that increases productivity, reduces repetition, and prevents conflicts.

“The biggest reason for choosing TrainingPartner was the strength of the tool in facilitating instructor-led training.”

ABB also provides Web-enabled delivery, offering self-directed learning and on-the-job support anywhere, anytime. This solution is cost-effective and does not require any travel. The GeoMetrix LMS lets ABB launch AICC or SCORM conformant content, author online assessments, and create personalized e-learning forums for learners in multiple languages.

ABB implemented the system progressively throughout its training centers, beginning with pilot versions before moving to full production. The LMS let ABB create any number of branded portals, each operating with different business rules, from the same database.

ABB’s Canadian training center has been using the GeoMetrix LMS in full production since January 2003. Additional country portals have been added since then, and by the beginning of 2010 there were 39 sites licensed in different countries around the world including Germany and Finland, with 70,000 total online learners and 50+ concurrent administrator users.

The US training center had been running a different LMS application before ABB began working with GeoMetrix.

“Because they were used to their former system, their demands for functionality were probably the highest,” says Hensler.

But the staff feels that it’s a very good product for them.

“TrainingPartner has tested quite well by ABB people, and overall we’ve very happy with the product.”

One ABB staff member noted, “The support is, in general, of top quality… The training I have experienced was as good as possible considering the differing levels of knowledge.”

Since implementing the LMS, ABB has made significant changes in its usage of the system. In 2014, the company was reorganizing its training centers and modifying the software to meet its latest needs. It is a complex organization, with complex needs. But GeoMetrix has worked with ABB every step of the way to meet those needs.

GeoMetrix and its products help ABB operate globally and deal with multi-national issues while controlling information using one database. And the LMS’s ease-of-use, scalability and price ensure a low cost-of-ownership for the company. ABB is committed to supporting its products and helping customers maximize those products for enhanced return on their investment. GeoMetrix will in turn help ABB get a return on its LMS investment.

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Images from Wikimedia Commons

Case History: ABB – Industrial Technology

“The biggest reason for choosing [the product] was the strength of the tool in facilitating instructor-led training… [it] fit very closely to our needs and the way that we operate — especially from an administrative perspective… overall we’ve very happy with the product.”