Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes Introduces All-Digital Training ProgramsWritten by staff
Throw Away the Manual: Easy Navigation, Faster Technology Result in
Better Interactive Process and Better Learning Experience
Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes announces it has converted all of its hands-on training classes from standard, printed manuals to digital textbooks. Already in place for its series of e-learning courses, the new tablet format has replaced all traditional training manuals and has been in place through beta testing since late last year.
“Our research of digital delivery of training materials revealed that tablets, in this case, Apple iPads® were one of the most comprehensive and expandable tools available. We felt they were easy to navigate and highly interactive. They also made the learning process far more engaging and effective,” he continues.
The Sherwin-Williams Automotive Training Center in Chicago began a pilot program in 2011 to test the feasibility of replacing printed manuals with iPads for the hands-on classes it conducted. Twelve iPads were purchased and used for training in multiple classes held there, and later, in each of its five regional Training Centers around the U.S.
“Having built a financial model for conversion that demonstrated the potential for significant savings, our training department set out to expand the use of iPads to all U.S. Automotive Training Centers” says Martin R. Dewey, Sherwin-Williams Chicago Training Center Manager. “In the third quarter of 2011, we initiated the purchase of additional iPads and associated equipment; by December of 2011, each training center was completely operational using iPads in place of paper manuals.”
The results of the pilot program, based on instructor and student feedback, was overwhelmingly positive. “Over 95% of students were in favor of using an iPad versus a typical, printed training manual,” adds Michael Pellett, Sherwin-Williams Dallas Training Center Manager. The electronic format provides so many more benefits. For example, in color adjustment and blending instruction, the new tablets allow us to show actual spray-outs, highlighting their special effects. We can do this all with up to the minute, quality photos.”
“Then, by hand, the student can simply ‘pull’ open the image so it can be enlarged, or expanded, on a particular targeted panel area, and all without losing any resolution,” notes Pellett.
An added feature is updating the training materials and sending new editions out to students. “We previously had to draft, print, and provide quarterly updates and it would be difficult to send the latest versions to people. Now, we just produce a running change whenever needed and then electronically forward to recipients,” Habel points out.
This is important, because Sherwin-Williams provides more than two dozen different courses, attended by thousands of its employees and collision repair professionals, each year. Some of the more popular courses that have converted to the digital learning process include:
· Achieving Service Excellence
· AWX Performance Plus™ Application and Color Simplicity; Waterborne Painter Certification
· ATX™ Refinish System Painter Certification Training; Jobber Training
· Color Adjustment & Blending
· Color Match Simplicity
· Overall Painter Certification
· Estimating Solutions for Profit
· Express Scratch Repair; Orientation
· Final Finishing
· Improving Workshop Efficiency
· Improving Your Performance KPI’s
· Prep Technician
· Fleet CFR; Refinishing; Color Adjustment
· Manufacturing and Industrial Refinishing
· OEM Certification Training
· Prep Technician
· The Art & Science of Planet Color; Planet Color Waterborne
· The Road to Sales Success
· Vo-Tech Instructor Training
How has the transition process from ‘old school’ training manuals been? Dewey says, “On the first day of class the instructor holds a high-tech looking iPad and announces, ‘These are your manuals. Binders beware!’ But, surprisingly to the students, they are very intuitive, and those ‘technophobes’ find they are really easy to use – especially with the displayed menu and quick find function that easily scrolls through all the sections.
“You really can’t screw this thing up,” says Pellett. “We had a 72-year-old fellow in here – and he’s still doing collision repair work and came to a blending class – and he was one of the first to use them. His response was ‘this was a lot less painful than I thought it would be.’”
Another immediate digital training convert attending a Color Adjustment & Blending refresher course in was Dan Pashak, Body Shop Manager at Krapohl Ford in Mt. Pleasant, Mich. “The electronic template may initially be intimidating, but you know, as soon as you start to ‘play with it’, the intuitive development just takes over. And as our training evolves, we’ll eventually be able to access video and other learning tools right from Sherwin’s website or from actual projects that we’ll be working on in the shop.”
For more information about Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes training, visit its training section at http://www.sherwin-automotive.com/Training/TrainingCourseSchedule.aspx or call 1-800-SWULTRA (1-800-798-5872).