Why PLM Deployment Can’t Succeed Without a Training Library

computer on table with plant

In a world where your users’ time matters more than ever, failing to provide quick access to relevant information could destroy your PLM deployment. Add to that the fact that, in recent times, enterprises have been forced to transform the ways in which they provide training to drive their educational programs forward at an accelerated pace. 

So how can you make this happen? By defining a digital hub to tie processes and systems together and by providing a visual representation of your company’s operating model, you can make your business more predictable and more efficient. Your business can overcome these challenges with a PLM Training Library.

Why Your PLM Deployment Needs a PLM Training Library

Making your support more predictable and scaling your training starts and ends with your PLM processes. If you don’t have effective processes mapped out in your system, everyone will just do their own thing. That means critical steps get missed and your users get bogged down by having to figure out what they should do and when.

Representing the way your company operates in a visual way and mapping business processes to system steps is essential for your people to run your business like a well-oiled machine. All of this will help keep the ship running smoothly even when things don’t go according to plan.

It’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. People don’t remember how to handle each scenario, so they escalate questions to managers or you, which slows down your entire operation and puts your clients’ final results at risk. So let’s look at why you need a Training Library and the benefits it can bring to your company’s PLM deployment.

1. Improve User Experience

With a Training Library, everything becomes more accessible and clear for your system users. This results in them understanding your system better and feeling more comfortable and knowledgeable when using it, which leads them to having a more positive attitude towards it. The better your user experience is, the more successful your PLM deployment will be.

2. Scale Support

Another benefit of creating a Training Library is that it scales support for your organization. Your users can access everything from your digital hub, find instructions and definitions, and they won’t need to send as many requests for help to the support team, which saves time and money.

3. Facilitate Onboarding

As we talked about in our last blog post, your users’ first impression will influence their acceptance or resistance to your PLM system. It’s common for dissatisfied users to negatively affect other users’ opinions of your system, so the way you onboard your users has a big impact on the company’s whole PLM deployment strategy. A Training Library will facilitate this process by presenting your processes in a visually appealing way that leads your new users step by step through the onboarding process.

4. Train Your Team

Besides onboarding materials, your digital library can host all your other documentation and materials as well. Training isn’t just a one-time problem, but rather an ongoing experience throughout the whole lifecycle. You can design in-depth sections for each of your product categories to tie together the theory and practice so all users can improve the way they use your PLM system. Your users will better understand how to work with their product data and how to make sense of the system as a whole.

5. Share Best Practices

You also have the benefit of sharing best practices with your users to optimize the way they work. This learning structure can help you maintain a work standard by providing access to information about all of your processes to everyone on the team. Each section can lay out how to complete tasks in the correct way and in the order that is most efficient.

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What You Should Include in Your PLM Training Library

Let’s dive into what you should add to your digital library to make your PLM deployment succeed!

System Modules

It’s important to break down the different modules of your PLM system and thoroughly explain the different process parts and steps. Explain in detail each function and its relevance in the day-to-day workflow of your different users. For example, Project Management, Product Portfolio, Services Bill of Materials, etc.

System Features

Your Training Library should highlight the main system features that are most useful and how to utilize them most effectively for each type of task. These could be search tools, filters, buttons, toolbar shortcuts, notifications and the internal message system, commands, editing tools, and so on.

Onboarding

As we mentioned before, your digital library is the perfect place to host all your onboarding materials. You can design a section to add these courses, videos, and assignments to train new employees and get them working faster and more efficiently. 

Take a look at our Share PLM team’s Internal Process Library to see how we onboard our new teammates, train them to use our online tools, management applications, and benefit from having a digital library.

FAQs

 A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section is a great tool to add to your digital library to avoid frequent problems or misunderstandings. If you know common issues that many users typically face, you can address these in this section to save time and avoid support requests in the future.

Glossary

A glossary with common terms, system parts, titles, acronyms, and their definitions will help all your users understand the language of your PLM system and avoid confusion while learning your processes.

Support

Of course you also want to add a section where your users can request help if they have any further questions or issues. It should be easy to ask for support and get a reply in a timely manner.

Best Practices

Guide your users on how you want them to use your PLM system by instructing the best methods and techniques to complete real-world tasks. Your Training Library can be updated in real time with the most current best practices, legal requirements, and ethical standards.

Releases

Another useful section to include is an area that informs your users about new system updates. Every X number of months there are usually new versions released with bug fixes and improvements. It’s good to advise your users of any changes they should be aware of due to these updates.

Events

If you want to keep everyone up-to-date with current events, you can add a section to let people know about upcoming classroom training, new releases, meetings, conferences, webinars, etc.

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How to Develop Your PLM Training Library in 4 Steps

1. Create a structure for your training library

The first step to developing your PLM Training Library is to determine the structure that will best suit your company’s processes and workflow. To help you design the correct framework it’s important to focus on who your learners will be. You want to tailor content to your users’ specific needs and responsibilities so that your training materials have the most impact and utility for them. The more relevant and personalized the material is to each specific audience, the more effective your training will be.

You can define your digital library’s structure by categorizing your learners in many different ways. You could segment using business functions, roles, or disciplines. Or you could devise a broader categorization and group your users into viewers, editors, and admins.

Take our client OpenBOM for example. They contacted us to create a Training Library and decided to segment their library by processes. This way they could walk their users through OpenBOM’s standard practices and how to best use their cloud-based inventory management system. Check out the video below to see how their digital library turned out:

2. Prioritize the most important content

Once you have the structure and categories of your Training Library, the next step is to decide what content is the most important and prioritize those learning goals. Think about which group of learners is the largest in your organization. If a big group of users in your PLM deployment are just starting out, then figure out what you need to get those people up to speed and start with that.

You’ll need to map out learning paths that will achieve the learning objectives that you’ve defined for your users. Make sure you write objectives that are outcome-oriented, meaningful and relevant to your audience, as well as achievable. What processes are necessary to learn to begin using your PLM system? What content do you need to include to ensure your training’s success? For example, you can start with the 5 things a new PLM user definitely needs to learn to see value. 

3. Map your existing content to the new structure

Your next move is to analyze what training materials you already have and to make an inventory of this documentation. See where your current resources fit into the learning paths you want to create and find what you can already upload to your library. Leverage these existing materials, whether they are articles, videos, manuals, Powerpoints, PDFs, etc., so that you don’t waste time creating everything from scratch.

Make sure your learning paths use different content and various learning styles to meet your users needs, and to keep them engaged throughout the training sections.

4. Plan the implementation of content creation

Lastly, once you have your Training Library’s structure and you’ve categorized your pre-existing training documentation, it should be easy to see what learning materials you are missing. In this step you will identify these holes and develop a plan to create the content you need to fill in the gaps. It’s easiest to break down this plan into manageable chunks, like weekly goals, then monthly, etc. Once your plan is prepared, you’ll be ready to create your digital library and start uploading your materials to your site.

If you’re working on your PLM deployment and could greatly benefit from a resource like this but have no time to begin a project of this size, we offer Strategy Sessions to help you get started. In this workshop we will audit your current documentation, create your library’s structure, and define your plan for you. We also can tackle the whole job for you, designing the structure, hosting the page, and completing your Training Library so that you don’t have to. Contact us today to get started!

Thanks for reading!

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