In 2009 the Liebherr Group was faced with the challenge of increasing the effectiveness of technical training for many of its 43,000 employees who are spread across the globe. Additionally, certification and learning outcomes needed to be easy to track. The mining sector presented a huge challenge for staff training because the employees work across several continents—for example, in countries such as France, Australia, Canada, Chile and Ghana. But rather than shrink from this challenge, Liebherr Mining decided this was the perfect time to introduce a new Learning Management System (LMS).
- Eliminates the need to hire internal or third-party instructors for every course by replacing selected in-classroom, instructor-led training with web-based e-learning
- Serves a diverse target group of users on multiple cultures and continents
- Reduces the need for costly and time-consuming travel to central classroom locations because web-based training can be delivered directly to computer kiosks at job sites
- Accelerates the learning process and allows the company to bring its staff, affiliates, service technicians and customer operators up to speed quickly
- Helps administrators efficiently track required certifications and avoid expensive fines
- Allows Liebherr to charge customer operators for training, if desired
Mining Leads the Way
Each year, Liebherr's mining division must conduct large amounts of technical training for its widely distributed, culturally diverse workforce. Furthermore, the learning successes and certifications achieved by employees, service technicians and customer advisors needed to be tracked. But like many companies, Liebherr only has a limited pool of trainers, so it wasn't really possible to provide face-to-face training at every location—especially as the introduction of new products makes the challenge even greater. Company leaders knew that by introducing an LMS, face-to-face classroom training could be complemented by an e-learning program.
But first, the new LMS had to meet a dual requirement: The LMS solution needed to allow the effective implementation of training while also taking the employees' cultural backgrounds into account. After an intensive evaluation process, which involved many of Liebherr's internal stakeholders, the user-centric, cloud-based talent management solution Saba Cloud was chosen to provide company-wide learning management and web-based e-learning.With Saba Cloud, Liebherr found an LMS that supported their goal of encouraging and motivating employees to achieve their best.
Before the LMS: Decisions and Diverse Target Groups
Liebherr's target group of LMS users is very diverse. Different locations, time zones, languages and cultural backgrounds needed to be considered when introducing the system. Due to this diverse target group, several questions had to be answered before the introduction of the LMS:
- How can the LMS users be contacted? Do they work in the office, from home or are they mobile across different locations?
- What languages are required? What cultural differences should be taken into account for international use?
- How does reporting take place, who has access to it and what data is recorded?
"Choosing an LMS is a large investment," explains Michelle Wagner, Head of Corporate HR and Learning Management Solutions at Liebherr. "A structured research and decision-making process that includes various interest groups is therefore essential for success. During the introduction of the LMS, we've always valued an open and constructive working atmosphere and regular communication within the project teams."
Who makes up a target group? For Liebherr, it was partners, dealers, suppliers and end customers since training affects everyone in the company. As the target groups are spread across the globe, Liebherr has adopted the "glocal" approach—as global as required, as local as possible.
The "Glocal" Approach in Action
After defining the target groups, the Liebherr Group had to make another decision before the introduction of the new LMS: What functions should the solution include? The team set goals within the framework of a requirement analysis: The various existing Learning Management Systems needed to be replaced by a single solution.
Existing online training also needed be transferred to the new LMS. Furthermore, the new system needed to be embedded into the existing IT infrastructure and connected to the HR management system. To take the cultural background of international users into account, the LMS had to be implemented in several languages. The "glocal" approach also applied here—the new LMS needed to be as global as required, but as local as possible. Finally, transparency and synergy effects needed to be used throughout the training activities of all Liebherr companies.
"For us at Liebherr, it was important to provide a 'bouquet' of functions for change and qualification management within the framework of the local rollouts. We have implemented the target definition of various stakeholders within the framework of a moderated workshop, and in doing so, we have involved project sponsors from the top management level," says Wagner.
More Than Just an IT Project
The introduction of Saba Cloud was led by Liebherr IT services, but the debut of a new LMS is more than just an IT project. An LMS is first and foremost a database-supported software that is designed to manage learners and courses and function stably in doing so. "With the introduction of our LMS, it was important to include all other departments, as well as dealers and company management, alongside our IT team. In addition to the external business partners, learning affects all the employees in the company. This is particularly true for management, as they don't just complete training courses, they also motivate employees and external partners to learn. Managers in the company are role models and are therefore particularly important during the introduction," explains Wagner.
A task force consisting of representatives from the Liebherr departments involved—IT, HR, Sales and Service—was created to choose the LMS. The task force performed a requirement analysis as well as a review of the existing systems. There was then a market analysis of the available solutions. Once possible scenarios had been defined, a recommendation was made by the task force by means of a cost-utility analysis. The data protection aspects of the recommended system then had to be checked by the IT department. The final decision was made together with Liebherr's top-level management.
Within 16 short weeks, Saba installed a completely new, future-oriented LMS at Liebherr. The Liebherr team worked with the Saba Professional Services (SPS) team on the migration, implementation and configuration of Saba Cloud since 2015. Once Saba Learning has gone live in all markets, close cooperation between Liebherr and the regional SPS team will continue, with further work on solutions for complex configuration problems and training for system administrators, instructors and content developers about new functionalities and modules.
A New L&D Future
After an initial test phase and introduction in the mining division, Saba Cloud was rolled out company-wide in 2016. The platform is now used by all 11 businesses in the Liebherr Group across eight languages.
Liebherr is moving into their new L&D future without the need to employ internal or external instructors for every course. Instead, a significant percentage of the former face-to-face courses now take place as online training. This means that expensive and time-consuming travel and administrative expenses are also reduced. Furthermore, individual learning progress and certification achievements can be easily verified. Personnel departments can efficiently track and manage these activities and create corresponding reports. Liebherr's learning and development future is indeed bright for its global, culturally diverse workforce.