- High costs, complex logistics and literacy challenges overcome
- First world technology comes to the aid of mass workforce employers
Premium independent Apple reseller, Digicape, and online training company, Fuel, have delivered a powerful training solution suited to companies that employ workforces that are spread over large geographical areas. Downstream energy company, Engen, has lauded the vibrant, scientific-based and expertly developed training solution, based on iPads.
In 2011 Engen identified a need for a retail training solution that would improve the service levels; skills and general education level of petrol pump attendants and cashiers, and open up a channel of communication with them.
But the solution would have to overcome a number of serious challenges.
Like many geographically dispersed companies that employ a large workforce, fuel companies are faced with high costs for delivering effective training.
"We have more than 17,000 petrol attendants and cashiers employed at over 1000 service stations across the country, and faced high costs and logistical challenges each time we trained people," says Nathalie Houtzammer, training content manager at Engen.
The company turned to technology to help it bridge the gap of affordability and logistics, but another challenge remained.
Engen's service station staff, the target for this training solution, vary greatly in age, socio-economic backgrounds and as a result literacy levels. The technology solution had to consider all these factors.
Long time partners, Fuel and Digicape proposed using Apple technology as the delivery platform for a training solution designed by Fuel.
"The tablet format was proposed because it allows for intuitive access to education through a touch screen interface, and is not intimidating for those who are not computer-literate," says Robin Olivier, MD of Digicape.
Apple iPads were chosen because they offer the best all-round answer to the requirement and the real-life problem of securing expensive training terminals at service stations nationwide - some in remote areas. iPads were tested against the full range of competitor tablets and chosen for their stability, zero defect, lowest failure rates, screen quality, video playback, device security, robustness and manageability. In addition, Apple provides extended warranty contracts for extra insurance.
A total of 630 internet-connected devices were placed on custom-built, securely mounted stands in a kiosk assembly and readied for the first phase of the rollout.
Following this, Fuel developed a first-of-its-kind app for iOS devices - Engen Learn - that offers work-related and life skills training, which included educating people about physical and financial health.
"Our unique methodology allows us to overcome different levels of literacy encountered in South Africa. We do this by engaging all of their senses through the use of interactive elements which include animation, and high engagement video which is proven to be the best way of encouraging learning and retention of information," says Craig Reid, CEO at Fuel.
Intensified training programme
Engen has more than 16,400 active learners. The learners have completed in excess of 243,000 modules and on average, the system trains 456 learners per day.
A programme survey reveals that 99.13% of users find the modules easy to understand. Almost all (99.92%) say the programme helped them do a better job.
"We are delighted with the overwhelming impact of the Engen Learn initiative on our service station staff," says Engen's Houtzammer.
Random customer satisfaction surveys show that Engen service stations with the Engen Learn app score on average 7% higher than those who don't have it.
"Since we have installed the Engen Learn programme we have received 100% for our last three mystery audits by Engen," says Guiseppe Lusardi of Vyfster Motors.
A better life
"What's most gratifying is that it helps our staff make better life decisions," says Ann Bennetts, customer experience manager at Engen. "By improving lives our customer service is second to none, and our brand thrives."
Again, staff experience corroborates this: "I communicate better at work and the training has helped me deal better with money," says one of the service station attendants interviewed.
This project has significance both for the companies initiating training programmes and for the individuals being trained.
For the trainees, skills and confidence are gained and it promotes the opportunity for people to progress, who might previously have been excluded from advancing their careers. "With this training solution we have put first-world technology in the hands of individuals who are held back by low levels of literacy and have achieved amazing results," says Olivier.
For businesses, it is important that the training solution is aligned with the government's upskilling strategy, which aims to combat South Africa's skills shortage by training people already in employment using the various SETA's.
"This is the first adult education initiative of its kind, and, we believe, the first corporate solution deployed amidst literacy challenges. Its success has surpassed all objectives and expectations. It has set the tone for what's possible for other employers," agrees Fuel's Craig Reid.
"We could never have imagined that we could complete 145,000 training modules. Using our old training methodology, it would've taken us 25 years to get to the same results that we have achieved within the past 12 months," concludes Ann Bennetts, customer experience manager at Engen.
On the back of this successful first-stage rollout, Engen is expanding the programme to more of its service stations across Sub Saharan Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands.
Digicape is South Africa's premium independent Apple reseller and "Your Local Apple Expert". Offering the latest range of Apple products and services and complementary accessories from leading manufacturers, Digicape's product knowledge, service solutions and training is unrivalled. Digicape are authorised resellers of Adobe software and the Mac software range from Microsoft amongst other software from third party developers. For more information and the latest product news visit www.digicape.co.za. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Fuel is a pioneer in the online training space and in cloud-based online training solutions. For over 13 years has led the market by building and supporting customised online training academies delivering training content which is customised to client requirements. Some of the biggest financial services, retail, motor and oil brands in South Africa have entrusted Fuel to deliver dynamic, interactive and effective training programmes. www.fuelonline.co.za
Kerryn-Leigh Anderson Eksteen, Zenkai Communications Contact: or +27 82 457 7236 Craig Parker, Marketing Manager - Digicape Contact: Craig Reid, CEO Fuel Contact:
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