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Secrets to Successful PLM and QMS Training Revealed

mighty robot attack human city in sunsetMy father is afraid to learn new things. He has never used a computer — not once not ever — because he’s seen films, such as Terminator, Virtuosity and Transcendence that document the danger and terror unleashed by technology. To him, these movies aren’t entertainment — they are a frightening harbinger of things to come.

Likewise, many companies are afraid to embrace a modern all-in-one product lifecycle management, supply chain collaboration and quality management (PLM/QMS) solution to manage their product development processes, choosing instead to rely upon spreadsheets, tennis shoes, and post-it notes to keep track of rapid-fire changes to their bill of materials (BOM).

A big fear of the unknown is the fear of learning about it. Arena understands that. So not only have we made our all-in-one solution the easiest to use and implement on the market, but we’ve also made our training program intuitive and fun so you can rapidly maximize your PLM investment.

Arena Customer Success Training Manager Mary Beth Romak has over 30 years of technical experience, 18 of which have been focused on ensuring customers get the absolute best implementation and guidance for their PLM solution.

Mary Beth has a special style of consulting based upon her teaching background and volunteer work at SaddleUp!, a nonprofit that provides equine assisted activities to children and adults with a wide variety of disabilities. Likewise, she is an expert at getting PLM users up in the saddle and ready for an easy gallop across the plains.

In this two-part blog post series, Mary Beth outlines some of the best practices for making PLM training fun, easy and meaningful.

Arena: What are the keys and methodical steps to implementing and administering training?

Romak: Well there’s not one simple answer to that. There are many different types of training that can be developed as well as administered, and each one has its own methodology.

First, it’s good to know whether the training will be generic or a high level overview (how to use the tool) or specific process training (how to use the tool to do my job).

Generic tool training is usually done in a training environment that’s been configured with best practice features, simple examples, and data to support lab exercises — normally not a customer’s workspace.

Process training is developed to follow a customer’s specific processes and is generally taught in the customer’s workspace so that they are working with their own data set.

The second question I ask is who is the audience. The audience is important because tailoring the training to a specific group is most effective; for example, training Engineers is different than training Document Control Analysts.

The third question is what is the duration of the course? How long will the training be? An hour? A day? A week? This of course will determine what topics can be covered.

Fourth is what will be the delivery mechanism; instructor-led, video, web, self-paced online? It could be one or a combination of these, which can be a blended learning technique.

Arena: What are the keys to successful training?

Romak: I believe the keys to successful training are making the students feel comfortable in the learning environment so that they can assimilate in their own style whether that’s listening, reading, or practicing. Giving the students the time and attention they need to eventually become self-sufficient and confident using the software. It’s always gratifying to see that proverbial light bulb come on above a student’s head — I know then that I’ve finally hit the mark.

Arena: What are all the areas that training can cover?

Romak: As Arena Customer Success Training Manager, training could cover all of the features in Arena PLM. The instructor-led training that I deliver quarterly at our Foster City corporate office teaches a little bit about a lot of things and helps the students know where to find more information if and when they need it.

Customers often ask for me to teach them specific topics in Arena PLM; they may be new to our product, have used other PLM systems, or have used Arena PLM for a while but just need a refresher. Also, we’ll be doing more “what’s new” training webinars like we did for our last Winter 2016 release on Access Policies. These webinars are recorded and are then made available on our online help system within the Arena PLM application.

Stay tuned for part two of our interview with Mary Beth next week.