Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Daikin is a leading innovator and provider of advanced, high-quality air conditioning solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. With more than 90 years of experience in air conditioning and climate control solutions, Daikin knows that a perfect climate requires more than just heating and cooling.
Daikin is a leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of air conditioning and heating systems for commercial, residential and industrial applications. Daikin Europe N.V. is the European headquarters of the Japanese company, Daikin Industries Ltd. Its headquarters are located in Belgium, but through its sales networks the company also has a presence throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
In 2016 Daikin began searching for a new solution that would improve collaboration and information sharing with colleagues at different locations throughout Europe. “We used local tools and databases that weren’t accessible in other locations, and this made it difficult to work together,” explains Bram Lowagie, section manager, EMEA development control at Daikin Europe. “We were also looking for a platform at the European level for project management, and that’s why we chose Siemens Teamcenter.”
Daikin’s European Development Centre is spread over four locations in Europe. To realize the most value from their recent Teamcenter® software implementation, it was important that 150 designers in Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany and Turkey adopt the new business processes and tools. That is why Daikin Europe chose a blended learning solution that combined classroom training and tailored e-learning.
The choice of an integrated platform was made by the organization and it took some time to gain management approval. In the summer of 2017, the decision was finalized, and the first step of the implementation began in September of that year. Within Daikin there was no knowledge of or expertise in product lifecycle management (PLM) systems, so the company decided to implement four test projects with a minimal configuration of Teamcenter for a limited group of users. With this approach, a number of key users could quickly gain experience and get to know the software better.
The group included key users from the four European locations. In November and December of 2017, they received classroom training sessions with a trainer from Siemens at Daikin in Oostende, Belgium, and at the Siemens office in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. In these sessions, the users were given an explanation of the basic configurations within Teamcenter and tested the configuration for the four test projects. The key users then provided input to Siemens for developing customized e-learning lessons based on the Daikin Teamcenter configuration, resulting in tailored training materials for the 150 end-users throughout Daikin Europe.
“Initially the plan was that the key users would train the end-users, but during the implementation project Daikin saw the benefits of a tailored Siemens e-learning platform for the end-users,” says Lonneke Maas, engagement architect for learning at Siemens. “The e-learning platform provides consistent training for all end-users at each location, so it would minimize the preparation time for the Daikin key users. It is also available for new hires at any time.”
“For end-users it is important to receive customized training to accelerate adoption of the new processes,” says Maas. “Therefore we combined Siemens standard e-learning with specific tailored lessons based upon Daikin workflows. The key users had a lot of experience and knowledge about their workflows, which was very valuable to us for creating the custom e-learning. This way, we jointly developed a training course that is of real value to the organization.”
The customized e-learning includes interactive training with many simulations that demonstrate how to handle Teamcenter and how to perform specific tasks. In addition to the simulations there are activities in which users can practice what has been shown. This is another big advantage of the Siemens e-learning platform; it easily creates custom content that results in a single file that can generate multiple output formats − for example the simulation (show me), activity (guide me), multiple choice test (test me), or step-by-step guides.
Another advantage of this method of working is that the training can be set up relatively quickly. “The collaboration between Siemens and our key users was very good,” said Lowagie. “With the Siemens e-learning platform and our business knowledge, we quickly came up with excellent teaching materials. This was fundamental for success in organizing the training. If the workload had been completely in our hands, it wouldn’t have been feasible to organize the training sessions as efficiently and as quickly as possible.”
The end-users were invited to study the e-learning while they sat together in a classroom. A key user present at each session provided some introduction and answered questions if necessary, while the end-users themselves could work with the solution. “This is called blended learning, in which your teaching materials are offered both independently or web-based and classically, so that you can meet everyone’s preferences,” said Maas.
By working with e-learning, Daikin Europe will also be able to use the training for new employees or users who could not attend the training days. They are given the opportunity to follow the training courses at their own pace, at times that are suitable for them. Employees who are not yet fully familiar with Teamcenter can also follow the training courses again in order to reach the necessary level of knowledge. After training, when the trained users are working on the system, they can go back to bits and pieces of the content and use them to learn at the point of need. They are therefore not dependent on the trainer’s availability to follow these lessons, which increases their self-reliance.
E-learning also makes it possible to follow the progress of the students. The system records whether someone logs in and how the lessons progress. The system also saves users’ stopping points when they log out, so training does not have to start from the beginning. “If users come up with questions at a later stage, we can see what they did earlier during the training session,” says Lowagie. “In this way we can make certain that everyone can start with Teamcenter at the same level. Because there was no difference in the teaching materials for the different countries, all locations now can start with Teamcenter and are able to collaborate right away.”