A leading high-tech manufacturer, with operational headquarters in Singapore, has over 200 first, second and third suppliers in the Asia-Pacific region. A number of years ago, the manufacturer had established a face-to-face workshop and certification program for its suppliers. The workshop covered quality improvement processes, labor practices, safety standards, and supply chain coordination.
While the face-to-face workshop and certification program was very impactful, it had significant limitations. The four-day program had limited reach and was very costly to implement. As more suppliers came on board from countries such as China and Thailand, the requirement for a multi-language solution became more pronounced. And, as the supplier base and the number of staff among the suppliers who needed training and certification grew, it became clear that the program needed to be reworked.
Working with Knowledge Platform, the manufacturer devised and implemented a learning network that provided a scalable, dynamic and interactive solution. The online component of the network had two major dimensions: (1) an online learning and certification program; and (2) an online learning community.
Through the online learning and certification program, staff from the suppliers could take courses and assessments, which were segmented on the basis of the functional role of the learner and were made available in three languages.
Selected staff members, duly qualified and certified through the online learning and certification program, would attend a 1-2 day workshop held by the manufacturer on a periodic basis.
Through the online learning community, staff from the suppliers could access content and maintain a continuous dialogue with experts from across the network.
Knowledge Platform helped define and execute the objectives, roles and processes relating to the online community, design and distribute courseware and content, and manage the entire system on an outsourced basis. Not only were costs of the overall program dramatically reduced, the manufacturer was able to shift online enrollment costs to its suppliers.
In addition to streamlining and scaling the program, the online solution provided previously unrealized benefits. New courses, content and announcements could be pushed out very quickly throughout the entire network. And, because staff from different suppliers could interact with each other in an online environment, it became possible to share insights and best practices across the network.
In today’s rapidly evolving business environment, a company’s core capability includes its capacity to build, maintain and amplify business networks, whether focused on marketing and distribution, or supply chain, or innovation. Online learning networks and communities of practice are here to stay. And grow.