With 70 businesses and 43 factories in Europe, the USA, Latin America and Asia, the challenge facing BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH is one of integration. The ability to successfully maintain a leading position on world markets is largely dependent on targeted HR development and in particular on the opportunities offered to staff and managers to acquire new knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. BSH therefore decided to set up a future-focused learning environment for all employees of the Group.
Learning solutions put to the test
In a preliminary project, the e-learning systems of a number of different providers were put to the test. BSH commissioned business consultants Kienbaum to help determine the company’s specialist requirements. The interfaces with the ERP applications, and in particular those with the personnel databases, proved to be comparative weak spots. With the exception of the SAP solution, the interfaces were very complex. When the Group decided on SAP Learning Solution in 2002, an initial pilot application was started with three flagship projects from the company’s own training institute, the BSH Academy, and the customer service and information technology sectors. BSH gave the final go-ahead for an e2E Learning project in June 2003 and at the same time detailed the various project targets.
The new learning environment is integrated in the existing SAP HR system landscape of BSH. This integration into mySAP Human Resources (mySAP HR) has a number of benefits. Up-to-the-minute availability of employee master data and the organizational management system, which is already in operation, produce synergies. In an initial project step, the BSH Academy communicated selected key course topics using a blended learning format, i.e. a combination of online learning and traditional seminar attendance. The courses included product information and service topics, information for new managers and IT training. Field tests examined the suitability and usability of the application and the learning media on offer. The results of the tests yielded information useful for defining and shaping a successful training program. The introductory phase also helped prepare the employees of the BSH Academy for their changed tasks and roles within the new learning environment.
The new learning environment at BSH supports organizational structures in order to develop and offer target-group-oriented, adaptable courses. SAP Learning Solution employs program managers with the role of tutors or mentors who draw up the programs and guide the participants through the course. This provides a degree of creative freedom – in terms of both method and content – to match the programs to the precise requirements of the target groups. The solution also includes processes that allow online participants to manage their own learning. Components like an author environment support the creative process for developing programs.
The learning environment helps throughout the whole process. To begin with, learning unit requirements are determined and a concept drawn up. This is followed by the structuring and production of the learning program (content), before finally being offered and made available to staff. The BSH program managers manage the processes, from drawing up the requirements and the concept to content production and publishing. In the drawing up and production phase, help is provided by course developers with experience of setting up network-based courses (WBT). Course managers manage the relationship with the course participants. Their remits include administration, support and implementing the programs.
Roll-out of the learning platform
The SAP Learning Solution and the SAP Enterprise Portal went live in May 2004 and the global roll-out of the learning platform in the BSH Group is now forging ahead. Currently, the main focus is on training programs for acquiring IT knowledge on New Office (Microsoft Tools) topics and on the complete portfolio of the BSH Academy for 5,000 of the approx. 14,000 employees in Germany. As a follow-up stage, method training for quality management is planned, with the emphasis on, for example, Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA). Language training is another priority. Programs prepare students for assuming management responsibilities e.g., How do I structure my first 100 days as a manager? E-learning programs on the subject of products and product innovations for target groups in the sales and service sectors are planned to be available worldwide by 2006.
The enterprise-wide learning platform is a clear source of motivation for staff. Working and learning are drawing closer together. Imparting knowledge and skills can be done on the job, near the job and indeed from anywhere. On the “My learning portal” page, employees can find a list of all the training activities in which they are currently taking part or in which they have booked to take part. All completed training courses are recorded in their learning account. The BSH does not view learning processes in isolation, but rather as elements with equal status alongside information and communication processes within a web-supported portal solution. This includes not only knowledge management in the sense of knowledge exchange and mutual problem solving but also active participation in learning units.
The learning culture is growing at BSH. Interactive e-learning technologies geared to participating students are being steadily expanded using collaborative technologies which, like the working processes, involve group work. The goal is to provide comprehensive, targeted HR development and training in order to boost the Group’s competitiveness. BSH is committed to autonomy. One of its guiding principles is: A global Group operating in complex and dynamic markets requires its employees to manage their own learning and have the skills to learn on their own. There is no magic formula for structuring and organizing courses. As experience has taught us, the success of learning and training programs varies from company to company. Every company has its own “learning curve”, an opinion shared by the training managers at BSH.