Smith Brothers are delighted to introduce the SBS Academy. A Learning Management System (LMS) designed to aid staff members with their personal development and help to enhance their overall knowledge of the business, its systems and product range.
The SBS Academy consists of multiple training modules focusing on all areas of the business. These modules include sales, stock management, product awareness, transport, health and safety, and many more. Each training module consists of varied content such as demonstration videos, PowerPoint presentations, Word documents, and instructor led training; all to suit the individual learning preferences of each user, ensuring all staff members can take full advantage of the training on offer.
Our members of staff play a pivotal role in Smith Brothers’ continued success which is why we are making learning material more accessible to assist with their career development and ultimately help them to reach their full potential.
How was the SBS Academy developed?
Since joining Smith Brothers in September 2020, Business Process Manager Alan Mercel has worked closely with staff members across all departments to analyse existing systems and processes to implement new methods to improve ability and efficiency across the business.
Alan said: “When I joined the business the idea of a learning system had been on the businesses radar for some time. As I had first-hand experience in this type of development in the past, I was asked to investigate for a solution. First, I looked at the marketplace and adopted the program we now use for the SBS Academy. Then it was a case of setting up the foundations upon which all learning courses/materials would be built upon. So, I teamed up with experts of the key subjects within the business to decide which job roles I needed to develop materials for first. Once I picked the relevant categories, I reviewed whatever materials had existed in the past and away I went to create courses.”
The system will also help the business to monitor and manage the administration, documentation, reporting, automation and delivery of these modules. This means that the business will be able to track the learning progress of each member of staff and adapt the LMS accordingly.
In addition to the clear benefits that comes with making training modules more accessible, the SBS Academy also provides:
Flexibility – The system is cloud-based and can be accessed at any time or day on a range of compatible devices. This means staff members can take complete control and ownership of their learning.
Covid-19 safe – The system doesn’t require face-to-face or classroom interaction, ensuring that learning can be achieved safely and in a comfortable environment that adheres to our Covid-19 policy.
Better communication – New system guidelines and instructions can easily be communicated to all staff members who will have access to a plethora of supporting material in one central location.
Repeatable courses – Refresher courses can be taken at any time as and when required.
New Starters and existing staff members – Role specific categories will be available to help new starters and existing staff members undertaking new roles to gain better familiarity with their new roles within the business.
An extensive roadmap
The initial focus of the LMS was to offer complete competency training on Smith Brothers’ consolidated ERP system, however the strategy was altered at the beginning of the second national lockdown to also focus on new starters joining the business from mid-December 2020. Other modules have since been developed and separated into easily discoverable categories to help new staff members quickly integrate within the business.
The early feedback has been positive!
We are currently in the second roll-out phase, where Branch Managers have nominated three staff members each to test the academy and provide essential feedback to aid Alan with his development roadmap.
Stuart Holland, Key Account Manager (SBS Heathrow) said: “Picking up a brand-new system after 19 years of stumbling my way through another system, will of course take a while for me to feel confident in what I am doing on Intact. However, running through the various courses and picking up common applications, has started to give me a good feeling as I now know how to navigate the Intact system.”
“I particularly found the training modules for valves, malleable and Pegler Yorkshire were really helpful aids. Especially since I am a new starter at SBS, where I am finding myself having to think about the products available at Smith Brothers!”
“I found the modules on the system very helpful to get me started, but I now know I am going to need to be hands on with the system trying things out until I fully understand Intact.”
“The other good thing about the training modules you have set up, is that I can just revisit specific ones as and when I need a refresher or if I forget on how to do something.”
Waldo Fritz, Warehouse (SBS Leicester) said: “First off, I would just like to say Alan has really done a splendid job with the SBS academy. It has taught me so much in this short period of time. All the videos are super easy to understand and very well explained.”
James Billingham, Branch Manager (SBS Merseyside) said: “I have just completed the first module of Health & Safety. I believe that the SBS Academy is fantastic. If feels as though the company is certainly moving into the 21st century. I think that this is a good idea to get rolled out throughout the company. The information was straight to the point, and not confusing. The courses are varied and are not just death by PowerPoint! I will be actively encouraging my team to be partaking in these modules ad-hoc as when it suits their needs.”
Jonathan Winnard, Internal Sales (SBS Northampton) said: “The SBS Academy is helping me so much, thank you to Alan for designing the software.”
Alan Mercel (Business Process Manager) said: “As to the future – well I would like ‘new colleagues’ to get off to the best possible start, whilst hopefully reminding the more established/experienced colleagues of what can be done. The existing staff may have forgotten or never have been aware of information covered in the courses.”
“As we flex and change in the business the Academy becomes a communication vehicle to ensure everyone gets the same message at the same time.”
Some of the developments within Alan’s near-future roadmap include:
- Continuing to generate additional system training materials
- Encouraging other departments to create content for their areas
- Looking to develop a SANDBOX systems practice area away from the LIVE system
- Introducing progress reports and INFOGRAPHICS
- Recognising individual staff progress through the learning materials by using rewards
- Further developing the Academy to facilitate inductions to progress new staff members as efficiently as possible so the staff member can grow within the business at a quicker rate
The last phase in the academy’s development is scheduled for later this year where every Smith Brothers staff member will have access to the LMS and with have the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits the SBS Academy has to offer.