As a growing global organization supporting well over 3,000,000 independent distributors, Amway is continuously evaluating opportunities to streamline its supply chain and simplify the ordering process for its partners. With manufacturing and distribution independently operating in many countries, Amway selected and began implementing a global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution, Oracle, that can be localized to the operational needs of its respective regions. To support this staged implementation, a team of 4 internal employees and 3 independent contractors was formed to develop training for impacted job roles within the company.
Amway began globally implementing Oracle on a region by region basis. Due to the customization needs per region, each deployment required individualized training and support. Initially, this project leveraged an internal team supported by 3 hourly external contractors to create course materials and deliver the training. However, the Amway team ran into a variety of challenges revolving around technology, regional barriers, and communication that added to the complexity of the training implementation:
- Each region had varying levels of technical proficiency—some areas were transitioning from paper and pencil methods to using computers for the first time. Many employees in these areas were more comfortable with face-to-face instructor-led training over a web-based approach.
- Approaches to business varied depending on regional landscapes. This required the Amway team to approach business practices in different ways for each individual implementation.
- Part of the training team was made up of hourly paid independent contractors, in and out working on the project and requiring significant oversight by Amway to ensure consistency in material development and adherence to schedules. This led to further inconsistencies that, coupled with technical and regional barriers, ultimately impacted the efficiency and quality of the training implementations.
With a multitude of challenges to confront at once and concurrent training implementation dates for Oracle quickly approaching, Amway realized they needed to move toward a more centralized project management and resource approach to better support a well-executed dual training deployment.
Amway turned to SDI for assistance in formulating a new strategy to quickly improve training processes, streamline operations, and increase rate of implementation. SDI’s expertise in identifying methods to improve training system performance, coupled with our in-house talent in developing custom training solutions that can support individual regions in large-scale system implementations, fit Amway’s needs perfectly. Furthermore, because of our extensive internal resources, we were easily able to work with Amway based on whatever they needed, whenever they needed it—whether that meant taking advantage of our tech developers, designers, or learning experts.
As we got started, SDI’s team faced a dual deployment of Oracle in two months’ time and in two very different regions. The simultaneous execution required a high level of organization and centralized project management to ensure sufficient training of end-users within the designated timeframe. After teaming up with Amway, SDI first took over management of the training system as a whole, establishing one point of contact for Amway to interface with and maintain overall consistency in approach and outputs. This meant swiftly researching, localizing, and creating two versions of each training course for the two regions. SDI’s global training team quickly learned Amway’s implementation methods and training materials.
The team enhanced the look and feel of the training and improved the courses themselves in terms of instructional design. We created 50-80 training courses per region, based on the number of translations needed per region and the regional business landscape. India, for example, had a high volume of tax laws and requirements, necessitating a greater focus on the development of finance forms. While the forms still bore similarities to other regions such as China, the finance materials developed for China were not as extensive and were populated with different fields. The created content better facilitated training implementation and included: job aides for those undergoing training, instructor and student guides, simulation videos, online courses, and online request tools for LMS modifications. Furthermore, the global training team maintained a training “sandbox” environment with mock data for practice before transitioning to the live production environment. They also managed and maintained ATLAS Now, an online resource for Oracle users post-implementation.
As the two-month mark arrived, our team traveled to two locations—one in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region and one in the Americas region—to disseminate the refined training materials, facilitate execution of training for end-users, provide on-site support, and educate the regional trainers on facilitation strategies. In addition to this initial dual-deployment, the global training team has supported and adapted to the dynamics of different business practices for successful implementation in other locations situated in the Europe/India/Asia (EIA) region, Greater China region (GCR), as well as in the Americas region.
After the initial dual deployment of Oracle training, the team also analyzed participant evaluation data related to instructor performance, the classroom experience, and the materials and methods used to present the learning content. Gathering and summarizing this data helped the teams to better understand training implementation successes and areas for improvement prior to the next implementation. This extensive documentation also allowed us to avoid issues from this first implementation and move forward to perform more effectively and efficiently in other regions.
In addition to successfully developing materials for each training implementation, facilitating content, coaching regional trainers, and analyzing data for future enhancements, SDI clearly defined the roles and responsibilities of the training team as a whole, as well as for each individual team member. Due to this, Amway was able to decrease the number of people working on the Oracle training implementation from seven to four. SDI’s team works on-site at Amway two days per week to meet in-person with other project team members and build relationships with local Amway contacts. Given hard deadlines that don’t budge, status meetings take place one to two times per week, along with one global training meeting to discuss issues, team needs, and confirm that everything is running according to schedule. Having one point of contact to oversee the training team has greatly improved the accuracy and efficiency of process, schedule, and deliverables.
Since SDI began partnering with Amway on this initiative, we have uncovered opportunities to make the training implementation of Oracle more effective and efficient, increasing project throughput while decreasing costs by roughly $300,000. Because SDI holds all of its resources in-house, consistency has greatly increased, and a common approach to research, design, and the development of materials has been followed. This level of consistency, combined with ~ 80 newly developed courses per region and other materials such as instructor guides and the training “sandbox,” leads to much smoother training implementations. The global training team has faced challenges head on and met Amway’s fast-paced “go live” dates with success across 6 continents. SDI has streamlined the entire implementation of Oracle, improving project management, eliminating the need for external contractors, and creating quality, impactful training materials. Throughout this project, SDI has had the “creative liberty to make much-needed process improvements,” as described by Michelle Hoxworth, the Project Manager and co-leader of the global training team. Overall, this brings a level of consistency, efficiency, and clarity to the project that was previously absent, allowing Amway to focus more time and energy on other project improvements.