We talked to Edwin van Spronsen, De Stiho Groep’s program manager. Van Spronsen was looking for an alternative to Excel spreadsheets for his skills matrices and something he could implement himself without involving his IT department. We asked him about his experiences with AG5.
So, what did you achieve?
- implementation in 5 days – without involving IT department
- 6 Excel spreadsheets replaced by a single centralized system
- data accessible across 3 sites
- data insight 10 times faster at all levels – from senior management to team leaders
What problems were you looking to solve?
I was using Excel to keep track of all my staff’s skills and expertise, but I wasn’t finding a manageable or organized way to do this properly. What’s more, doing this in spreadsheets is incredibly labor intensive. It was always such a palaver trying to update everyone’s skills. I’ve lost count of the number of times I entered a bunch of information and then forgot to hit save. Or one wrong click and I lost some critical information.
And don’t get me started about how we used to email spreadsheets to one another! We never knew who had the latest version! And worse still, we were using an outdated intranet environment and no one ever knew where they’d saved the most recent version. Not to mention the fact that many people didn’t even have access to the intranet system.
What were you looking for in a new system?
From lean management principles, I knew about skills matrices, so I cobbled these together using Excel, but it’s pretty unwieldy for this particular purpose. I started thinking whether it would be possible to automate the process or, better still, isn’t there a company out there already providing a solution?
So, this is why I started looking for something I could implement without involving our IT department because they were already heavily overloaded with work. I may have overstepped the mark, circumventing IT like that, but I ironed things out with the IT manager later.
Was there anything that you were uncertain about before you started using AG5?
It was initially a bit nerve-wracking buying an ‘empty’ product and having to enter all our data. Would we get it to work? And what about this AG5 company? Entering into a business relationship with an unknown party!
We already had training management software, so why do things twice? There was indeed some overlap, but because we started using AG5 it prompted us to tackle and overhaul some of our legacy and/or outdated systems.
And have things gotten better since you started using AG5?
We’ve now entered all our data – all our certification, employee, and departmental information. That was a milestone! And now the system’s live and running just the way we’d hoped.
We can now see at a glance which training programs an individual employee still needs to follow. For example, whether or not an individual is currently certified to operate forklift trucks. What’s more, our trainers can retrieve work instructions while out on the shop floor.
AG5 is a great tool. It’s quick and easy to navigate. For example, you can generate management overviews in just a few mouse clicks. And just this week, I got the question I’d be hoping for from one of our team leaders, “Why can’t I use AG5 yet?”
Our operations manager thought it was amazing when I first showed it to him. He asked me immediately if I could implement AG5 at another of our sites.