When you have more than 150,000 employees worldwide, providing an efficient way to design and deploy standardized learning programs can be challenging. And that’s where Caterpillar found themselves while conducting an organizational study in 2017.
The study revealed how standardizing the customer experience across its dealer network, Caterpillar stood to generate billions of additional dollars. The results also showed that dealers with a mature learning and development organization generated better profits—even during unfavorable economic conditions.
To increase Caterpillar dealerships’ workforce leadership-, sales-, and service-related competencies, GDL created a competency model for each program that:
- Serves as a reference for dealers to customize programs to their business needs.
- Provides a link between competency and learning activities.
- References the different proficiency levels within the competency, so progression through the learning program can be measured and tracked.
And to achieve competency models for each program, GDL established the Career Development Process (CDP) Wheel, a 5-step process to deliver its learning products and services.
This process shifts the training focus of these employee groups from experiential and incidental to data driven. It also relies on Watershed’s learning analytics platform to streamline metrics and provide real-time data .
By architecting a robust learning ecosystem and conducting multiple training sessions, GDL has been able to deploy the Career Development Process (CDP) Wheel program to more than half of Caterpillar’s 172 Dealers, with a target of full adoption in 2020.
To ensure all dealers had strong L&D programs in place, Caterpillar’s Global Dealer Learning (GDL) team examined how L&D was being applied across the leadership, sales, and service employee groups. And that’s when GDL discovered a vast difference in how learning programs were implemented across dealers and their employees. Tackling this challenge meant GDL needed to:
- define a more efficient way to design and deploy learning programs to dealers, and
- create a simple, standard approach that everyone can follow, regardless of their size and business environments.
- adopt a flexible learning ecosystem (see the following image) and move away from relying solely on an LMS as the delivery platform for dealers.
The brain of GDL’s learning ecosystem is Watershed’s learning analytics platform, which tracks and measures learner behavior. The capability to collect and standardize data across all learning platforms in a standard format, regardless of the source, aids in the continuous improvement of the learner experience.
Because of how GDL deployed its programs, Caterpillar, Inc. achieved the following from 2017 to 2018:
- Reduced distribution cost to serve customers by 10%
- Increased adoption/usage of:
- All Learning Products 10% (approximately)
- Learning Ecosystem Tools and Technology by 50%
For GDL, achieving growth on the learning programs’ adoption while reducing the cost to achieve it were the most critical factors. By focusing on their cost structure and through strategic planning, people, infrastructure and technology, resources were optimized to achieve the desired outcomes.