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ResourcesCustomer Stories

Sakura accelerates new starter productivity with Totara Learn

As a patient, you want to know what’s going on as quickly as possible and receive an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. Sakura is committed daily to advancing cancer diagnostics for pathology professionals and patients by providing integrated solutions through best-in-class innovation, quality and customer service.

Sakura is a global leader in anatomical pathology systems and is active in more than 165 countries. Sakura has approximately 350 employees worldwide and hundreds of employees more that are working with end customers.

The Challenge

Baljé Weber, Manager Sakura Academy at Sakura:

“I started a few years ago as manager of the Academy. I was handed over the baton by my colleague. She made sure that the training process was structured. However, the process was completely classroom based. We are all over the world: Europe, America and Japan. We are responsible for training all the people within Sakura Europe and our distributors in Europe, Africa, Middle East and India. It’s a large dispersed area where we need to help people understand our tools. We therefore fly people in to instruct them to use and maintain the tools. That means a lot of flying and longer training. We can’t give the same training every week and that’s a challenge for us.”

Then Sakura wondered: How fast can you train someone? How do we make sure we don’t have to do everything in classrooms? How can we offer it blended? Can we also facilitate it through e-learning?

The Solution

For Sakura, the solution lies in blended learning. Blended learning is a combination of online and classroom learning. The increased use of online learning instead of staff flying in provides Sakura with many advantages:

  • Saving time
  • Speed
  • Reduced costs
  • Better for the environment


“We needed a system to manage blended learning. We also needed to lay down things for legislation and regulations. We wanted to make it easy to give insight into which parts you still have to do and where you stand,” according to Baljé.



Sakura first developed a vision with the first steps of facilities that are needed. With that vision, Sakura began to search for a suitable learning management system (LMS). Sakura compared various vendors, followed demos and drew up a shortlist. The shortlist was tested on various scenarios.

Baljé: “Based on the answers, pricing and flexibility of the partner, we chose The Courseware Company in combination with Totara Learn. We want to guide people remotely through mentors and we can organize that decentralized process with Totara Learn.”

The Results

With the arrival of the Totara Learn LMS, Sakura wants to shorten the familiarization process and offer it more efficiently.

Baljé: “If we hire a new technical engineer, it can take up to six months until someone is certified. With the arrival of the LMS, we want to reduce the familiarization process to one month by dealing with learning in a different way. That’s exactly why we chose Totara Learn.”

When the LMS went live, it was already filled with classroom training sessions. In addition, the library was filled with self-developed e-learning modules.


The Future

Sakura regularly adds new content. They are busy making all programs blended. They are going to link personal development plans with the LMS. Adding the ‘GoodHabtiz’ modules to the library is a step in that direction. They are also going to innovate the existing programs by making the classroom sessions blended. For example, they are going to reform the technical training courses by breaking them down into steps without the intervention of a trainer. Only after that will they participate in classroom sessions. Totara Learn offers Sakura the opportunity to manage and keep track of this.

“Ultimately, we also intend to serve the end customer (laboratories and research institutes) with the LMS. Everyone who comes to learn with us, comes to learn at “Learning at Sakura.” With Totara Learn, we can use target groups to flexibly determine which catalog someone should see. Without playing difficult tricks, we show our own employees a different catalog.”


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