Shimano provides flexible product knowledge to Europe-wide independent retailer network
Shimano is a Japanese multinational manufacturing company. Among other things, they make high-quality parts for bikes, providing gears and other elements. Shimano Europe is based in the Netherlands.
Shimano has a reputation for high-quality bike parts. A critical audience for maintaining that reputation are the bike mechanics who work with their parts. The mechanics need to know about new Shimano products, how they work, how to ensure customers get the best from them. However, these mechanics aren’t Shimano employees. They work in service centres, which are independent retailers.
Shimano didn’t have a system in place to reach them. It was beyond HR’s control to regulate or provide training to this group. The fall back was to send out physical brochures and manuals. But of course, that form of product knowledge gets out of date very quickly.
They wanted a more flexible approach. They wanted to reach and support this vital audience in multiple countries and languages, without a big overhead of effort on their HR team. They also wanted to go beyond product knowledge to certification.
Neo developed an LMS that is fully tailored to Shimano’s needs. The system conveys the high quality of Shimano’s products, with a custom design and a high end graphical and learner experience.
Within the LMS, learners create a profile to specify what is relevant to them, and this generates recommended programs (e.g. by role or type of bike). Over 100 programmes and 800 courses are available in multiple European languages.
In the current solution, mechanics can be certified, ensuring that the standards of service expected by Shimano are met. Each learner earns open badges for completion of programmes. The badges stay with the individual, not with the service centre. If someone moves centres, their expertise goes with them.
Neo’s solution has moved the responsibilities from central HR teams to the country level. That removes a whole layer of administrative complexity. Shimano has full visibility of all learning and performance, and local managers can maintain and update.
Recently, Neo has added a new notification functionality to the LMS. Shimano wanted to provide its users with more support, and tease them to visit the platform more frequently.
The multilingual notifications can be set up by the customer using the existing audience logic in Totara Learn. Shimano first determined audiences, and then linked them to a custom mail notification. That way, they can notify users who haven’t logged in the last month, or send suggested courses based on preferences.
Having control at the country level removes a whole layer of administrative complexity for Shimano, and this has been very well received.
Over 160 programmes and over 250 courses are available in 13 languages, making this a comprehensive learning hub. Open Badges ensure that standards are maintained and transparent, and can move with the individual learner. More than 5,000 badges have been awarded to date, and there have been around 170,000 course completions.
The flexible and customisable notification tool allows Shimano to use targeted communication, and the overall platform is easy to use and integrates neatly into users’ daily work environments.
“Shimano Europe has been working with Neo Learning for the past 5 years. Initially the scope was limited to a certain target audience but over time the system has proven its benefits for Shimano. That’s why we are now targeting a broader user group (25,000+ users). Thankfully in the early stages Neo Learning has provided valuable structures to easily cope with this new heading. Thank you Wim and your team for being a partner in this process.”