Blended Learning Solution Offers Training 24/7 Through a Customized LMS to Technicians Throughout North America
With Raytheon’s help in building a blended learning curriculum, organized for the first time in a customized central Learning Management System, Midas is now providing more substantial technical training to the technicians in its shops throughout North America, and is better able to identify technicians’ completion of training.
Launched in 1956, Midas is one of the world's largest providers of automotive service, including exhaust, brakes, steering, suspension, and maintenance services. There are more than 1,750 franchised and company-owned Midas locations in the United States and Canada, averaging three to four service technicians per store.
By 1999, Midas management recognized the evolving nature of the automotive repair business: Significantly improved durability of original-equipment automotive exhaust systems and increasing technological complexity of other automotive systems meant that the services performed over the lifetime of a vehicle were more likely to be maintenance services and light repair work than underbody repairs. Midas understood this shift meant that customers’ satisfaction with the company’s service offerings and their own experience was key to continued repeat business, profitability and growth. A key enabler of customer satisfaction is having well trained technicians, and Midas recognized its need for a systematic strategy for training and tracking the development of both technical and front shop (customer relations) skills.
Several obstacles stood in the way of upgrading the training, including Midas’s reliance on an Instructor-Led Training (ILT) model, which would be costly to expand, and the reluctance of some franchise managers to send their technicians for training, because of the resultant loss of productivity for the period a technician was away from the service bay.
How we helped
After assessing the capabilities of several outsourcing firms, Midas chose Raytheon because of our depth of experience in creating and delivering cost-effective automotive technical training that utilizes the latest in blended learning technologies. Midas contracted Raytheon in April 2006 to provide a Learning Management System (branded the “Midas Learning System”) and create a technical curriculum in seven areas aligned with specific automotive systems. Online assessments and the first courses were available in October 2006, and within the first 16 months, Raytheon worked with Midas to develop more than 100 hours of technical training, including 41 hours of Web-Based Training (WBT), 13 hours of Virtual Classroom Training (VCT) and over. 43 hours of Instructor Led Training (ILT).
A bank of several hundred test questions was increased more than three-fold to reflect the enhanced course content, addressing all makes and models that may be encountered in Midas shops in the U.S. and Canada. Previously developed management and soft skills training has also been added to the LMS. The LMS is now the repository of job aids and other instructional materials that can be downloaded and printed on demand by end users, significantly reducing the need to inventory and ship items. Additionally, Midas is now able to conduct placement assessments and track the progress of individual technicians as they increase their knowledge and skills.
Enhancing the availability of ILT courses, Raytheon connected Midas to a network of more than 67 community colleges to provide well-equipped classroom locations across the country.
To date, Midas franchisees have been invited to take part in the new training plan on a paid subscription basis. Participating managers report that following the training, the technicians who take standard certification tests offered by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) enjoy a higher passing rate than previously noted. Many technicians are taking advantage of the 24/7 availability of WBT, accessing the training from their homes during evening hours as well as from the shop.
Participating technicians are reporting greater satisfaction with the training they receive, and Midas now can track training completion statistics for individual technicians through the LMS.
Midas is anticipating expanding the engagement with Raytheon to address the training needs of technicians in its 700 licensed and franchised stores in 17 countries in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia/Pacific and the Middle East.
“Technical training has come a long way for Midas over the last year. We now have one place to build the skills required to increase customer service, extend the service menu, eliminate comebacks, improve customer loyalty, recruit and retain great techs and service advisors and track their progress with the Midas Learning System.”
Director of Training Midas International, Inc.