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Featured Case Study

Picture of three people working togetherManaging the Comprehensive Outsource of Auto Retailer Training in Europe

Client

A major automotive manufacturer with an extensive retail network throughout Europe, with more than 60,000 personnel working in 20+ countries and in 20+ languages

Business need

In 1994, before outsourcing its retailer sales, aftersales and management training to RPS, the client was confronted with increasingly complex products that were being launched more frequently. Training to support these products was quickly becoming a critical success factor for the client, but management of the training was approached tactically rather than strategically. The curriculum was segmented on a country by country basis, with very little, if any, integration of supplier resources or curricula. Training materials were often not adapted to the culture or language of the country where they were used, substantially decreasing their use or effectiveness. The client’s dealers were dissatisfied with quality and effectiveness of the training.

When asked to review the client’s training, RPS discovered significant opportunities for improvement. Centralization of training could provide tighter training management control to increase training effectiveness while reducing its cost. Substantial cost savings could also be realized from improved training vendor management. Overall, product knowledge and service skills could be improved at the dealership level throughout Europe, contributing to both increased sales and end-user satisfaction.

How we helped

In 1995, RPS became the client’s strategic partner responsible for coordinating retail training throughout Europe. In addition to establishing a centralized training management infrastructure and training support center, RPS also assumed management responsibility for the customer’s corporate and regional training centers, absorbing the client’s managers and instructors into the RPS organization. RPS put an integrated vendor management program in place that took advantage of the client’s size and buying power, and reduced the number of training vendors from 180 to 60.

In addition, RPS developed all new training programs that incorporated best-in-class training materials, media and tracking procedures. All training products were translated and culturally adapted by country to ensure their effectiveness. RPS also deployed new training delivery technologies that substantially increased training availability at the dealership enabling employees to learn at their own pace and in off-hours. RPS also implemented, and continues to maintain, one of the largest and most complex learning management systems in the world.

In 2004, RPS launched a subcontractor initiative to help drive greater value for the client. The target was to reduce subcontractor costs by 20 percent within six months across 25 European markets. The plan identified targets for each country, and it created a new in-sourcing model for RPS. During the initiative, RPS processed more than 6,600 subcontractor quotes from across Europe. The initiative resulted in a pool of 76 preferred suppliers and 88 extended suppliers. Costs were reduced by 27 percent.

In 2004, RPS also established a shared services center in Barcelona to help administer the client’s pan-European training and to generate demand for the training through program marketing initiatives conducted on the client’s behalf.

Business results

As a result of RPS’s solution, the centralization of training provided tighter training management control, thus increasing training effectiveness while reducing its cost. Substantial cost savings were also realized from improved training vendor management. Overall, product knowledge and service skills were increased at the point of use throughout Europe, contributing to both increased sales and end-user satisfaction.

The fact that RPS has a worldwide network of learning professionals means that new techniques and practices created in one area can quickly be used elsewhere to drive value throughout the organization. With the help of RPS the client can now focus on its main business objectives. After RPS had implemented the initial improvement measures, we were asked to design similar solutions for other geographic areas and business units of this client.

In 2004, this solution was recognized with the International German Training Award by Berufsverband der Verkaufsförderer und Trainer e.V, a German association of sales promoter and trainers.

The client has also recently extended its original ten-year contract with RPS for three more years.