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“Everyone now wants a bite of the orange!”

The sensor specialist SICK is developing an agile training concept for a decentralized method of creating quick-access content.

The sensor specialist SICK is looking for ways of offering optimum support to employees navigating their way through the digital transformation process. A key approach is to provide a direct line to useful knowledge in the workplace via QuickAccess – revolutionizing the corporate learning culture in the process.

Intelligent sensors at SICK

Intelligent sensors are vital components in automated production and the key technology for Industry 4.0. One of the leading innovators and market players in this field is SICK AG. Its more than 50 subsidiaries and almost 9,000 employees worldwide focus on developing sensor-based solutions for both gathering data and networked communications that can be tailored to meet customers’ precise needs. 

Industry 4.0 has introduced tangible change at SICK, although the vigorous growth also presents new challenges: “The pace at which we are growing is matched by the speed of change in our processes,” explains Kristine Nass, Learning Systems & Tools Manager from the Sensor Intelligence Academy at SICK AG. “This requires us to expand upon and develop our existing training concept.”

Common knowledge 

SICK AG pools its training activities in its in-house Sensor Intelligence Academy to drive forward all kinds of topics that go into developing learning and skills, with a major focus on innovative learning technologies. “We use our learning management system (LMS) SIA online to manage and provide training events and materials and have also been using the tt knowledge force for a number of years as the core tool for creating e-learning material. To date, the e-learning material created by employees was subject to a quality check performed by our Learning Media Team before being made available via our learning management system. But we wanted to go one step further and enhance our existing service to employees by adding performance support in the form of a central point of access,” Nass explains. At the very latest, the acute need to take action became glaringly apparent while planning for an SAP rollout in early 2017. “It was clear to every - one involved that staff require optimum support for this step, which besides training also meant a central point of access for concise, clear and up-to-date learning modules stretching beyond the rollout itself,” Nass says, adding: “When we presented the tt performance suite and its context- sensitive knowledge sharing at the workplace to the departments, they were all completely bowled over – everyone wanted a bite of the ttps ‘orange’. The orange in question launches central QuickAccess from the task bar to tap straight into the relevant information.

When we presented the tt performance suite and its context-sensitive knowledge sharing at the workplace to the departments, they were all completely bowled over.



Digital transformation calls for a change in culture

The decision to install QuickAccess quickly raised further questions, however. Who would create and/or contextualize the material? And who would be responsible for continually keeping the content up to date? “If we weren’t already aware before then, that was the point when we also realized that digital transformation calls for more than innovative technology – it requires a change in culture,” Nass reveals.Based on their previous successful collaboration, SICK AG once again teamed up with tts to address these new challenges. Aided by tts, within a very short time the internal SAP teams created 200 new units using tt knowledge force. At the same time, Nass joined forces with the Learning Media Team at the Sensor Intelligence Academy to compile a style guide for in-house and external authors defining the criteria that training material at SICK must fulfill and how documentation, simulation and guides need to look.

New role for experts as document managers

The next step was to decide who should be responsible for both creating the urgently needed further SAP content for employee support and updating the existing elements. It quickly became clear that the departments unquestionably require support. “The experts in our Sensor Intelligence Academy possess the necessary teaching and technical expertise, but they don’t have the specialist knowledge. So we decided to make the respective SAP teams responsible for creating and updating the content and to provide an agile training concept and optimum support for the Academy,” Nass explains.SICK quickly devised a multi-step process as part of a training concept, defining responsibilities and the procedure for coordination, quality assurance and authorization. The new role of document manager assumes a key position in this process, with one appointed for each of the seven SAP teams. The document managers are kept up to date by the developers in the departments on any changes or news and collect and examine the feedback from users. Wherever necessary, they initiate revisions to content and have the final say in this respect. Even if SICK still has quite a long way to go, the results so far have been positive. Whereas no uniform standard existed before, all the training documents now follow the same format. The content is up to date, available via a central access point and custom-designed in the form of documentation, IT simulations and guides to meet the users’ requirements. Nass is particularly pleased that the decision to use the tt performance suite very evidently put the company on the right track. “For us, the trend is clearly heading in the direction of comprehensive performance support. Following the positive experiences in the SAP environment, other departments now also want to offer their employees ttps and a bite of its orange as a central point of access to content.”

For us, the trend is clearly heading in the direction of comprehensive performance support.



Facts & Figures

  • QuickAccess launched in SAP-related areas; high demand in other departments. 
  • Workplace-focused learning improves process reliability and efficiency.
  • Digital transformation requires both technical innovation and a change in culture.
  • Standardization and agile document management in the departments ensure content is kept up to date.