Photo Finish

Challenge:

Remain competitive while training a staff of 1,700 spread across 340 shops by outsourcing e-learning design or thoroughly evaluating rapid e-learning software.
Solution:
Choose a solution that complied with a defined set of criteria, including simplicity, speed, video and audio support, screen capture and vendor support.
The impact of digital technologies has been profound in the photo processing market, so Bowie Castlebank recently faced an enormous challenge in remaining competitive and developing their workforce.
In common with most retail businesses, training also represents a challenge for Bowie Castlebank, which trades in the United Kingdom under the Klick Photopoint and Max Spielmann retail brand names.
As the largest independent photo retailer in the U.K., the company is pro-actively taking steps to be at the forefront of the digital photographic revolution, including photo CD services, instant enlargements and photo restoration.

Which E-learning Product?
Bowie Castlebank training manager Karen Hancox-Barringer and her colleagues spent seven months researching rapid e-learning options. This involved visiting exhibitions, undertaking Internet research, telephone conversations and Web demonstrations, and taking references from clients.
Following this extensive review, Bowie Castlebank chose the Atlantic Link rapid e-learning software, including its associated learning management system (LMS).
Part of the review process was for the Bowie Castlebank team to actually design their own course on each system to be able to assess the tool in practice.
“We didn’t have the luxury of months to get used to a system,” says Hancox-Barringer. “Ease of use was a key factor, so content creation could be carried out by trainers or SME’s as opposed to Web designers or computer programmers where code was involved. This was a huge factor, as was after-sales support from the suppliers.”
Another key selection criteria was the ability to to produce e-learning that felt like employees had a corporate trainer beside them, taking them through, step by step.
“We wanted our learning to be colorful, visual and fun for our learners, and we felt Atlantic Link would help us to do this,” notes Hancox-Barringer. “We wanted more than ‘read and click on the next button’ or to have a picture and a bit of text. We wanted a truly interactive but easy system for our staff, so they would embrace it and have fun while learning.”

Implementation
Course designers were given one-on-one training at whatever location was convenient to them; and IT, HR and the training teams underwent a two-day training course with Atlantic Link. Course designers, with limited training, felt that they could produce professional courses, which in turn have received excellent feedback from end-users.
The company produced four major courses in four months that would have cost an estimated $150,000 to commission externally. The courses were launched over a new company intranet. Although there were teething problems with the intranet, the uptake rate of 57 percent was excellent.
Staff have engaged positively with the e-learning, and many are taking the responsibility for their own development, often taking courses that are not mandatory. The LMS enables the training team and individual staff members to keep track of training uptake and achievement, allowing management to monitor progress and to identify and fill skills gaps.

Visible Benefits
Bowie Castlebank aims to produce 15 courses in the first year. It conservatively estimates that those would have cost more than $740,000 to commission externally. In addition, the company has been able to reorganize training delivery at an estimated savings of $445,000. The company has also saved 43 percent on recruitment costs.
But perhaps the most significant benefit has been in the turnaround of the business. Bowie Castlebank has gone from a loss of almost $20 million to a loss of $2.1 million in just two years. Furthermore, sales figures have gone from minus $5.3 million to plus $7.2 million.
“These figures alone show that our initial investment has paid for itself already, and we are still in the early stages of our launch,” says Hancox-Barringer. “We had an aim of providing high quality, fun, interactive and — above all — consistent training, in all shops at the same time. In one year, we have been able to revolutionize our training function, which is directly contributing to achieving our business objectives. It’s also helping us to identify staff who require additional coaching, plus recognizing those who are keen to develop and progress.”
Other business benefits:
>> A discernable improvement in staff retention.
>> Easier road to compliance, with a clear record of when training has been completed and who is still outstanding.
>> A more confident sales staff, as e-learning has enabled them to better understand the products.
>> High (81 percent) take-up of courses, leading to increased customer satisfaction, increased sales and lower absenteeism.
Training records are being captured effectively (almost for the first time), and a new recognition scheme allows staff nominate themselves and colleagues.

Employee Reaction
Bowie Castlebank employees are pleased with the new e-learning system, for a variety of reasons:
>> enjoyable and informative modules
>> puts employees at ease with their computers
>> courses can serve as refesher training
>> enjoyable quizzes
“E-learning is all about inspiring and motivating individuals to take responsibility for their own learning,” Hancox-Barringer concludes.

—For more information on Atlantic Link and its e-learning products, visit the Website www.atlantic-link.co.uk.

Challenge:

Remain competitive while training a staff of 1,700 spread across 340 shops by outsourcing e-learning design or thoroughly evaluating rapid e-learning software.
Solution:
Choose a solution that complied with a defined set of criteria, including simplicity, speed, video and audio support, screen capture and vendor support.
The impact of digital technologies has been profound in the photo processing market, so Bowie Castlebank recently faced an enormous challenge in remaining competitive and developing their workforce.
In common with most retail businesses, training also represents a challenge for Bowie Castlebank, which trades in the United Kingdom under the Klick Photopoint and Max Spielmann retail brand names.
As the largest independent photo retailer in the U.K., the company is pro-actively taking steps to be at the forefront of the digital photographic revolution, including photo CD services, instant enlargements and photo restoration.

Which E-learning Product?
Bowie Castlebank training manager Karen Hancox-Barringer and her colleagues spent seven months researching rapid e-learning options. This involved visiting exhibitions, undertaking Internet research, telephone conversations and Web demonstrations, and taking references from clients.
Following this extensive review, Bowie Castlebank chose the Atlantic Link rapid e-learning software, including its associated learning management system (LMS).
Part of the review process was for the Bowie Castlebank team to actually design their own course on each system to be able to assess the tool in practice.
“We didn’t have the luxury of months to get used to a system,” says Hancox-Barringer. “Ease of use was a key factor, so content creation could be carried out by trainers or SME’s as opposed to Web designers or computer programmers where code was involved. This was a huge factor, as was after-sales support from the suppliers.”
Another key selection criteria was the ability to to produce e-learning that felt like employees had a corporate trainer beside them, taking them through, step by step.
“We wanted our learning to be colorful, visual and fun for our learners, and we felt Atlantic Link would help us to do this,” notes Hancox-Barringer. “We wanted more than ‘read and click on the next button’ or to have a picture and a bit of text. We wanted a truly interactive but easy system for our staff, so they would embrace it and have fun while learning.”

Implementation
Course designers were given one-on-one training at whatever location was convenient to them; and IT, HR and the training teams underwent a two-day training course with Atlantic Link. Course designers, with limited training, felt that they could produce professional courses, which in turn have received excellent feedback from end-users.
The company produced four major courses in four months that would have cost an estimated $150,000 to commission externally. The courses were launched over a new company intranet. Although there were teething problems with the intranet, the uptake rate of 57 percent was excellent.
Staff have engaged positively with the e-learning, and many are taking the responsibility for their own development, often taking courses that are not mandatory. The LMS enables the training team and individual staff members to keep track of training uptake and achievement, allowing management to monitor progress and to identify and fill skills gaps.

Visible Benefits
Bowie Castlebank aims to produce 15 courses in the first year. It conservatively estimates that those would have cost more than $740,000 to commission externally. In addition, the company has been able to reorganize training delivery at an estimated savings of $445,000. The company has also saved 43 percent on recruitment costs.
But perhaps the most significant benefit has been in the turnaround of the business. Bowie Castlebank has gone from a loss of almost $20 million to a loss of $2.1 million in just two years. Furthermore, sales figures have gone from minus $5.3 million to plus $7.2 million.
“These figures alone show that our initial investment has paid for itself already, and we are still in the early stages of our launch,” says Hancox-Barringer. “We had an aim of providing high quality, fun, interactive and — above all — consistent training, in all shops at the same time. In one year, we have been able to revolutionize our training function, which is directly contributing to achieving our business objectives. It’s also helping us to identify staff who require additional coaching, plus recognizing those who are keen to develop and progress.”
Other business benefits:
>> A discernable improvement in staff retention.
>> Easier road to compliance, with a clear record of when training has been completed and who is still outstanding.
>> A more confident sales staff, as e-learning has enabled them to better understand the products.
>> High (81 percent) take-up of courses, leading to increased customer satisfaction, increased sales and lower absenteeism.
Training records are being captured effectively (almost for the first time), and a new recognition scheme allows staff nominate themselves and colleagues.

Employee Reaction
Bowie Castlebank employees are pleased with the new e-learning system, for a variety of reasons:
>> enjoyable and informative modules
>> puts employees at ease with their computers
>> courses can serve as refesher training
>> enjoyable quizzes
“E-learning is all about inspiring and motivating individuals to take responsibility for their own learning,” Hancox-Barringer concludes.

—For more information on Atlantic Link and its e-learning products, visit the Website www.atlantic-link.co.uk.

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