Vastera has implemented ViewCentral’s collaboration management solution (CMS) to help it manage its instructor-led and virtual training for both its customers and its internal workforce. Vastera must train its 600 employees on its software, as well as the intricacies of trade law. In addition, the company reaches more than 1,500 people externally. “Obviously every single employee who is going to have anything to do with our software, whether it’s developing it, deploying it or managing it once it’s at a customer site, needs extensive training in our software,” said Anne Marie Roderiques, senior global trade instructor for Vastera. However, she said that if employees don’t understand the trade laws behind the software, it could become a compliance issue.
Vastera accomplishes this through a blended approach, with a lot of live instruction. But getting employees into the classroom can be a problem. “There’s no company that I’ve seen in the last four years that has employees who are not already pushed past their limit in terms of workload,” said Roderiques. “Let’s face it, at the end of the day, you have to answer e-mail, you have to answer voice mail. You do not have to go to training.”
In addition, Vastera is challenged by the rapid changes in trade law around the world. With 30-day implementation periods, schedules for updating the software and training the staff and customers on the change can be tight. “There’s just not enough time to get it all done,” Roderiques said. “That sense of urgency sometimes makes for quite a challenging workload.”
With instructor-led classes taking place around the world, Vastera turned to ViewCentral to help manage training. “When we say manage, we literally mean that it manages not only the administrative setting up, but it manages the order in which something should be taught, as well as disseminates all of the training information: Where does somebody need to show up? What conference room? What location? What is the WebEx password?” said Roderiques. “All of that, it manages, which frees us up to do what a machine can’t do, and that’s teach trade law.”
Roderiques said Vastera negotiates heavily to ensure it is getting the best possible cost for its learning. In addition, internal training is not run as a cost center. “We are using the revenue we get from our external environment to completely fund our internal training,” Roderiques explained. “So while we are not a profit center—and most internal training company programs are not—we’re also not a cost center. We at least pay for ourselves.”
Roderiques said that one of the benefits of using ViewCentral is the boost it’s given to record-keeping. “It’s one thing to have it, and another to be able to find it again and get it out in a format that somebody can read,” she said. “And their reporting capabilities are robust enough that we can manage the reporting for probably in the neighborhood of 300 different companies, and the reports that are then submitted to the government.”
The system also helps avoid costly, highly visible mistakes. “We are typically training either the highest echelons of a company or the employees in a company that are, to use a cliché, where the rubber meets the road,” she explained. “These are the people that are literally moving the goods so that you have something on your store shelves. And for them to take the time to stop the movement of goods to take training, it cannot fail. It has to be foolproof because you are absolutely impacting our customers’ movement of goods.”
Measuring success is not just about testing whether or not someone knows the right answer. Trade law is very subjective, allowing for numerous interpretations. “Just because the face of the law is different, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re right or wrong,” said Roderiques. “When you evaluate individuals on their thought processes about why they came up with something in an industry or a segment of the marketplace that’s gray to begin with, you get better methods.” Learning technology helps Vastera keep track of nuanced interpretations.
Moving forward, Roderiques said the company plans to continue what it’s been doing, anticipating more trade rules and developing the specific training that must accompany them to ensure success in the global market.