Learn some in-depth training tips from a SchoolDude user from University of Prince Edward Island on how he used mock trainings to help his team learn the new system.
Bruce Ferguson gives insight on inheriting an existing CMMS at University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) and how he focused on understanding the previous process, updated the workflow, trained the team on technology, coordinated training sessions, ensured the training's success and the difference they have witnessed.
What was it like as far as technology use when you started in your position?
UPEI was using SchoolDude. The client interface was in place and being used. All work orders were being vetted by the work order desk (now me) and printed for the foremen to issue to technicians.
Techs would record their name and hours worked on the printed form and return it to the work order desk for data entry. This was usually at the end of the day, so I would end up with a stack of paper. There was very little or no feedback to the client about what was done.
What does your current workflow look like?
Some work orders (WOs) are still being printed (I am working on changing this) and some go directly to the techs electronically (like preventive maintenance work orders).
- Foreman assigns the work order online and changes the Status.
- Foremen will now issue their own work orders directly to a tech vs. going through the work order desk.
- All techs (including summer students) have access to a workstation.
- Tech(s) enter the hours worked, the Action Taken and mark the work order "Complete". (Very few WO forms come back to me.)
- I do a quick review and mark the WO as "Closed".
: "Complete" means the physical work is done vs. "Closed" is used to identify that all information has been captured and reviewed for accuracy in addition to work completion. For additional insight, view more Work Order Status Definitions
Explain more about what you did to help train your team with the new technology?
- This has to be a hands-on activity for the student and they must be able to log in, so each person should test their username and password login before you get to class.
- Have your "shop workstations" in place so as soon as the training is completed so they can start using them.
- Spread the workstations out among various sections so there is no waiting to access a workstation.
- Use mobile tablets on the cell network for your delivery vehicle(s). For us, they were one of the first staff to bring on this type of technology.
- At each workstation, post a short “How to…” cheat sheet in a page protector.
Tip for Creating Your Own "Cheat Sheet"
: If you prefer this method vs. using a Help link in the software, do not recreate the wheel. Copy sources such as a Help Site
and modify it for your staff's comfort level. Also check out How to Create Your Own Custom Help Documentation
for tips and tricks.
Take us through each part of the training sessions. What did you do and what did you ask the team to do?
Preparation before the class:
- Limit your class to about 10-12 students.
- Book a computer lab. Do not use tablets. It has to be a hands-on experience for the student.
- Create 2 test work orders for each of the students and record their WO numbers for later reference.
- Remind the students to note their login name and password to bring with them to class.
Editor's Note: Many students will depend upon their browser's ability to save a login on their workstation, therefore causing delays during the training, so address this before it happens
During the class:
- After each of the students logs in, they should see 2 WOs in each of their queues.
- Explain the various screen functions they see and what they have to do if it is a WO issued only to him/her. Review the icons for each WO: printing, capturing Notes (for internal use only so we see them, plus how they can be used as reminders) and Email Supervisor.
- Explain hours worked for that work order. For us:
a) We focus on the total hours for the day (e.g., if 2 hours were in the morning and 3 hours were in the afternoon, simply enter 5 in the box).
b) Explain what increments you want them to use to add time.
We use .25 as increments (equalling 15 minutes), so .25, .5, .75, and 1 hr are standards to type.
c) For us, WO time includes travel to and from a job site.
- Explain that anything they type in the "Action Taken" is seen also by the client. Remind them to keep it brief, no stories. TIP: Use the example of taking your car to the garage for service – You would want to know what was replaced or serviced.
- Now have the students select one of their 2 WOs and enter their time as 1.25 to equal 1 hour and 15 minutes, note the Action Taken and click the Complete button. DONE. That’s how easy it is!
For the 2nd WO, have them click on the WO number.
*Do not go into Issue Transactions and Purchase Transactions in this session. They can be covered in sessions with staff that will use them or with the Advanced Search. Show them only the following:
- Hover over the Shortcuts tab and explain the primary links they are going to use: Messages, Journal Notes and Transactions for entering labor.
- Have them click on each shortcut: send a New Message (include how to lookup email addresses), add a Journal Note (show check box if it should be on a printed WO copy, how to use a note as a reminder) and enter labor for multiple days plus how to check the WO as complete.
- Click on a link to go back to the long WO form screen and show them the Status drop-down menu and how they can change the status of each WO (explain each status) and how it relates to your department protocols. Leave it in the "Complete" status and have them record the WO number for the next step.
- Now, have them enter the work order number for the person to their right in the Search for box at the top of the page and go the labor transactions. Show them how to enter time on a WO that is owned by another tech.
- Have the work order owner "Close" the WO and demonstrate that you can’t change transactions after the WO has been closed.
- Have them go to their home screen to see there are no open WOs in the queue.
- Now, have them go to the Search for box and enter the WO number they recorded (or from your list).
- Have them change Status to work in progress, parts on order or something else that will put it back in their open work queue and they can now add transactions again.
- At this point you can touch on "Advanced Search" but remind them to use no more than 2 (3 max) fields as the search parameters.
- Show them how the sort can be changed (newest to oldest)
Tip: Advanced Search
should be taught as a one-hour session after they have mastered the basics.
How did you make the training successful?
- Start with private sessions with selected staff and the shop foremen about 1-2 months (or more) before you have the general classroom training to work out any issues. The foreman has to be able to answer the techs’ questions.
- Start your training with one of the older members of your team who has some computer knowledge.
- Then, bring on two or three other members that can use a computer. This should be some of your more technical staff who would already be using them, i.e. HVAC (building automation), electrical and the vehicle mechanic.
- Write your training plan. Know what you are going to teach and base it on questions your pilot subjects have been asking.
- Distribute your pilot techs who have been using the system across the sessions and use them as a classroom resource.
- For those who do not have tablets, show them the mobile app after they have been using the system for about three months.
- Make sure your foremen know how to assign WOs and change the status and do searches (a separate class is a must for these people). We "Forward" to the foreman and they assign to the tech and change the Status to "Work in Progress"
What made the difference for your team?
- As the controller for SchoolDude at UPEI, I was able to play with it and discover what most of the functions did and how they interacted. I also have an IT and military instructor background, so the training was easy for me to set up. You need someone like that.
- Pick one of the older techs and train him first. Ours was a 60-year-old plumber.
- To demonstrate the use of tablets, start by issuing cheap Android mobility units to your delivery people. Ours are data only for about $10/month on the University cell plan. Put them in an impact case.
- Once I had a few techs using SchoolDude, I found that more of them wanted to find out how to use the system.
- There should be one or more subject matter experts in the department. Do not source to IT or a help desk.
- Be available to help them when they ask and go to the workstation where they can show what is happening. Have them do the corrected steps for any issues, not YOU.