Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Establish a Training Program for Your CAD Users, Part 1

You could be doing more to help your users — and yourself — with training that prevents repeated mistakes.

As I continue my current round of travels, speaking to CAD managers around the country, I’ve noticed that many CAD managers do not have a training program in place to help their users more effectively apply their CAD tools. The reasons for this omission vary, but the end result is the same: untrained users who keep making the same mistakes over and over.

In this edition of the CAD Manager’s Newsletter, I’ll begin a series that makes the case for training, provides strategies for convincing your boss to fund it, and gives you the tools to improve your training game. Here goes.

Why Bother with Training?

The conversation all starts with this question, doesn’t it? After all, if the value of training were obvious to everyone, you’d already have your training program. But this isn't a perfect world, and you know your boss will ask you, “Why should we spend money on that?”

Because you will be questioned about the value of training, it pays to prepare your arguments ahead of time. Here are a few benefits of training that most management teams understand:
  • It improves standards compliance. If you have trouble getting people to comprehend and follow standards, it is either because they don’t understand or are just plain stubborn. Training takes care of the first problem by demonstrating proper standards usage, while exposing stubborn users for what they are.
  • It can help you implement custom procedures. In order to automate redundant procedures such as plotting, symbol insertions, filing, archiving, transmittals, etc., you’ll need to create custom programs and procedures. And for users to benefit from these procedures, you’ll have to show them how to use your tools.
  • It's an essential part of overcoming software obstacles. If users have trouble performing certain software tasks, you need to intervene by explaining the problem and detailing how to work around it.
  • It saves time and money. If you train users in the correct way to use your software, it stands to reason that they won’t make as many errors and will save time. And since we all know that time is money, you can see that training will lead to savings if done properly.
At the end of the day, the only reason upper management will approve training is because it is in their interest to do so. Make it easy for them to see the benefit by focusing on improved efficiency and cost savings in your discussions.

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