Dorel Juvenile is the world’s largest juvenile products distributor in its categories. It’s famous for products such as car seats, pushchairs, toys and other accessories. The most famous brands worldwide, especially in the Netherlands, are Maxi-Cosi (car seats) and Quinny (pushchairs).
'Care for precious life' is Dorel Juvenile's mission and they show it in everything they do – in product development, the service and their employees’ wellbeing, both internally and externally. Everything is aimed at helping parents live carefree lives. Dorel Juvenile's recognised brands are known for their high quality, safety and innovative design.
Worldwide, Dorel Juvenile employs 7,000 employees at 34 locations in more than 100 countries. In Europe, a large number of employees work with Dorel Juvenile distributors. They advise the clients in the area of children and safety.
Robbie Hendriks: "We work with a huge involvement in the lives of young children. Positively contributing to this is the most beautiful thing in the world."
Dorel Juvenile were facing fast-moving market developments, customers and distributors faced with a lot of staff movement and stores located throughout Europe. They needed to make sure they reached everyone with the same knowledge, despite language and cultural differences across the organisation. As well as offering the best possible training for external staff, Dorel Juvenile wants to challenge internal staff, the trainers.
With the Dorel Juvenile Academy, the focus is on blended learning. In Totara Learn (the underlying learning management system), learning modules are offered both online and offline. They are able to reach a large group of students, meaning trainers can focus on more in-depth and physical training, and more importantly, e-learning provides everyone (both employees and parents) with more information about pram and car seat safety.
Totara Partner The Courseware Company spoke with Robbie Hendriks, Training & Development Manager at Dorel Juvenile, parent company of Maxi Cosi & Quinny:
Robbie: "If you look at our industry, it's actually quite traditional. Future parents - and often grandparents – always go to a physical store for their first baby items. They want to see, touch and try the stroller or the car seat first. "
Throughout the ‘customer journey’ – from exploring the possibilities to the actual purchase of a car seat or stroller – it is important that future parents and grandparents are well informed. "Therefore, it is essential for our employees to have the right knowledge of our products, the (changing) legislation on safety and the use of a pushchair or car seat."
With thousands of retailers and distributors (such as Prénatal) in Europe, with an average of 2 to 10 employees per store, sharing the right knowledge is a big challenge. "In addition, we notice that shopkeepers often switch jobs. That meant that our trainers continuously focused on sharing basic knowledge with large groups of new employees. This also puts them under a lot of pressure at work, which simply means that there is no time left for specific product and sales training. "
As a result, both trainers and employees were stagnating at a basic level, with no opportunity to develop or grow further. Robbie said: "We want to change this and encourage them to further develop or specialise."
That was the moment when Dorel Juvenile thought: this can and must be different. In addition, the basic knowledge (the content) was often digitally available.
Robbie said: "If we were able to put the content online, everyone would be able to learn in their own time. At the same time, the trainers could focus more on specific product and sales training. It’s a win-win situation."
Thus, Dorel Juvenile eventually came up with blended learning. A combination of online and offline learning: sharing the basic knowledge with e-learning as well as providing physical classroom training.
“Because we still had to develop the e-learning, we hired an external advisor. Together we listed our requirements for a learning platform (LMS). During the pitch, Totara Partner The Courseware Company looked at it with a critical eye. They asked us questions too and challenged us to think further about the goal of our project to find a good solution. That’s what made us choose to work with The Courseware Company.” – Robbie Hendriks
The benefits of online training
- An enormous online reach
"Online we reach a lot more people than we can with our trainers. Potentially everyone can immediately obtain a basic certificate. That way, we are reassured that anyone working in our industry can advise parents with the right information about our products and how to deal with children's safety."
- Reduced training time
"Employees can now complete a training module in a significantly shorter time. Moreover, they can learn at their own pace and at the time most convenient for them.”
- Communication consistency
"In every European country where our products are sold, we have trainers. Cultural differences and the way in which people learn in a country affects training differently. We saw a great diversity in given training, from very pragmatic to more strategic. By offering the same content online all over the world, we ensure that everyone will continue training at the same level of knowledge."
- To measure = to know
"In addition to offering online courses, you can monitor with an LMS. We can see exactly what's happening. Who was trained or not? Where should we focus more/less? For example, we can analyse much better per customer (distributor or store) what the learning need is and how to get the right knowledge to the end user."
"We knew that an LMS and e-learning are often only used internally. But for us, offering content externally was key. At that moment we knew: we need to hire a specialist."
Together with The Courseware Company, Dorel Juvenile has prepared a three-year plan to implement the LMS, the e-learning and eventually the entire Dorel Juvenile Academy step by step. The first step in this was the choice of LMS, taking into account a number of criteria:
- The target group is large, diverse and spread across Europe.
- The reach must therefore be large enough.
- Dorel Juvenile does not know exactly who the people/employees/students are and what learning needs they have.
- A wide variety of people must be able to work with the LMS.
- The content & platform needs to be multilingual.
- The content must be offered in a flexible way, for example in separate modules, at different times etc.
Based on these criteria, Dorel Juvenile ended up choosing Totara Learn. Totara Learn is a versatile learning portal, in which e-learning can easily be combined with physical training. It supports 'social learning', can reach large groups of students and, for the size of a large project like this, remains very affordable because it’s open source.
"In short, Totara Learn met all the key criteria we had. Of course, we had to gradually adjust and shift our requirements in the long run. The dedication of The Courseware Company in this is significant. Tijs Holkenborg (Consultant at The Courseware Company) even ‘fought’ for us with Totara because a component in the system was ‘unworkable’ for us and he desperately wanted to implement it."
At the moment, Dorel Juvenile is its final implementation stage. The online content has been largely translated and is now being tested. Then the rollout of the Dorel Juvenile Academy will follow in Europe.
Robbie: "We are on the eve of the Academy's launch. We expect that after the summer of 2017 we will go live in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Switzerland. This is very exciting and I look forward to how it will manifest itself in practice."
Robbie is very pleased with the services of The Courseware Company so far:
"I know what we have set up is unique. And The Courseware Company has played a big part in this. They have delivered a product that is workable for us. They have always been looking for the maximum achievable. Throughout this process, I have learned so much about e-learning, blended learning, learning management systems and much more. In all they do, The Courseware Company really knows what knowledge sharing is!"