BlueScope Buildings North America is an industry leader in customized, fully-engineered steel building solutions. BlueScope’s history in North America begins with Butler Manufacturing, a pioneer in the metal building industry founded in Kansas City, MO, in 1901.
Butler was acquired by BlueScope Steel in 2004, expanding the company’s reach to a global level and growing its portfolio to include nearly unlimited options for a building’s functionality and appearance.
Today BlueScope Buildings North America and its network of brands and builders stand as the largest manufacturer of engineered building solutions on the continent. The company, headquartered in Kansas City, employs more than 3,000 people across the United States and Mexico.
For Jake Ball, Manager of Engineering Development, the challenge of coordinating training for BlueScope’s seven engineering offices across the U.S. became more complex as the systems the company uses in its work became more automated.
“We were lacking a little bit of the background technical skills that users need to develop, and we didn’t have a good way to issue that training,” Ball explained. “We had an in-house [learning management system] that we’d been using, and it wasn’t accomplishing what we wanted.”
BlueScope’s need for improved technical training became more apparent as the company took on more complicated construction projects.
“We were running into some possible quality issues, so we looked at improving our technical training,” Ball said. “The issue with that is a lot of it wasn’t necessarily developed already, so we had to develop the content. And then we needed a reliable way to deploy it and track its use.”
While BlueScope’s in-house learning management system worked for corporate compliance training, Ball and his team began researching other options when it became apparent that their current system couldn’t support the type of training and tracking capabilities the company required.
Ball first met with the Eagle Point Software’s Pinnacle Series team and learned more about their AEC e-learning platform at a conference in 2018. After taking his findings back to BlueScope and going through a vetting process, the company “decided that it was the right direction for us to go in.”
BlueScope began its implementation of Pinnacle Series in July 2019. The company started small, adding a sample group of users to the platform and building up the content library before introducing it to all production users. Among the goals of BlueScope’s original implementation plan were increasing productivity and profitability, creating a more efficient onboarding process, improving design quality, reducing mistakes, and forming a single source of truth for the company’s data and information.
According to Ball, user adoption was a concern that the team considered when rolling out Pinnacle Series, but managing expectations and understanding that change takes time helped make the adoption process go smoother.
“I always steal a quote from George Orwell; he said ‘Progress is not an illusion, but it is slow and invariably disappointing,’” Ball shared. “You just have to have realistic expectations of what that implementation looks like, and the idea that it’s not going to happen overnight.”
Pinnacle Series’ Customer Success Team helped BlueScope through its gradual adoption phase with change management assistance, a communication plan, and marketing materials to introduce the e-learning platform to employees.
“Our Customer Success Team has been great to work with; they’ve always been available to do onboarding and tutorials for new users, so that made it a lot easier,” Ball said. “All that stuff that large organizations can sometimes struggle with, they really helped us support those initiatives.”
After a three-month gradual adoption period, BlueScope rolled Pinnacle Series out to all engineering and manufacturing production users in October 2019. In early 2020, they continued their roll out to include Builder Services groups in BlueScope’s Butler Manufacturing and Varco Pruden brands.
Since introducing Pinnacle Series, BlueScope has experienced improved tracking and compliance of its training and gained a new understanding of how training content reaches employees.
Ball has watched usage of Pinnacle Series slowly and steadily trend upwards since introducing it to his team. Platform usage among the organization was also boosted due to COVID-19 and working from home– a transition that Ball said was made easier thanks to the Pinnacle Series team.
A content library that typically required a subscription to view was opened to all users in April, providing resources and guidance to employees working from home for the first time.
“That had a lot of useful training – there are a lot of complexities that people don’t plan for when they go to work from home, like setting up a daily work schedule,” Ball said. “That was very helpful to be able to just give to everybody, right when we’re all going through that.”
The company’s onboarding process was also transformed, from a two- to three-week program that required paying for employees to fly and stay at a single location to an eight-week online program that offers consistent training across offices. BlueScope now saves money on training and saves the time it took to get new managers up to speed on training employees.
“Everybody gets the same experience. It really helps with new managers that come on board who might not have experience training new people,” Ball explained. “Now, we’ve got a lot of that framework in place for them.”
Had his team not implemented Pinnacle Series, Ball speculates that they’d still be struggling to implement and manage training across the locations.
“We were really having some issues getting reliable and consistent training across locations, so this has helped us be able to do that,” Ball said. “We can make the training available on demand, it’s easy to search for and find, and people know where to go to get to it. All of those things have been very positive improvements.”