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Why This Article?

I see many articles on the subject of reducing training costs. And to be honest, most focus on relatively vague and unhelpful ideas or obvious ‘linear’ ways to reduce costs; They talk around the edges.

In this post I will indicate whether each cost-saving idea is a tangible, or intangible cost. Why? We know that training costs are complex and generally not exactly linear as discussed in many of our past updates.

This provides an idea of our thinking on this. But what does it all mean?

Well, let’s delve deeper and look at some genuine ways to reduce compliance related costs.

If you prefer, you can follow the links to each section.

1. Paper and Printing Related Costs
2. Stop Using Excel for Tracking
3. Automate follow-up procedures
4. Capture sign-off electronically
5. Ensure eLearning Tools Work for You
6. Reporting – Management Information

1. Paper and Printing Related Costs

COST TYPE: TANGIBLE

When speaking with one of our Food Manufacturing client’s, they shared with us their strategy to reduce paper and printing related costs.

Here’s what they did in the course of one year.

Introduced a password on all printing machines saving £2500 ($US3,400).

The Engineer store room had 3 printers, when they only required 1, saving them £10,000 ($US13,900). In fact they reduced their printers from 24 machines down to 15 in total.

Reduced the number of sheets used for team leaders to complete tasks from 24 sheets down to 5 sheets, saving £2,500 ($US3,400).

In fact, by reducing paper usage and printing the company made a total saving of £38,597 ($US53,800) for the year.

Using passwords to monitor printer usage provides transparency around who and what is being printed.

How does a modern digital training platform help with paper? Well another customer we spoke to recently said they saw a reduction of over 2500 paper training records and associated data input and filing in under a year.

They could now free-up space as they could remove entire filing cabinets as storage is saved and backed up to a central, cloud-based system.

Example – Reduction in Printing Costs Table

 

Print Reduction Goals (1 year) Amount
Introduced PIN number on all
printers across the site.
£2,500 (US$3,400)
Reduced the number of printers in
use from 24 to 15.
£10,000 (US$13,900)
Reduced average paper usage per
employee per task. 14 sheets to 5.
£2,500 (US$3,400)
Savings on Printing £15,000 (US$20,900)

2. Stop Using Excel for Tracking

COST TYPE: TANGIBLE & INTANGIBLE

So, this has a tangible element here, as saving on paper through training records as mentioned above applies here too.

However, the real cost-saving benefits occur from a time-value and data accuracy perspective. For example, the large amount of time wasted searching through Excel Spreadsheets, inaccuracy and the inability to easily provide revision control measures.

We have the classic statement from our client, Simon Clackett of Bemis Healthcare Packaging.

‘When a company transitions from a smaller to a larger company, you can’t rely on spreadsheets anymore’.

We really love that one!

We know that companies waste approximately 7 hours per day searching through records. This has serious implications for overall productivity and it is a key factor in the trend away from spreadsheet tracking methods.


3. Automate Follow-up Procedures

COST TYPE: INTANGIBLE

The main benefit here is certainty. Knowing with a high-level of accuracy where managers and employees stand in relation to compliance.

When selecting a platform to replace Excel, you should consider one that allows for automated alerts, where Training Teams are not wasting time chasing people.

Although a key cost benefit here is time-saving and improved productivity, the long-term opportunity is gaining or retaining customers.

This is achieved through developing an integrated strategy.
For example, combining Quality, Environmental and Health & Safety to improve overall compliance rate, whilst removing Excel tracking and implementing a paperless training programme.

Here is an example of how our compliance training solutions significantly helped Bemis Healthcare Packaging improve their overall compliance rate, whilst driving down their training costs.

Paper Usage Chart


4. Capture Sign-off Electronically

COST TYPE: TANGIBLE & INTANGIBLE
Taking compliance training directly to the factory floor saves time, paper and improves worker engagement, as training is not restricted to the classroom.

Using a tablet device to provide employees with up-revised documents or SOPs significantly helps training staff to avoid ‘running in circles’, to maintain training records.

Here’s a great example of our eSign in action!


5. Ensure eLearning Tools Work for You

COST TYPE: INTANGIBLE
There’s loads of options today regarding eLearning. Most companies use a variety of tools these days to deliver training content, however it is how these tools work in the broader sense that matters most.

A great example is being able to access training certificates immediately upon completion. This ensures employees are out on the factory floor faster and with less fuss.

Food Safety Certificate

The question to ask is. Can learning materials and assessments be accessed at the touch of a button and is the data secure and stored electronically?

Intangible cost savings include, reduced storage space and old paper filing systems, time saving, superior employee engagement and satisfaction.


6. Reporting and Management Information

COST TYPE: INTANGIBLE
Training Compliance Visibility provides a significant improvement in risk, productivity and overall costs.

A central, digital reporting process offers the ability to see at anytime, who is complaint and what needs to be done, which should be attainable at anytime.

Consider when a staff member is absent on leave or off sick:
A manager can easily interrogate a central system to see who else is trained in that job, who is currently on-shift and can fill that role.

This in turn provides a high level of flexibility for managers and supervisors, where spreadsheet and paper-based methods cannot.

Risk management report

Improving reporting methods provides cost savings for both paper usage and storage, whilst saving time and improving productivity.


Conclusion

There is a fine balance between reducing training costs without compromising our overall compliance rate.

It is important to recognise the relationship between tangible and intangible cost-saving benefits.
Even in my examples, it is clear that most items are a combination of both, however this is not always obvious.

What are you thoughts? Do you agree?
Perhaps you have your own take on all of this.

Let me know in the comments. I would be delighted to hear your thoughts.

All the best.

Chris Elliott.