Founded in 1885, Johnson Controls (JCI) is a global diversified technology and industrial manufacturer with customers in over 150 countries and over 139,000 employees. The company specializes in systems designed to optimize efficiencies for commercial properties.
Training engineers on these highly technical systems are a huge component of JCI’s business. The Johnson Controls Training Institute runs nearly 550 classes per year through a network of 11 training institutes across the United States. ReadyTech has become an integral piece of that equation. In 2011, JCI partnered with ReadyTech to introduce online training to its students, complete with an industry-first training environment that enabled JCI’s flagship HVAC control system Metasys® to be delivered online. Before ReadyTech, virtual training labs were only available at physical classrooms.
Prior to their partnership with ReadyTech, Johnson Controls did not offer any virtual training. They conducted all of their classes at brick-and-mortar JCI Training Institutes around the United States. To attend the 3-day Metasys Graphics Generation training course, for example, students traveled from around the world to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But with hundreds of classes per year and students traveling from different countries, the division’s travel costs were astounding.
Even for North American students who were closer to the regional training institutes, the travel costs were still expensive at an average cost of $1,200 per student for airline ticket, room, rental car and per diem allowance.
The costs weren’t strictly associated with travel costs. Traveling to training institutes also resulted in lower employee productivity and lost revenue. Allen Harlow, an Instructor for JCI explains: “The cost of travel is not the big deal – it’s the cost of being away from work and being on the road. For example, when we do a Tuesday to Thursday class, students also travel on Monday and Friday. So with that, they’ve lost an entire week. That’s a 5-day hit on labor.”
With the combined effects of lost revenue days and high SG&A costs, JCI was open to training alternatives. They looked for a virtual training software vendor, but Metasys presented a unique technical problem because it involved an HVAC control system that needed to be integrated with the online training environment. When JCI asked other vendors about this requirement, Tom Dickinson, Manager of JCI’s Technical Education Team, recalled that most vendors were mystified: “When we talked to vendors, we mentioned that we wanted to bring our equipment to their data center so we can setup a real-life Metasys system. When they heard this, they asked us, ‘Johnson Controls wants us to do what?’”
When Johnson Controls was approached by ReadyTech in 2010, they were struggling to find a training alternative that would lower their training costs, improve employee productivity, and accommodate the unique technical requirements presented by Metasys. Unlike previous vendors, ReadyTech worked with Johnson Controls over 3-4 months to build a training environment that connected to their HVAC control systems:
A game-changing benefit with ReadyTech is that we actually have Metasys systems integrated and running at the ReadyTech data center. We can simulate a real-life, hands-on system from anywhere.Tom Dickinson, Manager of Technical Education Team
With technical requirements satisfied, Johnson Controls evaluated whether ReadyTech’s training delivery solutions also reduced training costs and improved employee productivity. Using their 3-day Metasys Graphics Generation in-person training course as a baseline, the team found that using ReadyTech resulted in an 83% reduction in training costs and improved student satisfaction.
With ReadyTech in the mix, Johnson Controls is saving about $1,000 for every student, an 83% reduction in training costs. And we’re also increasing revenue days because instead of traveling, the student can work on Monday and Friday. So technically, we save about $3,600 per student putting them through a ReadyTech class. Tom Dickinson, Manager of Technical Education Team
Not only has Johnson Controls reduced training costs, they’ve improved employee productivity 40% and experienced customer satisfaction levels well above 85%. Future plans include dramatically increasing their online training offerings, leveraging ReadyTech’s infrastructure to offer training to remote employees, and accessing a larger student market. As Allen Harlow explains, “ReadyTech is a vehicle for us to get training out to more people … we have huge requirements from technicians around the world that need this training … and ReadyTech is another way to reach-out to those employees and customers.”
With ReadyTech’s Training Delivery Solutions, Johnson Controls’ instructors, employees, students and partners are experiencing several benefits: