E-learning statistics are dramatic and compelling, which is why companies shouldn’t consider using e-learning to train their workforce, they should already be doing it! According to a series of surveys from elearning.company, here are just some of the benefits of e-learning:
• Competitive edge. Nearly 3 in 4 organizations believe e-learning helps gives them a competitive edge; it’s an opportunity to keep up with industry changes.
• $$$. Revenue generated per employee is 26 percent higher for companies that offer training using technology, including e-learning.
• Superior ROI. One dollar invested in online training can lead to $30 in productivity; more than 40 percent of companies surveyed increased revenue as a result of e-learning.
• Saves time. It typically takes 40–60 percent less employee time than learning the same material in a traditional classroom setting.
• Learn and retain more. About five times more material is learned and increases retention rates dramatically compared to face-to-face learning.
Source: elearning.company surveys, 2014-2016
Online tools are so integrated into our everyday lives, both personally and professionally, we may forget the efficiencies they bring to our lives. The tools are simply expected to work and make our lives easier.
We’re all interested in running our businesses more efficiency. As Peter Drucker states, efficiency isn’t doing anything new, it’s doing it better. Greater efficiency translates into greater productivity. The same amount of time dedicated to tending to clients’ needs will advance your business more quickly than tracking expenditures and purchasing products. Automating repetitive tasks provides greater accuracy and up-do-date record keeping.
In our technologically connected world, we expect resources and tools to be at our fingertips when and where we need them. That’s efficiency.
“With most online tools, you don’t have to be tied down to your office. Everyone has a phone, so you can pull up the online tools in the field. You can access technology wherever you are. It can also improve response time,” said Ben Downard, president, Action Pest Services, Greenville, S.C. “Everyone wants instant results. It’s important for our company to be up-to-date so we can give customers what they need, stay on top of things, and work as efficiently as we can.”
PestWeb by Univar is an example of an online tool that can be used to increase efficiency for owners, manager, and technicians in the pest control industry.
A dashboard of multiple online tools
Consolidating online tools in one location — a “dashboard” — offers greater efficiency. You can find multiple tools in one place. PestWeb offers product information, online purchasing, access to industry-required information, and technician training, as well as these time-saving functions:
- Ability to manage users and permission levels
- Access to all employee training history
- Access to purchasing data
- One-click access to invoices through the Purchase History section, to save you time
- Collective invoices in one section to help you stay organized
- Easy management of orders to help you budget better
“PestWeb is helpful when I’m looking at product information. If there’s a project and it’s after 6 p.m., I can go online to do a little research. It helps me to make a more informed decision,” said Tami Stuparich, ACE, co-owner of California American Exterminators, Boulder Creek, Calif., who also uses PestWeb to track purchases and technicians’ continuing education hours.
E-commerce continues to rapidly advance, making it easier for us to make any purchase online, no matter what device we’re using. Sellers must provide an intuitive, seamless purchasing experience, accompanied by other efficiency-creating tools, or risk the consequences of a purchaser leaving for another site to make the same purchases, with only a click or two.
“The person who does our ordering is out in the field a lot. He can use the online store at his convenience rather than having to call the order in,” said Cindy Schacht, manager/supervisor, Area Wide Exterminators, Inc., Stockton, Calif.
Bobby Perry, direction of operations, Icon Pest Prevention, McKinney, Texas, shared that PestWeb’s online store saves him time by allowing his technicians to quickly check off items from a pre-approved product list or research and order other products. “Before PestWeb, I was spending time emailing order forms to the technicians, they’d check off what they need, send it back to me, I’d consolidate the order, and then send it to Univar. Now, after an order is placed I get an email to approve it. As a [PestWeb account] manager, I can see their order and can change the product or quantity. It’s saved me about four hours every month.”
Stuparich primarily uses PestWeb for purchasing and finds it helpful in managing her budget and track purchase trends. Downard added that using the online store, “frees up time to work with customers and potential customers, rather than using prime time to place orders.”
Quick access to label information
“PestWeb is good for label training. It provides ready access to labels so you can do a quick search, rather than having to thumb through binders,” said Downard. Having a single place to find labels is “absolutely a time saver.”
“The technicians are required to have information on the products they have on their trucks,” said Debbie Scott, director of safety and education, Advanced Integrated Pest Management, Roseville, Calif. They can print labels from PestWeb to easily assemble the information. “Everybody in the office has a password. Anyone can find and send a label to a customer if they need it. It’s very user friendly.”
Use every tool available
“Two core values of our company are integrity and to be proactive in our approach. When there’s a resource like PestWeb, our technicians have access to very accurate and informative content, which makes them better trained professionals,” said Stuparich. She added that Univar has several other online tools to improve efficiency across the pest control industry. “Take advantage of what Univar offers.”
E-learning is more efficient and cost effective than traditional classroom learning, and helps retain employees. Training increases technical proficiency, particularly important as products, equipment, regulations, and certifications frequently change in the pest control industry.
“You’re either improving as a company or you are digressing. If you’re not training regularly, you’re digressing. It’s important to have training on different subjects, such as new products, application techniques, regulatory changes, and pest identification,” explained Ben Downard, president, Action Pest Services, Greenville, S.C. “There are a lot of ramifications if you’re not training technicians and keeping them up-to-date—misapplication of product, telling customers incorrect information, and legal issues.” He also believes technicians’ professionalism suffers without regular training.
ProTraining, an online platform developed by Univar, hosts more than 400 classes in four categories: technical; business and safety; supplier-provided; and, a recently added category, PCT label training. Courses are diverse, covering subjects from technical, pest-specific topics, driver training, and safety, to sales and business skills, and achieving personal productivity.
“I use ProTraining to train new hires—those unfamiliar with our industry—it’s really effective,” said Debbie Scott, director of safety and education, Advanced Integrated Pest Management, Roseville, Calif. “The courses cover the basics, such as how to read labels and how to use insecticides. There are different videos that are good for those who don’t know the business.”
“Training is number one for our company. It’s our top priority. We go over information, especially with regard to pesticide handling. We use it for continuing education, for technicians to get the credits they need, and to prep new hires for taking their test to be pesticide applicators,” said Cindy Schacht, manager/supervisor, Area Wide Exterminators, Stockton, Calif. In addition to monthly training meetings, the company also annually hosts a Univar trainer for on-site training.
According to Bobby Perry, director of operations, Icon Pest Prevention, McKinney, Texas, Icon takes training very seriously and considers it to be extremely important to the company. We will use a ProTraining course each month during product pick up or use it to develop our own training specific to the needs of our region.”
He sees the value of ProTraning for new, as well as experienced technicians. “Now, when we have a new hire, we put them through ProTraining classes along with internal training to prepare technicians for state certification.” The pest-focused courses are used as a refresher to “reintroduce” specific pests to technicians, “even if they’re very experienced.” He also uses the online training to supplement face-to-face, classroom training during monthly meetings by watching and reviewing a course as a group.
Tami Stuparich, ACE, co-owner, California American Exterminators, Boulder Creek, Calif., shared that she’s been in the pest control industry for more than 35 years and has a number of licenses and certifications. “I still find valuable information when I take one of the ProTraining online classes. I use it for continuing education. It’s easy to use if I’m a few hours short for my state licenses renewals.” She went on to say that it’s the only online training program she uses for taking California-approved continuing education courses. She’s confident the information is accurate and up-to-date.
“ProTraining provides current, detailed information and it’s well presented. It’s important to reevaluate procedures and protocols to keep current with changing industry and regulatory standards,” said Stuparich. “The quality of ProTraining is so good that when my techs or I take a class we walk away with so much useful information. I took a class on mites recently and got a lot of new information and was able to use it the next day.”
Training supports customer service, professionalism, company growth
Superior technical expertise and a high level of professionalism are key to the growth and success of every business. Training supports both.
“I believe ProTraining has helped our company grow. The more knowledge you have when you’re in the field the better. You can answer customers’ questions. When our technicians know what they’re talking about, it’s going to help grow our business,” said Schacht.
Stuparich added that “having well educated technicians provides a really high level of professionalism and customer service, which is a reflection of not only our company but of the entire industry.”
Perry equates training to increased revenue. “We gain dollars through monthly training. When my team is out there with customers, they can explain to them the specific biology of the pest that they’ve learned through internal training or a ProTraining course. Rather than telling the customer that they need $500 in ant treatment, the customer has a better understanding of what the guys are doing and that we’re not trying to nickel and dime them. It’s educating customers. It’s a higher level of customer service. We’re trained professionals.”