Larmer Brown Case Study - Bimba


Following the acquisition of Bimba by IMI Precision Engineering in 2018, the business needed to align Bimba’s processes and best practices to those across the wider IMI Group. This included how systems-based training would be delivered to their large user base.

Bimba is a market leading manufacturer of pneumatic, hydraulic and electric motion solutions with an extensive distributor network, principally servicing the North American Industrial Automation market. The company operates from seven locations with its head office in Chicago, Illinois, USA. In February 2018, Bimba was acquired by IMI Precision Engineering to become an integral part of the IMI Group.

The Project

Bimba had deployed Oracle eBusiness Suite three years prior to the acquisition by IMI. Although the system had been rolled out across the organisation with limited classroom training, there was no learning content available to support users on an ongoing basis.

The IMI Management team identified a requirement to roll out a training programme across the Bimba user community, but it was a mammoth task. Bimba’s eBusiness Suite implementation partner had not used Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) or test scripts, which are invaluable for scoping a learning content development project.

The Solution

IMI had been a client of Lamer Brown since 2010 and had used Oracle’s User Productivity Kit (UPK) to train JD Edwards users. The IMI and Larmer Brown Teams had already developed a library of several hundred processes which they used to train and support their worldwide team of JD Edwards users. Although Bimba’s head office had purchased UPK, they had no experience of the tool.

In 2018, the decision was made to develop learning content for eBusiness Suite using UPK, with Richard Koseff, CIO at IMI in Colorado, leading the Project.

During initial scoping discussions with Larmer Brown, the concern over lack of test scripts or SoPs to support the development project was raised. The Larmer Brown Team highlighted the value of a process-driven approach to the content development project. Larmer Brown’s experience of content development projects had proved that end users recall and relate to learning content, when it is process-driven, in a consistent and logical format. In order to accelerate development and avoid re-work, Larmer Brown emphasised how important it was to map out and lock down the processes that needed to be captured before content could be developed.

Larmer Brown presented Engage Process to the Project Team as their recommended solution to capture the system processes and best practices. The tool would allow the team to interactively map and evaluate processes at a granular level and its dynamic, graphic displays would make it very easy to adapt processes for different scenarios.

Following a demonstration of Engage, Bimba purchased the tool, as well as training and support services from Larmer Brown, in order to ensure that their team could start using the tool in earnest as quickly as possible.

After completing two online tutorials over a half-day session, two Business Analysts from IMI were able to work with the Bimba Management Team to map the required eBusiness process steps using Engage, aligning them to existing IMI processes and best practices.

The Reviewer functionality in Engage proved particularly useful given the Teams involved were often working across different time zones. All feedback was analysed and, when appropriate, included.

The Team published Digital Handbooks as reference materials - a key document for the Larmer Brown Content Authors. This process documentation ensured that development of the learning content was accelerated, with less re-work, reinforcing the best practices agreed by the business. Once all the processes were mapped out in Engage, it was possible to create the SoPs. These were then used by the Larmer Brown Team to record each topic in UPK.

By using Engage, the entire project, from mapping “as-is” processes, designing “to-be” processes, creating SoPs, generating UPK content, to then training the employees took just two months - from January 14th, through to March 25th.

Services Provided:

Content Development
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Richard Koseff CIO, IMI Precision Engineering
"Our factory’s warehouse was staffed entirely with recently hired employees, all of whom were trained on the job by someone who also had received no formal training. We were asked to help the business improve several key metrics within three months. The Engage tool enabled a team of just two business analysts to map all of the processes in the warehouse, provide easy-to-use process documentation, work with Larmer Brown to create the UPK content and then re-train all of the employees within a two-month period."

The Outcome

Approximately 50 topics were created in UPK. Screenshots of the relevant Engage processes that were mapped out by the IMI Business Analysts were displayed in the UPK Concept pane for each completed topic.

The UPK learning content was rolled out to users across Bimba and IMI via the UPK Knowledge Center, a customised learning portal. The content was assigned by job role so that users only completed learning that was appropriate to them.

The UPK content included quizzes that enabled the group to verify individual user understanding of the processes and topics covered by the learning. Reports generated by UPK provided an audit trail for internal governance and continuous improvement.

The effective deployment of eBusiness Suite across the group resulted in a number of significant operational improvements which could be measured, including:

  • 98% completion of jobs reduced to just 4 hours - down from 2.5 days
  • Picking time reduced to 10 hours - down from 14 hours
  • Waiting to be returned to stock items dropped to less than 20 per day - down from 200+
  • Cycle count accuracy increased by 55% to 95% (from 30%)
Richard Koseff CIO, IMI Precision Engineering
"The resulting training material is clean and professional, easy to understand for new warehouse workers, and was produced quickly. The ability to test employees after training made it possible for the business to provide more training and/or replace employees who could not learn the processes. Over the following few months, the business improved across all key measurements, but most importantly, in our ability to provide our customers with what they ordered, on time."

The Future

The IMI Group is currently embarking on a world-wide upgrade of their JD Edwards system. Larmer Brown has provided a demonstration of Engage Process to IMI’s UK-based Project Team who have decided to invest in this powerful, dynamic and yet easy to use tool.

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