The Challenge:

Southern Pipe enjoyed being able to assign and track online training using the BlueVolt platform, but it was tedious to have to assign every individual employee the same individual onboarding courses, and there was no easy way to know how many of those courses a learner had gotten through. How could they simplify this process?


The Outcome:

Southern Pipe worked with BlueVolt to create Training Tracks, which allows them to assign sets of courses to groups of learners with just a few clicks. Not only that, but Training Tracks allow them to track completion of full sets of courses, and not just individuals.


The Story:

In a previous post, we described how Southern Pipe and Supply uses the BlueVolt platform to build a culture of learning at their company. Southern Pipe, a wholesale distributor based out of Meridian, MS, has been involved with BlueVolt for about two decades, and over that time, they’ve had a hand in shaping what BlueVolt looks like today.


New employees—called “family members” because of the family-oriented nature of the company—are assigned a Training Track when they start to work at Southern Pipe. According to Ron Black, the Director of Human Resources at Southern Pipe, he was one of the people who suggested the idea of a Training Track in the first place.


A Training Track is a set of courses that can be assigned to a learner or group of learners at the same time. Black described it as a list of required classes at a college.


“A good way to look at a Training Track would be like if you go to college and [choose a major], they basically give you a list of courses and say, here's what you take your first semester freshman year, here's what you take second semester [and so on],” Black explained. “That’s what our training track is—it's where you can group courses together.”


When Southern Pipe started with BlueVolt, Training Tracks weren’t an option—if you needed to assign 20 separate onboarding courses or wanted all employees of a specific group to take the same training, every course had to be assigned separately. Not only that, but all completions were tracked separately, making it difficult to tell how many onboarding courses or job-specific courses a learner had completed.


“If you've got 20 courses [in] a Training Track, then it's a few clicks to assign that Training Track… whereas if you had to go through and assign all 20 courses, it would be a lot more cumbersome, a lot more time consuming to assign 20 courses. And then you're only tracking the completion of each individual course,” Black said.


Knowing it would be easier for him and his company if courses could be grouped, assigned, and tracked at the same time, he proposed the idea to BlueVolt.


“My involvement was just in suggesting, ‘hey, I think it would be great if BlueVolt could allow you to build Training Tracks.’ And then they looked at it and said, ‘Yeah, we think you're right,’” Black explained. “And I just helped them [as] they asked me a lot of questions of how I would see it working and so forth.”


Now, Training Tracks are one of the most used features of the BlueVolt platform. 


“If we have new warehouse family members starting with absolutely no experience, they're assigned to a Training Track. That includes different product knowledge courses, different safety and OSHA regulation courses, courses about the history of the company, courses about their benefits, and all that bundled into one Training Track—all we have to do is assign this Training Track, and then the BlueVolt software tracks their completion,” Black explained. 


Not only that, but the software monitors how far a learner has moved through a track, keeping learners updated if they’re falling behind and supervisors appraised of how much a learner has completed. Use Training Tracks for professional development, too, to identify and nurture leaders. 


The Conclusion:

Black noticed a way that the BlueVolt software could be even more beneficial for his company, and he came to BlueVolt with a suggestion—one that hundreds of customers and thousands of learners continue to benefit today. Now, instead of assigning individual courses to every single learner, admin are able to assign groups of learners to take pre-made sets of courses, simplifying things for everyone.

"Really the point [is] that BlueVolt listens. If you have ideas, suggestions about how to make things better, they will listen to you," Black said. "That's not to say they will make every change that every customer suggests; that's impossible. But they absolutely listen... they will listen, and they will consider what you bring to the table."

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