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One of the biggest challenges currently facing the trades industry is labor shortage: for every one person entering the trades, five more are retiring, and there are 650,000 open jobs in the construction industry alone. With industry experience and knowledge leaving as tenured employees retire, there’s a bigger knowledge gap than ever. 

This knowledge gap affects the entire chain—from suppliers to distributors to contractors. In order to resolve challenges that contractors are facing, like a shortage of people, and challenges that distributors are facing, like preparing new hires, it has to start with application and product education. 

When suppliers are able to educate their distributors on their products, distributor associates not only gain industry knowledge, but are able to recommend the required products to contractors, making their work more efficient. In order for suppliers to be successful in educating their channel, they have to be able to measure their channel training performance. 

One of the ways that BlueVolt can help measure channel training performance is with a custom radar report. These custom reports can provide insight into the health of a company’s external training program—i.e., how engaged their distributors are—compared to other organizations who have similar goals within the BlueVolt Sharing Network. 

A radar report comparing four different suppliers. 

For example, the above report compares four different suppliers within the same vertical. At a glance, we can see that Company A (in dark blue) is outperforming the other three companies, bringing the average (grey line) up, but that the other three companies are all performing about equally well. These reports are scaled exponentially, so as your channel engagement shown in your report increases, even a slight difference between two groups becomes more significant. 

Tom Rangner, the Senior Vice President of Operations at BlueVolt, believes these reports can be helpful in benchmarking the success of a university. 

“If you're exceeding the average, let's look at the opportunities, whether that's enrollments, recurring users, net new users, or completions, to be able to strengthen that presence,” Rangner said. “And for those that aren't achieving the average, what are the things that we can do to inspire more engagement from the network?” 

This visual is also an excellent tool for suppliers to bring to their company’s leadership team, whether to showcase the areas they are doing comparatively well in or to ask for more support in the areas they are not. They are especially helpful to look at during monthly or quarterly business reviews, as the visual aspect makes it easy to see company progress and the changes in the network. 

Ultimately, making the supplier more aware of their channel training performance encourages the supplier to increase training activity, publication, and awareness. When suppliers provide more robust training, distributors are more successful in quickly developing knowledgeable associates, mitigating the issues with tenured knowledge leaving. Finally, when distributors are able to better service their customers, those customers are given the right products for their job, alleviating the issues with the lack of workforce. 

To learn more about the knowledge gap in the trades, check out this article. To create a radar report for your company, talk to your CSM today! 

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