Big Ass Fans and Mindflash
About the Organization:
Based in Lexington, KY, Big Ass Fans is the preeminent designer and manufacturer of 6 ft. to 24’ diameter high volume/low speed ceiling and vertical fans developed to provide significant energy savings and improve occupant comfort year round in large commercial, industrial, agricultural, institutional and residential buildings. For the last several years, Big Ass Fans has ranked among the top 25 Best Places to Work in Kentucky, and also regularly receives both domestic and international acclaim for its commitment to innovation, engineering and efficiency.
Big Ass Fans has a rapidly growing business. They have doubled in employee size in the past 5 years and hired 100 new employees this year alone. They are also in the midst of expanding into a new 240,000-square-foot building where they project to be adding 150-200 additional employees over the coming few years.
Until 2012, all training of the company’s staff had been presented as informal, on-the-job learning, developed and facilitated primarily by subject matter experts from within the management or engineering departments. Employees typically would receive a binder of information or hear a lecture, but there was no formalized training/learning approach.
With a newly re-designed product line set to launch in 4-months, senior management realized that they needed a more thoughtful approach to training. Good training is vital in the manufacturing and sales industry, and Big Ass Fans needed a more efficient and effective solution. A Learning Manager was hired and tasked with finding a learning solution and designing and developing a new training program in time for the product launch.
With only a 4-month deadline, Big Ass Fans needed a tool to help get their program quickly off the ground. They analyzed various training solutions but concluded that most were bloated software packages with features he’d never use, or whose expense couldn’t be justified with a solid return on investment. Security was also an important factor, so open source solutions were not an option.
While researching potential solutions online, Big Ass Fans discovered Mindflash. “Mindflash was a good choice for us because we could easily utilize the PowerPoints, videos, online content, PDF and Excel files we already had” Paul Curry, Learning Manager, said.
Well ahead of the deadline, Mindflash courses for every product line within the company were created. Individual Mindflash courses also cover topics such as installation techniques, company history, corporate culture and dress code. Recently, in addition to courses for employees, Big Ass Fans has expanded its Mindflash training program to include courses for a select group of external, international distributors. At any given time, the company has roughly 200 active trainees on the Mindflash program.
According to Paul, Mindflash has “become a core component of our new employee onboarding program.”
Big Ass Fans has received very positive feedback from both training participants and from management. “Employees appreciate the flexibility of being able to take training from any computer or iPad with Internet access. And managers love that employees can fit training in around their already hectic work schedules.”
The Learning Management team at Big Ass Fans is constantly measuring outcomes and behavior. Since implementing the new Mindflash training program, managers have noted that employees are better utilizing knowledge and seem better prepared to craft tailored customer solutions. Further, managers do not have to spend nearly as much time performing basic training.
“It’s definitely the foundation of our training program” Paul says. “It’s allowed us to get courses up quickly that were definitely needed.” And due to the quickness and efficiency of Mindflash, Paul and his team are “now able to launch new programs we previously never would have had the time to create.”
“Mindflash was a good choice for us because we could easily utilize the PowerPoints, videos, online content, PDF and Excel files we already had. Employees appreciate the flexibility of being able to take training from any computer or iPad with Internet access. And managers love that employees can fit training in around their already hectic work schedules.”
Big Ass Fans