The Hidden Costs of Tracking Training with Spreadsheets for Manufacturing

person using spreadsheets to track training, demonstrating the complexity of spreadsheets vs tracking training with LMS analytics

Companies in the manufacturing space know all too well the importance of well-documented procedures. After all, their success often lies in the efficiencies gained by executing a well-planned process. Learning leaders in manufacturing often view organizational learning and development with the same criteria. To meet their goals for productivity, both existing and new employee training must be repeatable and efficient. Maintaining a competitive edge in manufacturing requires not only mastering a production process, but also addressing crucial challenges such as budget constraints and the need for efficient employee training. While many organizations have already embraced Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and LMS analytics, a surprising reliance on spreadsheets for tracking persists.

A report on the state of training in manufacturing revealed that although 75% of survey respondents had already implemented an LMS, over 50% still rely on spreadsheets to track training.

For companies already invested in a Learning Management System, the persistence of spreadsheet use raises intriguing questions.

What aspect of record-keeping does your LMS lack?
What data are you analyzing outside of the LMS?
How many of these actions could be automated within the LMS?
How does the use of spreadsheets impact the ability of management to access real-time insights and analytics on employee training progress and compliance?

Enterprises embracing LMS platforms often do so with the expectation of streamlined processes, enhanced collaboration, and data accuracy. However, the reality reveals a conundrum – while organizations embrace eLearning technology for its intended purpose, they still heavily rely on spreadsheets alongside an LMS. The allure of familiar tools, resistance to change, or perhaps the misconception that spreadsheets offer a more flexible solution may contribute to this perplexing scenario.

Whatever the reasons may be, one thing is certain: maintaining both an LMS and spreadsheets leaves room for inefficiency, inaccuracy, and hidden costs.

Unseen Costs: Peeling Back the Layers

  1. Data Discrepancies: Spreadsheets often lead to data discrepancies due to manual input errors, formula mishaps, or version control issues. Such inconsistencies can jeopardize the accuracy of crucial manufacturing data, making it challenging for learning leaders to make informed decisions.
  2. Time-Consuming Dual Maintenance: Maintaining both an LMS and spreadsheets for tracking demands valuable time and effort. The supposed convenience of spreadsheets can lead to a dual-track approach, slowing down updates and impeding the agility required to be successful in manufacturing.
  3. Security Vulnerabilities: Manufacturing processes often involve sensitive data, and spreadsheets may lack the robust security measures provided by an LMS. This creates vulnerabilities that can compromise confidentiality and integrity from sources either outside the organization or from within.
  4. Collaboration Constraints: The collaborative potential of an LMS remains underutilized when supplemented by spreadsheet tracking. Seamless communication and information sharing are hindered, impacting the synergy needed for efficient manufacturing operations.
  5. A Sacrifice in ROI: Intensified budgetary pressures have made budget constraints a pressing concern for many in the manufacturing industry. For those who have already allocated resources toward an LMS, maximizing the ROI of that investment is crucial.
  6. Turnover Troubles: When leaders or managers maintain external tracking protocols, it has the potential to create tension and confusion when there is turnover. Inconsistencies in record-keeping erode the foundation of learning strategies.

The hidden costs of spreadsheet tracking can cast a shadow over operational efficiency. Recognizing the pitfalls of maintaining dual systems is the first step toward a more streamlined and effective future. Moving away from traditional tracking methods like spreadsheets can be more challenging without a robust yet intuitive LMS analytics suite.

The Brainier LMS Solution

lms analytics

With auto-generated reports, dashboards for every level of management, the “Smart Report,” and a custom report builder built-in to The Brainier LMS, ditching the spreadsheets seems a little less daunting. These features provide a comprehensive LMS analytics suite, ensuring that companies can fully leverage their investment in an LMS without the drawbacks of spreadsheet tracking.

The manufacturing industry’s march toward efficiency requires a strategic approach to technology adoption. Embracing a single, powerful solution like The Brainier LMS not only eliminates the hidden costs associated with spreadsheet tracking but also propels organizations towards a future of seamless collaboration, data accuracy, and enhanced operational efficiency.

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