Distance Education and Training

Topics: Costs, Classroom, Technician Pages: 14 (2413 words) Published: March 19, 2013
CASESTUDY
MERCEDES–BENZUSA:
INVESTINGINITINFRASTRUCTURE

ExecutiveSummary:

Mercedes‐Benz first entered the US market in 1952. MBUSA is responsible

forthesales,serviceandmarketingofMercedes‐BenzproductsintheUnitedStates. Customer service is the top priority for everyone at MBUSA. To guarantee high qualitycustomerservice,thecompany’s1200employeesprovidedfocusedsupport of recruitment services, marketing and sales programs, and product training to 16000employeesat313privatelyowneddealershipsnationwide.

Greg Settle is currently the national manager technical services forMBUSA.

Hiscorporatemandateistocreatethemostefficientandeffectivetrainingprogram intheautomotiveindustry.MBUSAisshowingcontinuingstrongnewvehiclesales in2002astheirmid‐yearsaleshaveshown.Thedealershiptechniciansareneeded to support these increased sales and an expanded product line, as MBUSA had recently added the M‐Class and the C230 Sports Coupe. As a result more coursework and class time were required to maintain the technicians knowledge basebecauseofthesetechnicalinnovations.

Currently Settle is considering using streaming media combined with

distancelearningasasupplementtoclass‐roombasededucation.Hebelievesthat bypursuingthisoptionhecanreducein‐classtimeby20‐25%.Hisprimaryconcern isthatthisITinvestmentcouldhaveanegativeeffectonthecompany’sreputation of providing the highly successful training to its technicians as recognized in JD Powers survey. He is currently in a position of having to evaluate the e‐learning option,includingselectingbetweentwovendors,RealNetworksandMicrosoft.
Under option 1, Settle could request the budget to build more training

facilities,oraddontotheexistingfacilitiesandthereforeaddmorecapacitytothe existingstatusquo.Foroption2,hecoulddevelopastrategytoscalehistechnical training operations, using the emerging streaming media and distance learning technologiestoaugmenthisexistingtrainingcapacity.

Due to his time constraints Settle needs to make a decision and begin

developmentofwhichevernewsystemheisgoingtouse.Otherwisehewillfacethe consequenceofhittinghistrainingcapacity,whichwillleadtoadecreaseintraining qualitythroughoutMBUSA.

After analyzing the case very carefully I have decided that the Web‐based DistanceLearningisthemorebeneficialoption.

Problem:

TheproblemfacedbySettleisthelackofclassroomcapacityasthenumber

oftechniciansisexpectedtogrowfrom4,500to5,500bytheendof2002,andto continuetoincreaseoverthenextcoupleofyears.Inadditiontothis,overthelast two years MBUSA has added two new classes to their product line, and has developed the STARMARK program. The STARMARK program is a rigorous inspection program designed to certify pre‐owned vehicles. It has been quite successfultodateandsalesthroughthisprogramwerepredictedtobemorethan 38,000 in 2001. It was therefore required that each technician completed the STARMARKasanadd‐ontheiryearlytrainingattheregionaltrainingfacilities.

Upuntilnowthe4regionaltrainingcenterswereabletoaccommodatethe

training needs of the current technicians. The Technical Training departmentwill face a capacity bottleneck as of next year as there is a need for more courses and class‐timepertechnician.

Questions:
1. How should Settle and his team evaluate the E‐learning option? What factors should...
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