For this month’s issue on technology and innovation, I wanted to take a closer look at education, since it’s a critical area that not only prepares the next generation of fashion industry leaders, but also where technology and innovation help mold students to problem solve the what’s, why’s, and how’s. I sat down with AIMS360’s Training Director and Customer Success Leader, Scott Allen, to discuss how today’s technology is changing the way we learn and operate in the fashion industry.
When did you become the training director for AIMS360?
I joined AIMS360 in 2010 and I started rewriting all the user manuals and converting them from v9 to AIMS360. I realized there were some shortcomings, that learning our ERP software would be better through the use of videos. It’s more accessible and convenient for our customers to learn. So, for the first two years (at AIMS360), I spent a lot of time creating videos for all the different areas of the AIMS360 system.
By 2012, I came up with the full online course for the basic AIMS360 certification training. We’ve been updating it and offering it ever since.
What was the process like in creating the online basic certification course? What were your first steps?
The reality is, when you’re setting up a new company or starting out in the fashion industry, there aren’t a lot of differences between how people do things but, oftentimes, there are a lot of questions about where to start. While AIMS360 has many features for the different areas of the business, the basics of the core product are what people need to learn and understand.
When it comes to the training of any new customer, we start with the basics: customer, styles, style costing, order entry, wip, picking, shipping, invoicing, etc.
Those are the things you expect the system to do anyways. So, we make sure there’s a comfort level with those basics, before we begin the other options.
And what did you learn?
At the time, there wasn’t a standard for training a customer. They could access our Knowledge Based articles, but they would be skipping all over the place. They would be able to learn how to use any specific feature they wanted, but if they never learned how to properly set up their style codes, or learn how to edit them, they had a greater chance of not setting them up correctly for best use in their system.
So, what I did was make sure we had an online course that could take you from the beginning to the end. I also have some articles online that inform new customers about our Customer Success Plan. Customers should learn in the order that they would complete certain steps in the fashion business anyways. You can’t invoice somebody if you haven’t created an order. You can’t create an order if you don’t have a customer.
Once you’re up and running, we know things can get kind of crazy. But when it comes to learning a new system, you want to learn it in the best possible way for you and the easiest way for you to understand.
Definitely. It’s important to consider everyone’s learning curve. And what about the industry? Surely, it must’ve been a different environment a few years back.
One of the biggest issues we realized in the industry is that it’s difficult for them to take the time to do training and train their employees. A frequently asked question is, “what if I spend all this money to train my employees and they leave?” Well my reply to that is, “but what if they don’t get training and they stay?”
If they don’t know what they’re doing, and they stay, now they’re making it up as they go. They could be doing something that slows down the efficiencies of your business because they’re not using the software properly. And unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen quite a few times.
Do you see any other area where technology has changed fashion education?
The difference in the basic training videos that we provide versus written manuals is that I’m able to give tidbits of use case information to someone about how to do something. It’s not scripted and so the insights shared in our certification course have a unique value. It’s not only about the use of the AIMS360 system, there’s a conversation about why you’re doing what you’re doing.