Rampart Supply, an independent plumbing, heating and PVF distributor established in 1968 with three stores in Colorado and about 280 employees, had long-ago established a culture of learning within the company.
Employees typically completed workbooks, or in most cases, worked with a veteran employee or mentor to learn on the job or during in-person training sessions. This model worked for a while, but then Rampart started experiencing what so many industry members are experiencing. The company was growing — rapidly. And it was staring at a mass retirement of employees within the next 5-10 years.
As the Rampart team continues to grow, onboarding continues to play a vital role in retention, productivity and profitability, especially within an environment where product knowledge is critical. In an age of rapid change and customers expecting immediate response to their needs, Rampart quickly realized that the current state of its learning needed vast improvements.
How would they be able to quickly onboard new hires in effective, innovative and efficient ways that meet the expectations of a new workforce?
How would they ever find good people interested in working in an industry that, at first glance, is just not that appealing?
Faced with an industry that finds it difficult to attract employees, a learning strategy that was not meeting the needs of current or prospective employees and a need to greatly reduce time-to-competence with a training plan that they’ve already outgrown, Rampart leadership took the first step in guaranteeing a great future.
Meeting first with its management team, Rampart leadership wanted to learn more about the challenges it was facing in order to build a solution to meet the company’s unique needs, including a steep learning curve for hires coming from outside the industry. Once a needs analysis was completed, it was determined the first priority would be placed on new hires in all departments, as well as career pathing for key promotional opportunities.
Partnering with ASA University was an easy choice for Rampart – ASA-U has been a trusted partner for training for years and the industry-specific content offered ensures relevancy and reliability. And as Rampart looked to build a program that would continue to evolve, it recognized the continual development of both content and content delivery from ASA University and found a perfect fit. Rampart also values the ease of use of ASA-U Online, and the helpful and supportive ASA-U staff meant no need to look any further.
Work was able to begin quickly, as the foundation of the program relied heavily on the role-based training tracks already offered through ASA University. These tracks were used as a baseline for customization and working together. The Rampart team and ASA-U staff created a training experience that fully meets the distributor’s needs. The use of the online curricula was important to Rampart as it offered access on a variable schedule, which helped to solve the time issue of the previous and more formalized in-person training. Additionally, the ability to customize the training pathways already provided by ASA-U helped to focus the training, keeping employees engaged and successful.
Almost a year after the rollout, phase one of the overall training plan has already solved many challenges faced by the team and the experience has received much positive feedback. The current culture at Rampart reveals how greatly the company values its employees, their work and their future. Rampart has made a commitment to training employees in all areas to aid in their success. This commitment has boosted Rampart’s reputation as an employer, and places the company in a better position to recruit future employees for its team.
“The knowledge gained by our staff through ASA University has helped them better relate to our customers and serve their needs, which allows them to build relationships with a greater number of organizations within the community,” shares James Perry, Rampart vice president.
Retention has now increased at Rampart and employees are better equipped to become industry experts and establish a career. Rampart has standardized training across all departments and branches, allowing it to develop a team that consistently offers best-in-class customer service. Team members are exhibiting more confidence, better efficiencies and an eagerness to learn, further enhancing a culture built over many years.
“The plumbing wholesale industry is not overtly appealing to outsiders,” Perry notes. “Therefore, as we work to recruit and retain the best team possible, we need to limit the barriers to entering the industry. Providing the industry-specific knowledge offered from ASA University helps to eliminate these barriers and makes Rampart Supply a place people want to work.”
ABOUT ASA UNIVERSITY
As the industry standard for employee development, ASA University is the only resource directed specifically to the PHCP, industrial and mechanical PVF industry, built from the ground up by members. ASA University combines both online and traditional learning methods to address the needs of new or seasoned employees to increase productivity, profitability and safety.
Learn more: www.asa.net | 630.467.0000