In light of continued travel advisories and social distancing, Grundfos – the world’s largest pump manufacturer – recognized the benefits of bringing employees together remotely without the need to gather at a physical location. In the first iteration of their XR classroom program, they quickly realized that their new approach to training offers a whole lot of other stellar advantages – just as in many of their other XR projects. Since 2010, they’ve been partnering with SynergyXR to become a frontrunner in using a wide range of XR technologies.
Grundfos’ virtual onboarding delivers accelerated learning
Grundfos uses the SynergyXR platform to onboard and teach employees from around the world about the magical journey of how water flows from the ground to the house.
The challenge: Getting workers to understand the journey of water faster and without having to travel
Grundfos searched for a more efficient way to onboard and train their employees on a fundamental part of their business, namely about the magical journey of how water flows from the ground to the house thanks to their water pumps. They’d originally had their employees physically visit the main office to learn in a traditional classroom presentation, with the teacher using a huge slide deck and students listening passively. They also had employees visit a local waterworks facility to see how their pumps work in a real-life setting.
You can only fly so many people to Bjerringbro, Denmark. We are 19,000 employees, so it makes a lot of sense to do more projects virtually.Christian Carlsson | Grundfos XR Lead Consultant
When the pandemic first arrived, they switched to online meetings using Microsoft Teams with the teacher going through the same deck. This proved to be less engaging and without being able to interact with each other, failed to help employees fully understand what they were being taught.
The solution: Using VR training to optimize learning
To make it easier for employees all over the globe to understand better how the pumps work, they initiated virtual reality (VR) training in a classroom setting that they created with SynergyXR using a combination of 3D models, images, and videos to create a more immersive and interactive experience. The employees were also able to go into a custom-built virtual copy of a local waterworks plant to see how their pumps operate in a real-life capacity.
3D scans of drill spots and 360 image bubbles presented the actual environment of the water treatment facility into VR in a very visual and easily understandable presentation. Employees were given a guided tour of the waterworks plant to see their pumps in action, all without having to be there in person. With the true-to-scale representation of the water flow systems, they could easily understand each stage of the process in converting ground water into creating clean drinking water. What used to be a theoretical, one-way experience that required employees to travel, VR transformed into an unforgettable training that optimizes learning from anywhere in the world.
The estimated savings on travel-related costs by not having to send employees to the company headquarters for just one training session.
That’s an estimate on how much Grundfos saved in labor costs by using VR to deliver faster training time in just one training session.
The result: A smarter approach to train employees from anywhere, anytime
The interactive, immersive training made for clearer instruction and better memory retention. In a brief survey after the initial training, the respondents said that on a scale of 0 to 5, their learning went from 2 to 4. VR also delivered faster training time since it only took an hour (versus several hours), saving the company, in their first test, an estimated $15K in time-related costs as well as an estimated $10K on travel-related costs. With 19,000 employees worldwide, this has the potential to save the company millions in both time saved and travel.
Inspired by the success of the first trial, Grundfos is now starting the second iteration and expect to continue expanding their XR classroom across the organization
In 2022, we expect to use VR on a larger scale for new hires. It typically takes six months to get a new employee up to 80% efficiency. If you can do it faster and better by taking them through a virtual experience, then it really makes a lot of sense. It is enormously valuable.
Christian Carlsson | Grundfos XR Lead Consultant
Founded in 1945 and with nearly 20,000 employees, Grundfos is a global water technology company committed to pioneering solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improving the quality of life for people.