As part of a joint venture with Odebrecht, DCNS signed in 2009 the PROSUB contract in Brazil. The contract covers the design, construction and transfer of technology of four Scorpène® class submarines. They are being built by the Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN) joint venture owned by DCNS and local partner Odebrecht. The contract also includes support with the design and construction of a naval base and dockyard.
Fast forward to 2015. ICN needed to find a way to accelerate learning among its engineers and technicians. They couldn’t all be trained at DCNS’s facilities in Cherbourg. Ticiana Sales Leon, program manager of ICN’s award-winning ICN Knowledge Management system explains what they did.
What was the challenge?
You cannot transfer technology without transferring the knowledge of the people behind the technology.
“But you cannot transfer technology without transferring the knowledge of the people behind the technology. For the project to be successful, we needed to train a lot of experts in a very short space of time.
We stated by training over 150 ICN engineers and technicians at DCNS’s facilities in Cherbourg and Lorient in France, but it wasn’t enough. We needed to share the knowledge of these experts with the wider population of 13,000 employees at ICN. The conventional way of doing this would be to have them train people when they got home. But this takes them away from their work and is limited in how many people they can train at a time. It also doesn’t enable us to assess if people have really learned what they’ve been taught and doesn’t protect knowledge from being lost if an expert retires or moves to a new job.”
So what did you do?
“We decided to treat learning like a project and industrialize the transfer of knowledge. Instead of teaching courses on academic subjects, we identified what people needed to know to do their job. Then we identified what they would need to learn to acquire those competencies. We structured this into what we call Knowledge Paths and built digital, blended-learning modules that combine video and actual technical and project documentation. This enabled us to capture not only hard knowledge, i.e. book learning, but also soft knowledge, i.e. what the experts have learned over the years through their experience.”
Why did you win a prize?
In 2016, we were awarded the CrossKnowledge prize for Best Initiative in content creation for our blended-learning system.
“In 2016, we were awarded the CrossKnowledge prize for Best Initiative in content creation for our blended-learning system. It was the first time that a learning system was directly linked to the knowledge management system of an industrial project.”
What have been the results?
“People are learning 70% faster than with our previous learning methods. Our leadership is very engaged with the program; 85% of them have integrated the new learning system into their change management activities.
It makes people better at their job. For example, when we requalify technicians, we find that the ones who update their qualifications using the new learning system make 15% fewer mistakes. More importantly, our end customer, the Brazilian Navy and Brazilian Department of Defense, views the new learning system very positively, because they can see that not only is the technology being transferred but that Brazil is developing homegrown expertise in highly advanced subjects.”
What comes next?
“We continue to build on this success. Learning is now firmly part of the ICN culture. We have created 21 Knowledge Paths so far, with over 350 hours of training content. The number of users continues to grow steadily as has the average amount of time they spend learning. The satisfaction rate among learners is over 86%.”