March 17 2020

Kitchen Stuff Plus Increases Sales & Delivers Cost-effective Training with Lambda [Case Study]

Written by Lambda Solutions

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- 7 MIN READ - 

 

At-A-Glance

  • Customer's Business: Kitchen Stuff Plus is a Canadian retail company specializing in providing incredible deals on housewares products through its 30 locations and online store.
  • Opportunity: Transition towards a more efficient and paperless company. Provide fast track training that is engaging for learners and minimize labour spent on in-store training.
  • Solution: Totara Learn Professional Cloud Bundle (1,000 Users) with Zoola Analytics
  • Results: Increased retail store sales by fostering higher levels of staff involvement and providing staff with increased product knowledge using Totara Learn, minimized in-person training costs at retail stores and transitioned to a more environmentally friendly, efficient, and paperless company

 

About Kitchen Stuff Plus

Kitchen Stuff Plus is a Canadian retail company specializing in housewares products. A true Canadian success story, the company started with humble beginnings by operating out of a booth at a local flea market. The concept was simple: cut out the middleman by buying direct from suppliers and passing on the savings to customers. The formula proved to be a big hit with people looking for quality products for their home at great prices.

Opening its flagship store in 1993 in the heart of Toronto at Yonge and Bloor Streets, Kitchen Stuff Plus expanded its offerings to include great deals on additional home products such as bath, rugs, drapery, candles and décor. The company is known by its loyal customers as the go-to place for incredible savings in housewares and home décor.

Today the company has expanded to 30 locations and its successful Warehouse Sales, Red Hot Deals and online shopping at KitchenStuffPlus.com keep everyone coming back for more.

 

The Challenge

Prior to implementing a learning management system, Kitchen Stuff Plus’ staff training was completely reliant on in-person training and courseware that was printed out. All training paths, testing, product training, and memos were printed out and stored at the store level, adding to the environmental burden and valuable storage that could be better used for inventory. All aspects of training had to be completed with a Manager, or by readings completed by the trainee. These challenges ate up a lot of labour, especially Training Management labour, and took up a lot of their valuable time. To add to this, the results were inconsistent depending on which location was completing the training. Wanting to use technology and leave its paper-heavy ways behind, the team at Kitchen Stuff Plus began their journey to implementing an LMS for all of the company’s training needs. The system needed to accommodate over 600 active users, consisting of learners, facilitators and trainers, in addition to the Management team (of approximately 110 users).

 

The criteria the team used to select their vendor and solution of choice included the following:

  • Full control of content
  • Ease of uploading various media formats
  • Pricing and flexibility
  • Service and support
  • Ability to brand the site on their own

"The Time Spent Summary by Activity has also been helpful when we launch a new training course. When reviewing this activity, we are able to draw correlations between time spent in activities to grades achieved in the course, as well as retention of information." - Eryn Curran, Training & Development Admin Support, Kitchen Stuff Plus

 

The Solution

In order to get everyone on board and ensure that the training program would be embraced and meaningfully branded, people in the organization submitted names for the new system. A poll was taken to choose the most popular name and the new brand for the LMS was chosen and launched—Amplify.

Now that the training programs are up and running, the Training & Development department is utilizing Time Spent Learning reports to make courses more efficient and ensure the activities are straight-forward, easy to follow and that people aren’t getting stuck in any parts. They are also in the process of creating dashboards to show a visual bird’s eye view of the things being tracked.

The reports that Kitchen Stuff Plus creates are sent to each member of the Management Team at each retail location and the District Managers—reaching approximately 110 users who utilize these reports to plan and complete training.

 

Goals Realized

The goals that the retail chain wanted to achieve with its learning management system were threefold:

 

1. Minimize the amount of labour that training sessions took

The new hire training program previously took 16 hours to complete by new employees and now that the program is and up and running on the LMS, this has been reduced to 5.5 hours. With the new program, named Retail Onboarding, staff are able to get more information, quicker, and are able to retain it better. Another big benefit the company has realized is that instead of taking managers one entire shift (8 hours) to facilitate the training, the labour time and effort using this delivery method has been significantly reduced to just 1.5 hours.

 

2. Reduce the number of Health & Safety incidents by providing consistent training

Eryn stated, “The main safety hazards in our business relate to the improper use of ladders and box cutters when opening inventory boxes. Safe lifting practices to prevent injuries are also an issue.” Safety training had previously been delivered by managers, but the training material was inconsistent depending who was delivering it and sometimes important components were missed. The Amplify Health & Safety course is now linked to the new hire training as the first thing new staff do. The course consists of audio recordings, photos and instructions on how to maintain health and safety. Continued Eryn, “While we haven’t compiled any actual statistics around this yet, we do notice that these types of injuries are being minimized and we will continue to strive to reduce incidents.”

 

3. Increase sales in its retail stores by providing more thorough training with higher levels of staff involvement and product knowledge

In efforts to increase sales, Eryn’s group initiated sales training which consisted of organized smaller events targeting specific product groups such as the bath event in the spring and training on the Zwilling J.A. Henckels knives and cookware twice per year—one of the store’s top selling name brands. Before the LMS from 2016 to 2017, when training was delivered in person, sales only increased. Now that the training is delivered in conjunction with Amplify, sales have already jumped over the prior year.

 

The Results

1. Smooth Setup and Integration

While the set up went pretty smoothly, the team needed assistance to connect their intranet site with the LMS. Eryn stated, “We really wanted our staff to be able to complete their training during work hours and not at home. And we wanted to be able to use the current logins that people use to connect to our intranet site. The team at Lambda was able to tweak the system to enable that to happen, which makes it much easier for everyone by not requiring a separate login.”

 

2. Increased Sales

By initiating a blended sales training approach (in person events combined with Amplify online training), the retailer dramatically increased sales from one sales event held for 4 weeks.

 

3. Reporting and Analytics

Eryn created her own version of Course Completion Tracking reports. These reports assist with ensuring training is completed by all required staff members in a timely manner or by a certain due date. Stated Eryn, “The Time Spent Summary by Activity has also been helpful when we launch a new training course. When reviewing this activity, we are able to draw correlations between time spent in activities to grades achieved in the course, as well as retention of information.“

 

4. Helpful Support

Eryn shared her experience about what it is like working with the Lambda Solutions team. “Lambda’s support team have been extremely helpful. Although we have come across some struggles which have not yet been solved, the support team have come through with alternate workarounds that assist in accomplishing similar goals while they work through our requests. Responses arrive in a timely manner— including the time difference— and they go above and beyond to assist by phone calls, video calls with screen sharing or file exchanges.”

 

How They Did It The Results
  • With a Totara Professional Cloud Bundle including Zoola Analytics, Kitchen Stuff Plus transitioned to online training programs.
  • This enabled administrators to incorporate media such as videos and photos into courses, reduced the need for in-person training and fast-tracked training programs.
  • Created their own version of Course Completion Tracking reports which ensures training is completed by all required staff members in a timely manner.
  • The LMS has enabled Kitchen Stuff Plus to transition toward a more efficient and paperless company.
  • Minimized labour spent on in-person training in retail stores.

 

  • Increased retail store sales by providing more thorough training with higher levels of staff involvement and product knowledge.

 

"Overall, I would recommend Lambda, and I think the support team plays a huge part in that. We did struggle with some of the training documentation and implementation of certain ideas. However, we found that the support team was able to guide us on the next steps to take to make something happen while following our original vision as close as possible." - Eryn Curran, Training & Development Admin Support, Kitchen Stuff Plus

 

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