Lion Breweries is so impressed by the efficiency created by a pilot training system, it is rolling it out to all staff.
For many years Lion has been running the Personal Efficiency Programme (PEP) from IBT International. Lion's groupware project manager, Mike Anda, describes it as "time management on steroids".
However, IBT and Lion have now worked together to create PEP Plus, which applies the principles of PEP to get people using IT resources effectively.
Says Anda: "One of the concerns expressed by myself and other IT executives is that we provide people with all these [electronic] tools, especially a lot of productivity tools, and don't show them how to maximise the use of them."
IT manager Herman van Krieken says Lion was spending a "serious amount of money" on computer hardware, and he decided that no one would receive a new PC without having adequate training.
"We need to make sure that the return on capital investment we make is leveraged the best way."
He says the training started off with very basic tools education, covering the key fundamentals, and then moved on to PEP Plus.
Van Krieken says it made sense to apply the traditional PEP principles to create PEP Plus.
"Your physical in-box with mail that comes in is no different from an email in-box. It's all about the efficiency principle that you touch the paper once. You deal with it now."
The PEP Plus pilot was applied to the marketing department and will soon be tried in the manufacturing plant.
Van Krieken emphasises the training is shaped to fit the role of the people being trained.
A person who loads glass off a pallet on to a conveyor belt for filling needs a computer to keep track of the glass going on the line, and might also need email to communicate with other staff.
"But he doesn't need a PowerPoint presentation particularly."
Anda says there is "a tonne of stuff" in various applications that makes life easier if you know how to use it.
"When you arrive people generally say: 'Well, there's a desk, there's a PC, you figure it out', so we're not getting the benefits that we could."
He says the results of the training were immediately apparent, with the staff using tools they had been unaware existed. They were using the scheduler not only for people but for resources such as meeting rooms which sometimes got double bookings.
He says they also learned how to deal with issues such as email disruptions.
"Most people have their email set up so every time a message comes, it goes 'ping', and everybody drops what they're doing and looks. We've turned that off so people have set times at which they answer email."
And when they do check their email, they should respond to it immediately. He says the aim is to stop procrastination.
IBT New Zealand general manager Kathy Anda says the PEP training takes three days over a period of eight weeks, and participants are expected to start changing their behaviour straight away. PEP Plus training takes just one day, with participants going back to their desks in the second half of the day to set everything up properly.
She says there are about 35 organisations in New Zealand which have been through the PEP training, and Lion is the first with PEP Plus.