How your ERP could help manage staff training and certification

Last year ABC Medical almost went out of business. At 7:00 AM visitors showed up asking for the vice president of manufacturing. These visitors were there to audit all the production records of the last three years. They had the credentials authorizing their request backing them up.

ABC is in the business of manufacturing medical devices. Their paper records of workforce training and certifications were terribly organized. Job bills of material came from one box and job routing reports appeared in another box. Trouble arose when an auditor asked for records of training or certifications to prove those workers were qualified to do the work. There was a real threat to revoke permission to make and sell some of their products.

It took three more days but there was a record of some training and certifications in file boxes that had a lot of dust on them. ABC got away with a warning and probation, managing to remain in business. The CEO declared nothing like this would ever happen again and began looking into ways to better manage certification records.

So, what steps did they take?

The people at ABC realized their ERP would be a good tool to track workforce training and certifications. As they already owned the system they did not need to spend scarce money on another database. They had also already used the quality module to document testing on incoming purchased material. Now they used the same module to enter the exam questions from the paper training documents. Employees being trained could enter their answers directly in the ERP where the record would be preserved.

Recommended reading: set up your ERP so that there’s no panic when the auditors arrive with our 11 steps to ERP implementation success

Then they looked at the setup where users were authorized to use the ERP. There was a page where certifications could be recorded and tracked. They had occasionally used that same page for birthday reminders and similar social data. Now it was officially changed to business-related tracking only.

They had begun using ERP to enter transactions to production jobs just before the audit. Now they learned to set up employees as resources so that certain qualifications would be used to schedule the right employee to a job. At first, they only used this to schedule the faster machine but quickly realized that employee resources could maintain qualifications such as training and certifications. Now it all came together.

Production jobs are planned with ERP. Employee resources are assigned to a job based on their training and certifications and their work is scheduled to match the job requirements. The ERP system automatically tracks whether training and certifications are up to date and sends management alerts when deadlines approach. An employee who is not currently certified is not scheduled for a job requiring that certification.

ABC also learned to look for gaps where a skill would be needed but there was an expected shortage of employees with that skill. They could train existing employees or hire outside to fill those gaps and avoid crises.

The future is golden

The next time those auditors show up ABC Medical will be ready for them. They track every employee's skills and update workforce training and certification records religiously. Their ERP schedules people with the training and certification needed for any job automatically. Customers appreciate that the quality of the products has improved and ABC has no worry about conformance auditors showing up now.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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