systems. “Instead of shying [away] from the complexity of the problem, you want to make sure you have a system that can reflect the complexi- ty of the real world,” he stressed. “The program has to be as sophisticated as the problem we’re trying to solve,” Malcolm stressed. Malcolm said Safe Fleet provides

onsite support and tailors its training to the customer. The company also administers tests to make sure that transportation personnel understand the concepts. It gives them oppor- tunities to demonstrate their skills. He commented that the training is practical, pragmatic and hands-on. “Once the customer is up and run- ning, we come back again, because no matter how well you conduct the first training, it’s important to come back and do it again,” Malcolm reported. “This really amplifies how successful the customer is. We pretty much insist they [complete] the two

sets of training.” Malcolm also recommended know-

ing if routing is the core responsibility of the staff members, or simply one of many tasks they perform. Papa said TripSpark recent-

ly shifted away from a “death by PowerPoint” approach to training, because the process can be so dry and tedious that it stifles learning. “We partner with our school districts and learn what is important and challenging to them first,” he urged. “Then we provide customized train- ing to meet their daily needs.” Papa added that when talking with

competitors at conferences, the ability to service their respective customers comes up as a “pretty routine” top- ic. “What we do differently, though, is one-on-one training, onsite,” he continued. “We prefer face-to-face training, because of the [human] interaction. We tailor our training to whatever the district needs.”

Thien at Tyler said technology

moves fast and can be a lot to keep up with. That’s why Tyler developed its Everguide initiative that provides access to the latest software—with- out any relicensing fees. He said it represents Tyler’s responsibility to provide continuous opportunities for its customers to learn about new features, other products and materi- als to train new staff. The company’s “tried and true”

training method is to use the client’s map and data. “A client who is learn- ing software in their own area with their students, buildings, employees and vehicles, will pick it up much faster than if they trained in a spe- cifically designed data set, and then had to figure out how to apply the software to their operations,” Thien explained. “They will also notice right away if something looks off, and they can fix it while they have a certified trainer on the line.”



22 School Transportation News • JANUARY 2020

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