February 13, 2006
NAFEM, CFESA Gear Up to Launch Technical Center for Excellence Online Training
The North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers and the Commercial Food Equipment Service Association have teamed up and enlisted the help of Service Management Group, a Microsoft-based program developer, to create the Technical Center for Excellence. TCE is a web-based portal that provides online training for service agency, in-house and other foodservice equipment technicians.
Twenty-one manufacturers have sponsored the development of TCE, but Service Management Group needs 19 more for a minimum of 40 by March 1 in order to finish building the product in time for the National Restaurant Association Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show in late May.
TCE will take shape as uploadable software that adds onto Electronic Manuals Web, a Service Management Group-created, web portal providing a database of equipment parts listings that technicians can use to fix equipment or order new parts. Manufacturers who subscribe to EMWEb post the parts information to the site. TCE will link onto EMWeb in the form of online training courses for technicians with video, audio and interactive features, according to Dave Morris, vice president of Service Management Group.
The training courses will also feature self-paced testing that subscribing manufacturers can individually design. In the future, certification for technicians could be available on the site. If the technician does not pass or misses certain questions, TCE will prompt the technician back to the point in the course where material was not understood, Morris explains.
NAFEM and Service Management Group representatives say the benefits of online training greatly outweigh those of field training, which can cost more money and lack in attendance due to fluctuating schedules and last-minute cancellations. Moreover, NAFEM claims TCE will benefit institutional or non-commercial operators, such as hospitals and schools that often lack trained, in-house technicians. The application costs $1,000 to $9,000 for manufacturers based on web content, but technicians and dealers pay nothing to use the service, Morris says. Currently, Service Management Group is focusing exclusively on manufacturers to subscribe to TCE before offering the program to operators. Interested manufacturers should contact Morris at 6.
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