International Paper Centralizes Performance Management

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Centralizing Performance Management Processes


International Paper (IP) is a diversified, global company with manufacturing operations in the western hemisphere, Europe, Asia and Africa. They have a proud, 100-year history of innovation and success. Their success is, in part, built on knowing how to attract, train, promote, equip, and support their employees.

This Fortune 500 Company currently has approximately 51,500 employees with 33,100 of those employees located in the United States.

International Paper’s training focuses on a number of different aspects of the company, and varies based on the business line. Much of the courseware pertains to safety and regulatory compliance within the paper mills. Machine specific maintenance guides and operation procedures round out most of the remaining content IP creates.


International Paper realized that internally they were facing two major problems with training and knowledge transfer. The first problem related to the geographically scattered approach to company learning and course materials that they had adopted. The staff at various branches were creating coursework and saving it locally. Each time an employee transitioned from the company, the work was often lost or forgotten because the employee had saved the material to his or her individual computer or to CDs that were frequently misplaced. Another employee would then be assigned to recreate the course, losing time and money. IP needed a solution that would allow them to develop and store their learning content in a centrally accessible system.

The second problem was that as seasoned workers were retiring or leaving their positions, they were taking years of valuable experience and know how with them. IP saw the need to begin a program to facilitate a “transfer of knowledge” where these same employees could easily create relevant courseware that could then be used to train new hires.

The biggest benefit we saw in selecting the SilkRoad Learning solution was that we wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Employees can use a course that someone else created, or they can take what they have done and tweak it to fit their needs. They don’t always have to recreate every course.
Deborah Adams, Manager, Enterprise Learning Services, International Paper


International Paper’s solution for its content creation and storage problems was SilkRoad technology’s learning content management solution, SilkRoad Learning™. The company’s human resources department evaluated SilkRoad Learning, along with several other potential solutions based on usability, ease of integration into their current systems, and cost. Usability and support with IP’s current LMS was a major requirement. After evaluating all of the solutions against these criteria, SilkRoad Learning was the clear winner.

“The biggest benefit we saw in selecting the SilkRoad Learning solution was that we wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Deborah Adams, Manager, Enterprise Learning Services, International Paper. “Employees can use a course that someone else created, or they can take what they have done and tweak it to fit their needs. They don’t always have to recreate every course.”

International Paper wanted the training to have a consistent feel which, in a decentralized, multi-developer environment, can be a difficult goal to achieve. Using SilkRoad Learning’s tools with a common media repository, template-based content authoring, and streamlined testing model, IP would be able to offer content that provides a consistent look-and-feel for the learner.


SilkRoad Learning fulfills a variety of requirements for numerous IP departments including rapid prototype and course development. With SilkRoad Learning, IP has saved time in course creation and made it easier for developers throughout the organization to find source material for courses, as they are needed.

SilkRoad Learning provided one central location for IP to store content and solved the company’s ongoing problem of missing content. SilkRoad Learning made course material that was developed in a consistent manner and accessible to the development community, thus saving time and money by using a template-based authoring method and eliminating the need to recreate course material. “People would leave the company and along would go storage location of source content. CDs would be left in a drawer and important paperwork would possibly end up in the recycle bin,” said Adams. “SilkRoad was a way for us to develop and support training, and store content so it wouldn’t end up lost.”

Many of the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) creating content for IP are actually IP employees who are not only providing their knowledge but also, thanks to the easy development environment in SilkRoad Learning and imagen™, are able to build the training materials themselves, without requiring an outside courseware development team.

Moving seasoned employees into the role of SME’s allowed IP to have a large source of experts with multiple years of experience doing what they do best. Putting the knowledge of their daily work into the creation of courseware to assist new hires in reaching their competency levels became a cost effective method of transitioning the knowledge and skills that would otherwise have been lost. A secondary benefit was the improved morale of the seasoned employees as they saw that the company acknowledged and appreciated their expertise.

Key Impacts

  • Created one central location for all information to be stored
  • Eliminated cost of time and money spent on recreating lost material
  • Increased usage of IP’s LMS
  • Saved expertise collected from years of experience
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