VMS Gives the Green Light to Learning with SilkRoad



Founded in 1995, VMS, a biomarketing leader in medical education and healthcare meeting management, possesses a proven track record with complex initiatives within the highly regulated pharmaceutical and biotech brand environments. The company is a strategic partner to its clients and helps with their brand strategies, marketing, education and essentially anything that deals with bringing a drug to market from beginning to end. Whether clients are just starting to negotiate the rigors of the regulatory process or are ready to reveal their new brand to the world, VMS prides itself on being an agile and able partner that can help develop and execute the uncommon solutions companies need to survive.

The Challenge

Being in such a highly regulated arena such as biotech and pharma, VMS needed to help its clients abide by a large number of important regulations. These regulations involve a variety of processes, customer interactions, production and shipping.

“The industry we serve has so many complex compliance tracking requirements, and our clients depend on us to be extremely knowledgeable about these policies,” said Brad Baer, Senior Project Manager, VMS.

The company needed to track all of the complex policies in the industries they serve for the compliance requirements, and was handling the tracking process through Excel, which meant handling and filing an enormous amount of paper copies of signed documents. If clients needed proof that VMS’ employees were properly trained in a particular area of expertise, VMS would then need to track down the copied paper record. The process became overwhelming, and inefficient as the company continued to grow.

We had all of these paper copies of signed documents in locked filing cabinets. If our client wanted proof that our employees were up-to-date in their courses or read and understood all the documents we were required to, we had to send the paper records. The logistics behind all of that and pulling the data was a nightmare,” said Baer.

These inefficiencies lead VMS to search for a Learning Management System (LMS) to handle its training and tracking.

SilkRoad Learning’s ease of tracking an employee’s progression through individual training plans is amazing. We can immediately run reports on who is up-to-date on their training and report back to our clients in a manner of seconds.
– Brad Baer, Senior Project Manager, VMS

The Solution for VMS

In searching for the right LMS, VMS wanted a solution that could help with training employees and tracking completed courses, as well as eliminating the paper documents that required filing. The system would need to provide a simple way to pull records for clients when they requested proof that employees were up-to-date on the latest training in their industry.

The search for a learning management system started as a two month project for the biomarketing company and turned into a year-long search, during which time they looked at more than 10 vendors. After evaluating the other vendors, VMS selected SilkRoad Learning as its LMS for its flexibility to handle all of the company’s needs.

“SilkRoad Learnng was the only platform we felt did everything well. During the product demos, I was unable to stump the SilkRoad team. They always found a way to show me what I needed to see. They have a very flexible system that way,” said Baer. “Other vendors would just simply say our software doesn’t do that or we’re working on that for a future release.”

VMS’ Employees and Clients Cheer for SilkRoad Learning

Prior to SilkRoad Learning, VMS offered instructor classes that addressed the broader training touch points. With the LMS, the company has been able to create more in depth classes that are specific to particular jobs. SilkRoad Learning courses have allowed the company to be very strategic in its course planning and the rollout of required training. The system also offers more streamlined and thorough follow-ups to basic courses, which employees have said has been extremely beneficial.

“Now our managers really understand the benefit of using e-learning for their training needs. In the past, our instructor classes were so basic and covered the same thing over and over again,” said Baer. “It was very monotonous and a bit boring for them. SilkRoad Learning has been really well received. Our managers and employees now request training to be done online, and we’re at a point where we need more manpower in order to get them all of the training requested. It’s a good problem to have, that people want more than we have the power to supply.”

With the help of SilkRoad Learning, VMS now tracks every employees’ individual training plans (ITPs), which includes orientation training for all new hires, training specific to starting a new job with a client, critical training, including all training of a critical nature to VMS or one of its clients, and core trainings, which are very specific to individual jobs.

If the company needs to pull reports to prove employees are compliant on a specific topic, they can do so in a matter of seconds, where previously it would take several hours to sort through paperwork. The new LMS allows managers to easily run reports that immediately show required learning status and past training history. VMS and its clients have both benefitted from the immediate visibility and clean reporting offered.

The system has also helped speed up the training process by no longer having to work around schedules for training. This has led to the company being able to quickly train its workforce and provide clients with compliance reports. With this, the company and its clients avoid any penalties that come with not being able to prove your workforce is compliant, which can include fines.

“Gone are the days of scheduling rooms and working around vacations and out of offices. Our clients are very impressed at how quickly we can turn around training now. There are not a lot of logistics that go around creating the course, uploading it, assigning it to people and then reporting back when it is done and having the proof that it was done. I think that is the greatest impact for us, how we look in our client’s eyes…how organized we look.”

Along with time-savings around scheduling, there has also been a great time-savings around the administration of paperwork. VMS no longer has to search through paper files to determine if employees are up-to-date on training. They can instead login to the system and search by employee or course and immediately find each employee’s training status.

“The previous system was horrible. The logistics alone in tracking every client’s training, along with our own internal training was complicated and time consuming. Just taking that one little piece and moving it from paper to an online system, the ROI has been massive.”

Looking to the Future

The company currently only uses SilkRoad Learning to train its own employees, but in the near future, VMS plans to use the system for training its clients. With SilkRoad Learning, the company will be able to deliver training and education to its clients’ sales customers, partners and external channel networks, which will help VMS’ clients deliver a consistent message and track critical activities across the board.

“Our training manager has a roadmap to use SilkRoad Learning externally, which is taking the client training that we train on now and opening that up for other clients’ clients and vendors. That way we are the source of the training and everyone comes to us to get information from one place.”

Key Impacts

  • VMS is now able to track every employee’s individual training plans and pull reports in a matter of seconds
  • The company can be more strategic in the rollout of course training and offer more streamlined and in depth follow-up courses
  • They no longer have to work around schedules for training and can train all employees quickly
  • In the future, VMS will use the system to train clients’ suppliers and vendors, providing a consistent message throughout

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