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Steelcase Builds Momentum Through Software Training

Article-Steelcase Builds Momentum Through Software Training

Steelcase Builds Momentum Through Software Training

Dan Paulucci, senior product engineer at Steelcase (Grand Rapids, MI) had a big job. It was his responsibility to ensure that the 150 product designers throughout Steelcase North America transitioned smoothly from Pro/ENGINEER 2001 to Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire. The Wildfire release introduced a dramatic shift in the program's user interface. The biggest concern was a drop in productivity as users got up to speed. "Initially, things people might normally do in 5 minutes, might take them 15," Paulucci said. "We needed to reduce that downtime."

Steelcase is the world's top office furniture manufacturer. The company makes a variety of products ranging from leather desk chairs to floor-to-ceiling cabinetry as well as tables, desks, and lighting. It sees a future in build-to-order office products. "That's going to be our biggest area of growth," says Paulucci, and Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire is part of that plan.

Test The Concept

The goal was to introduce Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire gradually over a 12-month period. When Paulucci heard of the PTC Hands-On Workshop as a way to familiarize users with the new interface, he decided to test the concept. In August 2003, he sent three "champion" Pro/ENGINEER users to the workshop, as much to scope out the training as to learn about the software's new features. Their feedback was positive. The workshop gave them first-hand experience on the power of Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire. "What's more, our internal engineers heard from these other users on how much the change would affect them," said Paulucci, "and they wanted to learn more." So, in October, 10 months before the planned Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire implementation, Paulucci arranged with his PTC sales rep to bring the workshop onsite to train an additional 150 or so users at Steelcase headquarters.

This gave the Steelcase design engineers a chance to get up close to the software on their own turf. "They were in a familiar environment with hands-on opportunity to use the software," Paulucci said. High-caliber instructors brought added inspiration to the group." They weren't your normal instructors. "These were application support people, so they really knew how to communicate with their user base."

"What the workshop really did was build some team spirit internally," said Paulucci. "The workshop enlightened people, gave them an additional feel and touch of this thing." Afterwards, Steelcase continued the momentum through weekly web-based Wildfire training provided by PTC ProFiciency training program. Paulucci is confident that Steelcase users will be up to speed on Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire faster with minimal downtime. "When we do the final transition this August, it should go a lot smoother," he says.

If you're interested in attending a Wildfire 2.0 hands-on workshop in a city near you, visit If you have 25 users or more, you can apply to have a free onsite workshop at your

Design examples like this are among the projects engineers practice on at the Hands-on Workshops.
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