Challenges

Royal Enfield planned a physical event to train teams about options included in a new motorcycle. The plan was to have the bikes up on stage and conduct sessions on details like the engine and other features. But then, COVID-19 changed everything.

 

When it comes to learning, augmented reality (AR) solutions are undeniably powerful tools. Royal Enfield recognized this potential and built a dynamic sales training experience for over 3,000 remote participants to help familiarize dealers and sales teams with their new, cutting-edge motorcycle.

Headquartered in Chennai, India, Royal Enfield produces some of the world’s most unique and distinctive motorcycles. A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield is a multinational company—they have factories and assembly sites in India and technical centers located around the world. They produce almost one million iconic bikes every year and sell them to customers across the globe.

Having made their first motorcycle in 1901, Royal Enfield is the oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production. They are uniquely focused on designing classically styled motorcycles brought to life with modern technology, and their Meteor 350 motorcycle is no exception. Released in 2020, the bike was designed and developed with state-of-the-art technology, including a new twin downtube chassis, digital instruments, and integration with navigation applications.


 

Before the motorcycle’s launch, Royal Enfield began planning a significant sales training event to teach sales teams and Royal Enfield dealers in India about features and options included in the new bike. About 3,800 people planned to attend the event, which would take place in a large auditorium at one of Royal Enfield’s central manufacturing sites in India. To educate attendees, Royal Enfield planned to have the bikes up on stage and conduct breakout sessions around specific details like the engine and other features.

Royal Enfield embraced AR to facilitate an engaging training experience

To ensure a successful training event, Ninad Shende, Training Program Manager on the Customer Experience team, and Adrian Marshall, Manager, CAD and AR, began exploring ways to offer an engaging experience that maximized learning retention and understanding. They decided to leverage AR to create a more dynamic, interactive experience that would accompany the planned presentations and lectures.

As long-time users of PTC’s industry-leading CAD software, Creo, Royal Enfield recognized they could leverage that investment to create robust AR experiences with Vuforia Studio, part of the Vuforia Enterprise AR suite. Vuforia Studio is an efficient AR authoring and publishing solution which transforms existing 3D CAD models into immersive, dynamic AR experiences. Creo Illustrate was also used to create animated sequences for the CAD models to be used in the AR training experience.

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Royal Enfield envisioned an experience that enabled sales teams to interact with the Meteor motorcycle during the training event. The AR experience, using advanced Model Target technology, allowed users to click on different parts of the motorcycle to view details about key features, watch videos describing the technology, and more. Royal Enfield recognized that this tool, in the hands of the sales teams, would facilitate the knowledge transfer of complex subjects and help them to better understand and retain relevant information about the new bikes.

“By turning the sales training from a passive experience into an active experience, we would create a level of dynamic interaction that helps participants understand and absorb the information better,” said Marshall.

“By turning the sales training from a passive experience into an active experience, we would create a level of dynamic interaction that helps participants understand and absorb the information better.”

Adrian Marshall
Manager, CAD and AR

Royal Enfield had to quickly adapt to COVID-19 lockdowns

But then, COVID-19 changed everything. Weeks before the event, Royal Enfield had to completely re-think the event as social distancing guidelines prevented large in-person gatherings. “The application was ready for the go-live, all the AR was ready. That’s when COVID-19 and the lockdowns happened. All onsite events were cancelled,” said Marshall.

While they had to cancel the in-person event, Royal Enfield decided to deliver the training remotely to their sales teams. They planned to conduct it through live, online training sessions using a PowerPoint presentation, but only had a few weeks to pivot. Marshall and Shende realized they could still deliver their AR experience remotely and enhance the learning experience, but in order to do so, they would have to make some rapid adjustments.

“There was a massive time constraint. I said, how can we leverage all this work we’d done with Model Targets and CAD data to get it right?” said Marshall.

Leveraging Vuforia Studio, they had the flexibility and adaptability to change their plans and go live within a month. With the sales team no longer having access to the physical bike, they switched from a model-based AR experience to one that was image-based. So instead of tracking the physical bikes, the application would track images delivered electronically to attendees.

During the online training, participants scanned the images that the team created and built the AR experience around. This allowed them to interact with the different features and components remotely as they would have done in front of the live bike. In the end, Royal Enfield provided an interactive AR experience despite the limitations placed on them—a true example of the value AR can bring in challenging times.

Royal Enfield led a successful and engaging sales training event

The remote training event was a complete success, and it included an AR component that was engaging, interactive, safe, and secure. Feedback was incredibly positive: sellers felt that it created an engaging learning environment which improved understanding and learning retention. It turned what could have been a straightforward lecture into something interactive and dynamic.

“It was difficult to drive learning engagement over a virtual classroom and AR helped us achieve that. The dynamic learning experience was appreciated by participants and regional business managers— it led to better retention,” said Shende.

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In the end, Vuforia Studio enabled Royal Enfield to leverage their CAD data to build easy-to-follow AR experiences that improve training outcomes. Not only did Royal Enfield rapidly adapt and deploy the solution, but they were also able to reuse all the resources they had already devoted to the project.

“It was such a fast transition taking what we had and repurposing it. We were able to do it all in house,” said Marshall. “If we’d outsourced it, it would have been a huge additional cost. We were able to save costs, deliver it quickly, and get great results. It was a win, win, win.”

“It was difficult to drive learning engagement over a virtual classroom and AR helped us achieve that. The dynamic learning experience was appreciated by participants and regional business managers—it led to better retention.”

Ninad Shende
Training Program Manager on the Customer Experience team


Royal Enfield is planning to implement AR more widely throughout their business

Now, Royal Enfield is exploring the use of AR in their production facilities. There are two sides to using AR for training: process and knowledge. “Process” instruction means providing literal instructions of how to complete a task. “Knowledge” instructions inform basic knowledge and understanding. Royal Enfield is currently exploring the use of knowledge instruction in their production environment, as this closely maps to how they used Vuforia Studio for the sales training event. In the future, they hope to add process instructions as well, to drive efficiencies in areas like engine production lines. While this wouldn’t replace training materials completely, it would facilitate a more valuable, effective training experience.

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With powerful AR training solutions at their disposal, the future is bright for Royal Enfield and their employees. Moving forward, they are excited to build on their partnership with PTC and continue exploring innovative ways to leverage AR throughout their business.

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