National Oilwell Varco Uses PTC University’s eLearning and Assessment Solutions to Improve Design and Accountability

Since the Deepwater Horizon drilling incident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the oil and gas industry has made a push to improve accountability. NOV’s PCG evolved with the new standards by improving training and assessments to demonstrate that its engineers design quality products, meet regulatory requirements, and follow strict internal guidelines. Since PTC® Creo® has been PCG’s primary design tool for more than 10 years (NOV as a whole has relied on PTC’s products for 20 years), the PCG training team needed to develop a plan to properly train engineers and to prove their competence in using PTC Creo tools for designing and manufacturing the PCG product line.

At the same time, NOV aims to technically dominate its industry. The PCG must produce robust and reliable products that are designed right the first time. Delivering on this objective has been challenging since substantial business growth over the past several years has left the company straining to deliver on a tremendous backlog of business. The PCG needed to ensure that new hires could hit the ground running.

Yet the longstanding industry training practice of pairing new hires with mentors was inadequate. Explained Steve Larimore, engineering training manager for NOV’s PCG, “New hires were thrown into the fire and expected to complete projects. Although mentors were available to answer questions, they didn’t always have time to teach new hires because they had their own projects.” The lack of formalized training and accountability led to significant rework, which slowed the design process and could negatively impact product quality. NOV needed a paradigm shift in the way it trained employees to improve engineering quality and accountability.

Enter the Competency Management System

NOV instituted a global initiative, called the NOV Competency Management System (CMS), to train engineers in design best practices and demonstrate their competence. NOV is the first organization in its industry to achieve accreditations for its CMS with the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC), the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (OPITO) and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

PTC University plays an integral role in the PCG’s CMS. Two subject matter experts within the PCG CMS use the management and assessment tools provided in PTC University Precision LMS to assist their efforts to train employees and evaluate their skills.

eLearning modules

Today, two PCG subject matter experts deliver training both through instructor-led courses and using PTC University’s eLearning courses. Explained Larimore, “We chose PTC’s eLearning solutions because they allow us to do our training in house for a far lower cost than sending engineers offsite. The ability to assign learning and track users’ progress is a big plus.”

The CMS used PTC’s eLearning courses to develop a series of learning paths that teach PTC Creo and PTC Windchill fundamentals in a manner tailored to the needs of different roles:

• The Engineering Learning Path introduces engineers to PTC® Creo® Parametric™ and PTC® Creo® Elements/Pro® Data Management with PTC Windchill PDMLink

• The Engineer/Designer Learning Path introduces designers to PTC Creo Parametric productivity tools, and covers detailing, advanced modeling, and advanced assembly design using PTC Creo Parametric

• The Drafter Learning Path introduces drafters to PTC Creo Parametric productivity tools, and covers detailing and advanced modeling with PTC Creo Parametric • The Controls Learning Path trains users to employ PTC Creo Parametric for piping

• PTC Mathcad

• Targeted PTC Creo training on the latest version being used

Assessment tools

The CMS also uses ModelCHECK and PTC University’s Pro/FICIENCY™ and Expert Model Analysis (XMA) tools to evaluate the skills of new hires and current employees as well as assess their progress and design quality after completing training courses.

PTC University Pro/FICIENCY provides online testing that measures the individual’s proficiency levels. This tool measures engineers’ proficiency with specified objectives by asking knowledge questions and by having them complete various exercises. The results pinpoint what an individual knows and where they require additional training.

ModelCHECK is an integrated application that runs transparently inside PTC Creo. When PCG engineers finish their work for the day and check in their model, ModelCHECK analyzes parts, drawings, and assemblies to ensure they meet basic design standards to improve the effectiveness of downstream users and design reuse.

The CMS also uses XMA to evaluate a model’s use of best practices to provide evidence of the designer’s competency in following best practices, standards, and regulatory requirements. XMA takes a model and runs it against various indicators of model quality. This analysis determines whether the designer has employed best practices, and if so, whether these practices are documented or have gaps that require improvement. The CMS will also use XMA to evaluate the overall quality of projects designed by teams of engineers. Should XMA uncover any weaknesses, the training group can develop targeted training.

A Fully Tailored Experience

The PCG’s CMS tailors PTC training and assessments to three different types of individuals:

• New hires right out of college – The CMS requires new hires right out of college to take a series of workshops and eLearning courses over a 12 month period to learn best practices, guidelines and regulatory requirements. Trainees then complete a test project. A passing grade on this project provides proof of competence and means students are ready to move on to real projects. If students fail, two subject matter experts on the training team show them what went wrong and monitor them moving forward.

• Experienced new hires – The PCG uses Pro/FICIENCY to assess experienced new hires to determine their skillset and place them at the right level within the organization.

• Existing staff – The PCG uses Pro/FICIENCY to evaluate the skill sets of existing employees to deliver only the training they need. It also uses PTC’s ModelCHECK and XMA to prove that each engineer is using best practices and designing the NOV way. In the future, the PCG plans to alternate between training and assessing employees on new tools and information one year and performing a full PTC Creo assessment the next.

Speed the Learning Curve, Boost Confidence, Improve Results

Although the training program implementation is in its early stages, the subject matter experts already see improvements in new hires’ understanding of PTC Creo functionality. As Larimore explains, “Previously, the subject matter experts (SMEs) would get broad and vague questions from new hires about how to do things with PTC Creo. Now they’re getting good questions that are technical, targeted, and about how to do specific tasks better. This allows the SMEs on the training team to focus on the more challenging aspects of PTC Creo.”

The group predicts that the training program will also prepare new engineers to design better products more quickly. Explained Larimore, “This method of training creates a positive environment so new engineers feel confident that they can do the job the way their supervisors want them to. It removes the trial and error process we used previously which ultimately removes the need for rework and results in better products. It’s a win/win for everyone.”

Minimize Employees Time Away From the Job

Existing employees may resist training because it takes time away from the job at hand. “By using Pro/FICIENCY to assess the skill levels of existing employees and assign only the training each employee needs,” says Larimore,

Download the National Oilwell Varco uses PTC University’s eLearning Case Study (.PDF)