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Case Studies

Patton Plumbing and Heating Hires Green Techs; Cuts “Time-to-Truck” by 50% with Interplay Learning’s Digital Training

  • Built state-of-the-art onsite training-lab
  • Accelerated tech skill development
  • Increased employee retention rates
  • Reduced “time-to-truck” for green techs
  • 17+ years in operation
  • 3+ years using Interplay training
  • 31% business growth in 2021
  • 30 mins of employee training every day, including shoulder seasons
  • 50% time reduction in training green techs to operate solo
  • Growing skills shortage meant Patton Plumbing and Heating was faced with hiring low-skilled employees and training them in-house
  • Using training from Interplay Learning freed up valuable company resources to spend on an onsite training lab outfi tted with VR and gaming computers
  • Automating 30 mins of Interplay training at the start of every workday accelerated employee skill development and improved operational performance
  • Focusing on their employee’s careers and work-life balance contributed to increased retention rates and decreased the time it took to turn green technicians profitable

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    About Patton Plumbing and Heating Inc.

    Locally owned and operated HVAC and plumbing company in Arlington, Tennessee

    In operation since 2005 with a team of 8 onsite service technicians • State-of-the-art onsite training lab featuring Interplay’s 3D simulations and VR

    Strong learning culture that rewards and recognizes ongoing career development, including the acquisition of industry certifications

    Growing skills shortage created difficulty attracting and retaining highly-skilled talent

    Traditional training methods and off-site courses were too slow, expensive, and inefficient for upskilling in-demand technicians

    Developing an in-house training school from scratch was resource-draining

    Integrating daily training into employee workflow was tough to automate and enforce, especially during shoulder seasons

    • Reduced time-to-truck by 50% for green techs by automating and standardizing their training paths
    • Overcame industry-wide hiring challenges by creating an in-house training program designed to grow their own skilled technicians
    • Improved employee performance with daily, personalized simulation training that addressed recurring field errors
    • Improved hiring and retention by creating a company culture that encouraged ongoing learning and career development, even during off-seasons

    Shawn Patton entered the trades at the age of 15, eventually working his way up to owning his Plumbing and HVAC company in 2005. In the last decade, Shawn began to feel the pain of the national skills shortage and struggled to find experienced employees like himself to hire. After realizing he’d have to train his team from scratch, he considered building an online training school. However, with the resource commitment being too huge to take on, he instead turned to Interplay Learning. Shawn used Interplay’s industry-recognized skilled trades training and made simulations and VR the focal point of his onsite training lab. With a plan to home-grow his team of skilled techs, he could turn his attention to improving his business operations. 

    “There’s no more Me’s to hire. The employees we need just don’t exist anymore. We have to grow our own.” 

    Interplay Learning has been a huge asset for Patton Plumbing because it has allowed them to standardize and automate their training program into their operations’ daily workflow.

    “I’m all about automation in my business, so I try to automate processes as much as possible. Part of our culture at Patton is everyday training. I have eight field technicians. The newer apprentices and junior technicians are required to train in our lab for 30 minutes each morning using Interplay Learning, and they look forward to it. Most are younger, digital natives who love the virtual reality and gamification aspects Interplay offers.”

    Patton Plumbing assigns content each morning based on what challenges are being encountered in the field – the courses can be pivoted immediately to reflect what is most needed for the techs to learn. Patton also uses Interplay’s training to help technicians prepare for NATE and EPA certification exams, and he pays his team to continue their training during slow seasons.

    In the last few years of using Interplay, Shawn has confidently reported that the training has helped cut down the time it takes to make his green technicians profitable by 50%.

    “With the online training we’re using today, I can tell you that we’ve shaved off one year between the time a green tech walks through our door to the time we turn them loose on their own. It’s helping them build their confidence to tackle real-life situations with more assurance.”

    In addition to reducing training costs and time, Interplay’s courses are frequently updated to reflect changes in the industry. Whether it’s new technology, practices, or equipment changes, all courses feature content that benefits Patton’s new hires and upskills their more senior techs.

    Patton Plumbing can now assess, train and upskill faster while retaining technicians through customized career pathing. Additionally, they have seen great success leveraging Interplay as both a marketing and recruiting tool.

    With Interplay, Shawn can re-invest in his technicians daily, and the investment has been paying off tremendously.

    “The business is nothing without our employees. When my techs have more time to dedicate to their training, it benefits their careers, the company, and our customers.” 

    Contact Interplay Learning to learn how you can reduce your time-to-truck! Contact: sales@interplaylearning.com

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