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From Zero to 8,000 Service Engineers: Rational’s Virtual Training Wins Prestigious Award

Service Management Prize recognises international inventiveness in the face of the current pandemic

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck Rational quickly decided to develop a virtual online training program for the company’s service partners around the world, to ensure that they were both safely socially distanced and had all the knowledge they needed to look after their customers. However, there was a challenge: the company had to develop not only an entirely new training program, which could be delivered by its subsidiaries around the world to 8,000 service technicians, but also one that covered two completely new products, in the shape of the iCombi Pro combi steamer and the iVario multifunctional cooking system.

The success of Rational’s fast and effective approach has been recognised with the Service Management Prize 2020, a prestigious award presented by the German Service Association (KVD). The competition called for ideas that underline inventiveness in the face of the pandemic, and the jury and voters were won over by Rational’s international digital strategy for training service partners.

Hans-Werner Albrecht is managing director of Rational’s technical services division at the company’s head office in Landsberg, Germany. He says, "The sudden imposition of travel restrictions in March meant our international service partners’ engineers and technicians, who normally receive live training in our centres around the world, suddenly had to be trained online. The aim was to offer them the same experience, the same lessons learned, as in hands-on training. Most of the participants were in their homes and had not even seen the new Rational cooking systems.”

The teams in Landsberg set up web cameras, on cooking systems and components, as expert trainers, supported by special software, guided engineers through the program. During the training, the new cooking systems were animated in 3D and realistically presented in high resolution detail. In addition to the trainer's explanations, the participants were able to call up support information about the cooking systems, such as circuit diagrams, via interactive links. "The whole team did an extraordinary job, ensuring a smooth transition to online training around the world,” says Albrecht.

The online service training has been welcomed by service partners in the UK and Ireland. “The feedback to the program from our service partners has been incredibly positive,” says Trevor Lath, national service director of Rational UK. “Digital communications have quickly become widely accepted and offer positive advantages, so Rational will certainly be maintaining and expanding the online training program. Once the pandemic is under control we’ll look to combine it with hands-on sessions, creating the best of both worlds.”

For information and brochures, or to find out about free Rational Live online demonstrations, call +44 (0)1582 480388, freephone 0800 389 2944 or visit


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