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Why do we need to track training?

With technology rapidly advancing, and regulations constantly changing, keeping track of the growing number of training requirements may seem daunting. Can you be sure that all necessary training has been completed, for safety and regulatory requirements?

  • What if there is an accident, how can you demonstrate that you had taken every precaution?
  • If there is an audit, will you be able to produce adequate documentation?

If tracking everything by hand seems inadequate or is taking an extraordinary amount of time and resources, it may be time to invest in training tracking software.

Do we really need training tracking software?

How do you know if investing time and money in a system to track employee training is the right thing to do? You may be keeping track of your employee training on paper, or using a simple tool such as Excel®. If this is working for you, then the easiest thing to do is to keep doing things the way you have always done them. Before deciding which tracking system to get, first consider if you need a tracking system at all. Here are some questions to consider:

  • When asked to provide statistics or summaries of needed or completed training, are you able to easily provide the information without spending a lot of time manually compiling data?
  • Are your training records small enough and straighforward enough to fit easily on just a few spreadsheets?
  • Are your recordkeeping tasks simple enough that they do not take time away from other activities?
  • Is your current method easy to understand and use, so that you never feel frustrated or overwhelmed?

If your answered "yes" to all four questions, you might not need to make any changes in your current recordkeeping system. If you answered "no" to some or all of the questions, it might be a good idea to take the next step: evaluate your needs, and find the most cost-effective solution that best meets them.

What are the benefits of training tracking software?

A well designed software tracking system can provide benefits such as:

  • Make your job easier by automating tasks and organizing your data in a meaningful way
  • Make all of your data easily accessible
  • Provide a variety of reports at the touch of a button
  • Simplify tasks, including scheduling, planning, and recording training completions
  • Allow supervisors to access information for their subordinates on their own

If you are required to comply with FDA or other regulations, having a system in place is a must for maintaining documentation of compliance with training requirements.

Easy, right?

OK, so you need to keep track of training. How hard can it be? You may think it would be simple to develop your own training tracking database, but there are many factors involved, and getting all of the details to work together just right is very time-consuming and complicated.

We have been developing our program since 1999. That's over 18 years of full-time dedication! Our program must meet over 1,900 different requirements that we test during validation. We know your time is valuable. Developing even the most basic tracking program in-house would cost tens of thousands in time and resources, especially if you include validation.

What's involved?

Here are the basics of what goes in to TRAIN TRACK®.

First, we need to determine who is required to complete each training. To do this, we must consider:

  • What training is required for each department? Which employees are in each department?
  • What training is required for each job title? Which employees have each job title? Which employees have the job as an additional job title?
  • What training is required for individuals?
  • Which individuals are excluded from the requirement?
  • If the requirement is limited by hire date range, which employees were hired within that date range?
  • Is the training still active?
  • Is there is an exam required?
  • Is re-training required periodically? How often?
  • If there is a revision, who needs to be re-trained?

Once we determine what training is needed, we need to consider what training has been scheduled or completed, and record a variety of information:

  • What classes are scheduled and when?
  • Who are the qualified instructors?
  • Where and when will classes be held?
  • Which employees are enrolled in each class?
  • What is the capacity of the class, and how many employees may still be enrolled?
  • If an exam is required, what are the questions and which answers are correct? How may points are assigned to each correct answer? Can the employee select more than one answer per question? What is the passing score?

Then we need to determine the status of each required training. Here's what we must consider:

  • What training is required for each employee based on the above criteria.
  • Has the employee been enrolled in a scheduled class? If the date for the class has already passed, did the employee attend?
  • Has the employee completed the training?
  • If the training or document has been revised, which revision was each employee trained to?
  • If an exam is required, did the employee pass?
  • Is the training completion expired based on the number of months, or based on a new revison, or based on a manually entered date? If more than one of these applies, which one is correct?
  • If the employee has completed the training multiple times, which one is current?

The program can then provide the user with a variety of information:

  • Required training for each employee.
  • Training due for each employee.
  • Scheduled classes and enrolled employees.
  • Forecast of training needed over the next year (or any time period).
  • Completed training.
  • The status of all required training.

The user interface must also include a variety of functions. For example:

  • Restricting unauthorized users, and limiting functionality for specific users.
  • Filtering employee records based on user permissions, and associations of supervisors and subordinates.
  • Filtering out inactive records.
  • Sending out automatic email notices to employees and supervisors when training is due or scheduled.
  • Searching records.
  • Opening a detail screen to the record selected on the list screen.
  • Allowing the user to select data to display or to include in reports.
  • Allowing the user to edit data for drop-down selection lists.
  • Recording each record change to the audit trail.
  • Securing records with electronic signatures.
  • Updating groups of records based on user selections.
  • Preventing duplicate entries.

In addition to programming, we also need to publish validation documents and a user manual. The validation documents include a Software Requirements Specification, a Software Design Specification, Functional Test Specification, Requirements Traceability Matrix, and Software Validation Report.

What if we need something different?

We know that each company has unique situations and requirements, and it may be difficult to find a program that meets your needs exactly. That's why we have a customizable edition. Even if you do want to develop your own system, why not take advantage of all the work we've already done? With the customizable edition, you have access to the design views of all database objects, and the program code behind them.

Most software companies won't do this, but we will let you access our source code and make modifications, because we really do want you to have something that works the way you need it to. We want to make your job, and your life, easier.

If you don't want to make the modifications yourself, we can customize the program for you. Since the basic structure is already there, modifying the program to meet your requirements is still much simpler than developing something from scratch.