Importance of In-Person Training for Manufacturers

by | Oct 3, 2012

By Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter.

I don’t think any manufacturer out there would argue the importance of training. What manufacturer wouldn’t want to ensure their customers are trained properly on how to use their products or informed on their latest product offerings. Plus, training offers manufacturers a way to further differentiate themselves from competitors as well as continue to build their brand with their customers.

There are many ways to approach and handle training; from how-to videos and online training courses, to traditional, printed instructional manuals and sales people demonstrating products in the field. But sometimes there is no substitute for in-person training.

One manufacturer that is leading the way for in-person training is Viega. I should note that Viega is a former client of Sonnhalter. The Viega Education Facility, located in Nashua, NH, is a stand-alone, dedicated building for training and I have to say, a pretty impressive facility. It first opened up in 2006 and since then, over 10,000 people have completed training sessions. Viega averages over 200+ days of training per year, with attendees ranging from architects, contractors and engineers to apprentices, distributors and even Viega employees. Currently there are over 13 standard courses covered in two-day, three-day or five-day sessions.

Here are some course examples: Radiant Design, Piping and Controls, NFPA 13D Fire Sprinkler, Geothermal & Solar and Commercial Radiant Heating & Cooling. Every year, Viega revamps existing courses and adds new ones to encompass the latest technological advances, industry requirements and the newest practices. You can find details for all the individual training sessions as well as register and schedule your training online at

I’ve had the opportunity to attend a Viega training session. This 2-day training session was focused on continuing education for media partners and included editorial staff from leading trade publications and associations. The training session included classroom discussions about systems and applications within residential, commercial and industrial environments as well as hands-on time to experience several manufacturers’ products and tools.

We were exposed to many different technologies and options as the training was not exclusive to Viega’s products. I personally had the opportunity to experience a wide variety of hands-on applications, from threading pipe and installing a radiant flooring system to pressing various materials (copper, stainless steel, PEX, carbon steel pipe) with the Viega ProPress® system.

It is great to see the level of commitment Viega continues to put behind training and education. I realize not every manufacturer can have a dedicated training facility or the resources to support it, but every manufacturer should have some level of product training.

What are you doing to ensure you are keeping your customers trained?

If you liked this post, you might want to read:

Podcast: Why Online Training Gives you the Edge.

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