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Technical 3D animations deliver high impact results

20 / 01 / 2022

When manufacturer Gray & Adams decided to produce training for drivers in how to safely operate the company’s range of trailers, they turned to Mintra’s content development team to create engaging content that would increase safety and drive their customers’ operational efficiency.

From televisions to timber, groceries to glass, fast food to flowers…the global economy relies on the haulage industry to safely transport goods from A to B. But the deliveries that are so essential to our everyday lives only get where they need to be - supermarkets, warehouses, manufacturing plants and more - thanks to a small army of highly skilled lorry drivers.

The expertise involved in driving a heavy goods vehicle doesn’t stop with manoeuvring, maintenance and learning the rules of the road: it is essential that drivers also understand how to safely operate and load the trailers that store the goods they are transporting.

Gray & Adams is the United Kingdom’s market leader in the manufacture of specialist temperature controlled and bespoke vehicles. It has an impressive 65-year track record in designing and building an extensive product range, from refrigerated double deck trailers to clinical waste vehicles, and counts household names such as parcel delivery network DPD, and supermarkets Waitrose and Morrisons among its customers.

"We were aware of Mintra’s excellent work in developing safety training for the oil and gas industry and we knew from looking at those examples they could create exactly what we were looking for.”

Ian Smith, Group Engineering Manager at Gray & Adams

Ian Smith, Group Engineering Manager at Gray & Adams

The award-winning company places a high level of importance on duty of care to customers, and training in the safe operation of its products is a cornerstone of the offering. When Gray & Adams decided to move away from the time-consuming process of one-to-one training on site with customers, it looked to Mintra’s expertise in developing high-quality, engaging learning experiences.

Group Engineering Manager at Gray & Adams, Ian Smith, explained: “We are best-in-class for what we do, and are known in the industry for providing the Rolls Royce of trailers. That means that products such as our double deck trailers, which have lifting floors, can be complex to operate. Drivers need to ensure they get the loading just right.

“We wanted to reduce the number of breakdowns that our customers were experiencing as a result of operational error, but more than that, we recognise that we have obligations and duty of care to the industry to ensure no one is injured while using our products. We started to look at how we were training people and felt we could make improvements.

“Traditionally, we were sending our own team out to visit customers and to carry out one-to-one training, physically showing people how to operate the trailers. That wasn’t ideal, not least because it involved a lot of resource, but also because we knew that people may forget things after that one training session.

“We wanted to try something different and were interested in developing a filmed training course that could be used by our customers on demand. We were aware of Mintra’s excellent work in developing safety training for the oil and gas industry and we knew from looking at those examples they could create exactly what we were looking for.”

Mintra’s content development team visited the firm’s Aberdeenshire headquarters to scope out the project and get a better understanding of the product range. A number of different options were discussed before it was decided to produce an animated 3D training that could be delivered electronically to thousands of drivers.

George Denoon, senior motion graphics designer, was one of the team involved in developing the project. He said: “We wanted to ensure the product would be futureproof, so we suggested going down the route of 3D animation because this is far more flexible than filming.

“It is more efficient to make edits to animation. For example, if one of Gray & Adams’ customers wanted the animation to include their branding, it was a relatively simple process to add this in. If the training had been a filmed video, it would have required a further video shoot using a branded trailer.

"The driver training has ensured efficiency because there are now so few breakdowns caused by operational error. They are keeping their fleet on the road and ensuring goods are safely delivered to customers."

Ian Smith, Group Engineering Manager at Gray & Adams

“We also gave careful consideration to the script and how we could create that in such a way as to give the training longevity. We broke it down into chapters so that content could easily be removed and replaced if guidance changed in the future.”

Mr Smith said there had been a marked improvement in the number of operational breakdowns since the new training was rolled out to customers. “Those phone calls are now practically non-existent,” he said.

“This clearly has benefits for us, but most important are the benefits for our customers. The driver training has ensured efficiency because there are now so few breakdowns caused by operational error. They are keeping their fleet on the road and ensuring goods are safely delivered to customers.

“We knew very quickly that we made the right decision with the 3D animation. We sent out the generic version of the course to our customers and almost immediately one came back to say how great the training was and to ask if it was possible to have a version with their bespoke trailer. The advice we got from Mintra meant that we could immediately say ‘yes’.

“I was very impressed by Mintra’s team of instructional designers and how closely they collaborated on getting the wording for the script just right. There is a lot of technical information and reference to legislation in the script, but they were able to take it all and break it down into layman’s terms.

“We think the finished video is absolutely fantastic – Mintra has transformed something that could have been very run of the mill and created something way off-piste – and the feedback we have from our customers’ training staff has been overwhelmingly positive. It is now so much easier for us to fulfil our obligation to provide training, whether that be for a new driver or refresher training, to ensure safe operations.”

George added: “This is an excellent example of the breadth of different projects that Mintra is involved in. We are very well known for our work in the energy and maritime sectors, but this project demonstrates how we use our experience in creating high-quality and impactful learning solutions to help clients in any safety-critical industry deliver their learning goals.”

Mintra and Gray & Adams are continuing to collaborate, with plans to create a suite of induction and instructional videos tailored to each of the company’s four UK sites.

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“This project demonstrates how we use our experience in creating high-quality and impactful learning solutions to help clients in any safety-critical industry deliver their learning goals.” George Denoon, Senior Motion Graphics Designer
George Denoon