The Vehicle for Stability - Training & Follow-Up

Here is a JI experience from last week's kaizen event:

Major changes were made to a work cell. Specifically big job combinations where several workstations were rearranged and combined. When the people inquired about how to train operators in the new work cell, my line of questioning revealed many problems:

Q. What are the training needs of the area?
A. Each operator needs to know quality, methods and work flow.

Q. Let's look at the job breakdown sheets. Do these meet those needs?
A. Well, its better than what we have had, but no, these don't meet all of our needs. For example, this one doesn't have the visual checks written on the breakdown sheet.

Q. Are people required to make those checks during each cycle?
A. Yes! They better make them! If they don't, they can stop the line or create a lot of scrap! They were trained to do that!

Q. O.k., so if your training is effective than you shouldn't have to worry about them forgetting, right?
A. Well, not exactly. Nothing's perfect! But they should remember.

Q. O.k., that's true. But what can you do as a trainer to help them out?
A. What do you mean? Either they do it or they don't!

Q. You aren't seeing my point. Let's try something else. Why don't you use your breakdown sheet and train me in how to do that job.
A. O.k. (trainer stumbles through use of four step JI method and shows me the job.)

Q. O.k., great thanks. Can I watch you do the job and ask you a few questions while I refer to the JBS?
A. Sure...go ahead, shoot.

Q. Alright, go ahead. (Observation of job.) O.k., stop. On that step there, I saw you pause briefly to look at something on the part. What are you looking for?
A. Well, I'm glancing at the stamp to ensure the machine is printing straight, with no missing letters.

Q. During the instruction, you told me to look at the stamp and use it only if it was o.k. But I didn't really know what “o.k.” really was. Now I know. Do you suppose everyone looks for everything you do?
A. Ummm...I don't know.

Q. Let's ask another person who knows this job, shall we?

Q. (to second operator) What makes a good stamp?
A. Well, if its centered, shiny, no missing letters and especially if I can see the small trademark symbol, I know the machine is running well.

Q. And does that mean the part is good?
A. Of course!

(thought to myself: Back to the trainer!)

Q. Do you suppose other people look for other quality key points?
A. After that, I have to say yes, probably.

Q. Is it possible that some people don't look for some of these things?
A. Yup. That has happened as well.

Q. If we included these on the JBS, would it make your training job easier and more effective?
A. Yes, I think so.

Needless to say, we edited the all of the job breakdown sheets in the work cell.

The next step was to tackle the problem of pace and ongoing performance in the work cell. It is one thing to create a standard, it is a whole other matter to ensure that the standard is working properly. Most line trainers I come across basically feel like this:

"I know what should be happening, but often things don't work out that way."

The example above is but one of several problems with this work cell's first revision of JBS: important key points were being missed by the trainer and as a result, unknowingly introducing instability into the process. But training people in standard work is only one side of the coin. In a couple of days, I'll talk about the other side of the coin, follow-up, and how these trainers came up with a plan to determine if their training is effective and what they can do about it when it is not.

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