Hidden Benefits of Job Instruction - Part 1

There are several basic things you do when practicing the skill of instruction:

1) Creating Timetables
2) Writing Job Breakdown Sheets
3) Readying the workplace with correct tools, materials, equipment, etc.
4) Organizing the workplace as it will be used,
5) Training using the 4 step method
6) Following up with people and adjusting plans

Let's focus on some of the hidden benefits of each of these Job Instruction components that come with experience in using the skill of instruction. First, what is the primary purpose of Creating Timetables? The primary reason we use a time table is to plan our training. A timetable plan is a record of our answers to the following questions:

Who will get trained?
When they will get trained?
What will they be trained in?
Who will train them?

But there are more benefits than just having a plan to operate to. When used with a bias towards continuous improvement, these planning questions are asked in response to workplace problems such as quality, productivity, delivery, safety or cost related problems that can be solved through standardization and training.

First Benefit to using Timetables: What gets your attention, gets done.

When your team sees you developing a plan that includes their personal skill develop, you are apt to get their buy-in. When you tie completion dates, improvement of quality, reduction of cost and improvement safety to their training and their development you will get more buy-in. And when you include them in the development of Job Breakdown Sheets - you are sharing in the ownership of the process with your team. Use the Timetable as a planning and management tool for your team and you will see things get done. Make it a part of your KPIs and you will see good things happen. Use the timetable as a rally tool around problems that involve training. This is not limited to operations departments...you can apply this skill to engineering teams, marketing, sales and other support functions. The objectives may change, but the skill of planning does not.

Second Benefit to using Timetables: Demonstrate Return on Training Investment.

If you use the timetable to help the team spot problems, record them and plan for solving them through training, you can demonstrate to others that training can pay off. Example: scrap is on the rise again on one of three shifts. A discussion with all of the shift leads reveals that adjustments are made by the operators during operation. Adjustments cause the product to drift out of spec from time-to-time. A review of the Job Breakdown Sheet reveals that the key point regarding the adjustment isn't specific enough to keep the process in control. The Job Breakdown Sheet is updated and the supervisor notes on the Timetable when each of the operators on the shifts will get retrained on the updated process. Too many times, these types of corrective actions go unaccounted for. By formalizing the planning, standardization and improvement cycle of how people train we can see in concrete terms how training pays off.

Third Benefit to using Timetables: Demonstrate a commitment to development of your people.

When people see that there is a plan for them, when they see that you are thinking about them and taking action, what do you suppose is going through their mind? For some they may feel uneasy. For others, they may be excited. A few may mutter, "It's about time!" If you follow through on your plan, in the long run the team will realize that we are in this together and for each other.

Summary: If you use a time table, you are modeling one of the high quality leadership behavior traits: duty. We need tools to help us do what is required of us for the benefit of our team. A time table is a concrete way of illustrating just how we are trying to compete in this world: by maximizing the potential of our people.

In Part 2 of Hidden Benefits, we'll uncover some of the gems found when writing Job Breakdown Sheets.

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