Job Instruction Breakdown Sheets Help Design Workcell Training

Another Job Instruction Session is almost in the can this week...

Job Breakdown Sheets help us see work in new ways. The example this week is in a workcell and with the team leader of that workcell. She wrote one job breakdown sheet for the entire job about (40 steps) in the workcell. Naturally, she had many questions:

1) "This sheet feels like it is too long, with too many steps, so we are not using this the way I think we should."

A JBS should be about 5-7 steps and no more than 10 if you can help it. Why? That's about all one person can retain in their memory. The problem she discovered was that many thought the JBS should be used as a reference. So, the natural inclination was to put it all in one sheet so it was seen as, "the book". The result is that no one really used it effectively. Bottom Line: Use the JI-KISS principle: Keep It Short & Simple.

2) "I know that breakdown sheets should be short, but I don't see anyway to break this job down any further."

To the genba we go! A further analysis of her 40 step job found logical stopping points in the job. This helped the team leader see where she could break the job down from one job into six tasks, two of them important quality checks. Doing this will help her achieve several goals that she has been struggling to meet:

Emphasizing quality checks. Breaking the quality checks out separately will help emphasize the key points of the job.

Meeting production goals. Currently, she does a lot of follow-up when training people because the training process is so lengthy - due to the one, 40 step JBS. By breaking it into six parts, she can train a person in one part and monitor the person in the workcell while working on the other five parts. Her plan will be to stagger the training throughout the day, and this is easier for her to do if the job is in smaller, digestible chunks. Bottom Line: the trainee is trained on the job, the team lead maintains a reasonable production level vs. zero, and she can monitor the trainee at the same time.

3) "We have loaded up the JBS with pictures. Should we have done that?"

Visual training aids are great. Pictures do speak a thousand words. Still, I hesitate to load up the pictures in a JBS for several reasons and only do so as a last resort:

Pictures often need updating. Products, materials, methods and tools will change as kaizen continues. Pictures need to be updated accordingly. This makes the cost of training go up and the delays of effective training increase. And if the JBS isn't updated immediately, the credibility of management support functions diminishes. Worse yet, the trainer is more inclined to NOT use the JBS because it is not up-to-date: "that isn't right anyway, so I'll just wing it."

Physical or Visual Aids in the Workplace are Better. If you are showing somebody how to route a flexible cable circuit through a molded assembly, nothing beats a physical model of the work itself. Make up a sample and keep it at the point of use. Your training aid is always up-to-date this way because the worker can create a new sample as needed. Picture maintenance is no longer required. This helps us also understand why the best JBS are usually written in pencil: the leaders in the area change it immediately to reflect the best standardized workplace practice.

Pictures work BEST when there is no other way to train. Sometimes a picture on the JBS is necessary. Perhaps you need a diagram of an assembly. Or perhaps a keypoint is related to something that can not be seen in the workplace, so a picture helps you describe the keypoint better. In a past life, a technician used x-rays of welded assemblies (he kept them from inspections) to show me how certain structures we designed were made. In this case the picture helped him do a better job of training.

The key point here is this:

The JBS is an aid FOR the trainer, it is NOT meant to replace her.

If your intent is to have documents replace your trainers, then you do not need Job Instruction Training, you need technical writers and illustrators.

Hopefully these tips help you like they are helping this team leader.

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