Suggested Change to Job Instruction Sessions - Training Matrix

Posting has been extremely tough in 2010...my new job is all consuming and trying to balance the demanding workload with the most important priority, family, has put TWI Service and Blog way down on the list of priorities. Nevertheless, I feel that I should share my experiences with TWI with my fellow management practitioners. To that end, I will continue to try and post at least once per month from this point forward. 

Last month, I wrote about reversing the sequence of your kaizen effort: kaizen teian first, kaizen events last. That post was inspired by the experience I've had over the past ten years with kaizen events and what I call the mainstream formula for lean implementation: go kaizen event crazy. However, over time I found that coaching one-on-one, standards development and encouraging people to make small kaizens (kaizen teian) within their control is FAR more effective and LASTING than most kaizen events sponsored by coercive management and well funded with high priced consultants.

This month is similar with my TWI experience: switch the session sequence. I have a suggestion for TWI trainers and practitioners: start with session three which deals with the time table, or, in modern terms - a training matrix.

First of all, creating a time table is part of the planning phase of Job Instruction Training. In fact, it is Step I of preparation of training: by asking questions about our production needs with training in mind, we come up with a plan. What changes require training? What training will address the change or problem? Who needs to be trained? When will I train them? Basic questions like this help us figure out a plan. 

In a standard Job Instruction session, you will go through an introduction to JI and then in session two, be introduced to the Job Breakdown sheet, which is Step 2 of preparing to instruct. In session three, only then are we introduced to the training matrix and its purpose.

The danger in introducing Step Two (Job Breakdown Sheet) before Step One (Training Matrix) is that people get really excited about writing the Job Breakdown sheets and subsequently, lose focus on the problem, which is preventing problems through training. It is only through the Training Matrix that we are challenged to consider changes in personnel, production, design, equipment, materials, orders, standards, etc. 

In simple terms, by introducing Job Breakdowns before the Training Matrix, we are encouraging people to skip a step in the Job Instruction PDCA cycle. The illustration below may make this more clear:

Strange, no? We jump to last half of the process first, not unlike many lean practitioners today jumping feet first into a kaizen event, with little understanding of the problem beforehand. Why then, are the sessions rearranged all out of order? The main reason is the selling point. Nobody gets jazzed up about making a training matrix. But they do get excited when they see the JI demonstration and begin to breakdown their own jobs and see how well the training can work. 

Lesson Learned? The sequence the sessions isn't the priority, but just remember, the sessions are for you to practice ALL of the steps of instruction, not just breakdown sheets. So, please don't forget the Training Matrix. And remember that it is a planning tool that is aimed at your problems that can be solved through training.

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