"More training" is a common response to issues that pop up in the organization. Possibly that's true, sometimes. I think that if people are involved then Murphy's Law holds, "If anything can go wrong, then it will go wrong".
So, maybe, we need to set up our processes so they cannot go wrong, a concept known as 'poka-yoke' that can be seen every day from wall plugs that cannot be inserted the wrong way into outlets (without tools) or the lightning connectors on iPhones that work no matter how they are installed.
Another thought on training came to mind recently. A company I work with was implementing their first ERP system. Previously everything had been done with paper processes. Needless to say the transition was a real challenge. The implementation had been planned so that things would go right and people would understand the new system quickly.
Shop employees were having to enter clockin and job data for the first time. Their training consisted of the lead foreman showing a dozen people gathered around a computer how to use the entry screens.
Would it surprise you to know that missing or incorrect entries suddenly cropped up? Unfortunately Murphy's Law struck again.
(Hope is a lousy CI strategy, anyway!)
Of course, when the foreman was called in to give an account of what happened, he swore that he had trained all of the employees thoroughly as he had been shown. When he walked away, embarrassed, he immediately called a meeting of all the shop employees and dressed them down. "I showed you all how to enter the data properly on the entry screens. Do it right or get fired!"
From there things got worse as people tried to figure out a system they didn't understand in the first place.
It wasn't until a person went around training each individual on the entry screens that things improved.
First the person showed the correct steps and then let the individual try them out, correcting their mistakes and generally staying calm. One by one, until all employees had been trained. After that, things rapidly or better as people learned the system.
Sure, there were still some mistakes, but they were honest ones and not repeated because the people now understood what was required of them and how to achieve it.
Were both methods really considered "training"? I suppose so, but only if accompanied by the words effective or poor - that is the only way both methods qualify as training.
Enjoy the odd but enjoyable weather. All the best.
I'm going to be speaking at Montgomery Community College during a Wednet information session June 18. I have an all-new Lean Overview presentation that I'm excited about because it contains something for people new to the topic as well as experienced implementers. Click here to learn more and register for the session. Hope to see you there!
The topic of Lean in the construction industry will be the focus of the next webinar I'm going to be co-hosting on July 25 along with Howard Zwick and the friendly folks at CPA Technology, LLC. Won't you join us? Registration links not available yet. Stay tuned.
If you want to learn more about a structured CI process, I have a Lean Practitioner Certification class starting in September. Check the website for more information under 'Training Events'. You can access the page byclicking here.
If you're an old hand at Lean and are ready for a new challenge why not try some Six Sigma Green Belt training? It's still CI but with a different toolkit based on data and statistics to go after different problems. Project coaching is part of the course to help walk you through applying new concepts to your company issues. A new class starts in August. Check the website for more information under 'Training Events'. You can access the page by clicking here.
"If you do what you've always done, you get what you always got"
This may be OK if you are trying to implement standard work - not so much if you are shooting for continuous improvement.
CI Terms Defined
" Standard Work"
There is so much to talk about with this term that I could spend days talking about it! - (Oh, wait...I have....repeatedly....)
Still, there is a lot of variation around the definition (oh, the irony!) Some people call it the 'current best practice' while still others call it the 'detailed definition of the most efficient method....'
For me I say Standard Work is the one best way to accomplish a task in terms of safety, quality, delivery, and cost.
It could be as simple as following the recipe on the back of a box of cake mix (Preheat oven to 375 first, then take 2 room temperature eggs...)
Standard work could also be in something as complex as making a part for the military. It is present in all things we do on a regular basis.
One key is that people performing the work must be involved in developing the standard or it will not be followed.
A second key is that standard work can be changed as new methods are developed. The famous quote by Taiichi Ohno, "Without standards there can be no kaizen" reminds us that standard work is the current baseline from which to improve.
Video Links from Youtube:
Problems in Supervision- This 13 minute video on Youtube is from WWII and illustrates the types of training I referred to above. It's worth watching just to see Rosie the Riveters in action!
The Expert- A 7.5 minute short comedy sketch about a team launching a new project. Part of an on-going series. You might show this video before your next kickoff meeting.