3 essential supervisory skills and lean business


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In a lean business environment, the role of the Supervisor requires 3 essential skills. They are easy to learn and will help create excellent supervisory staff to help you meet your business improvement goals

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3 essential supervisory skills and lean business

  1. 1. Essential Supervisory Skills and Lean BusinessA modern approach to Lean Business and the Training WithinIndustry framework utilised by the TWI Institutes worldwide, definesthe term “Supervisor” as being used to describe ANYONE who isaccountable for the work of other people. In other words, in a lean business environment the Supervisor does not actually do the work in the work area, they lead a group of people who do. The word “lead” is important … to be a good Supervisor, you must be a good leader. A poor leader will be a poor Supervisor.It is generally acknowledged that there are 5 needs of the Supervisorand when looking to implement business improvement methods aimed atcreating a lean business model the TWI framework elements of JobRelations, Job Instruction and Job Methods will ensure these needs aremet._____________________________________________The 5 Needs of the Supervisor are a combination ofknowledge and skills. 1. Knowledge of the work. 2. Knowledge of their responsibilities. 3. Skill in managing work area relations. 4. Skill in teaching the work. 5. Skill in improving the work.
  2. 2. The first three needs of the Supervisor are all encompassed in having excellent Job Relations Skills in addition to having a good understanding of the work being done in their area.Knowledge / Work:The specifics of this work will be industry and workplace specifichowever, although the Supervisor may not be the most skilled atthe work being undertaken, they must have the understanding ofwhat is done and how it is being done.Knowledge / Responsibilities:A good Supervisor knows and understands the policies and rules ofthe organisation for which they work. They must always act andbehave in accordance with organisational polices and workplacerules.Skill / Workplace Relations:An effective Supervisor will gain the respect of the people in theirwork area. Not every Supervisor is a natural leader, however byapplying the skills found in the Job Relations (JR) element of theTraining Within Industry framework, the skills of an effectiveSupervisor can be learnt and respect in the workplace gained. The remaining two needs of the Supervisor can be met with a good Job Instruction and Job Methods awareness and application.Skill / Teaching the work:The Supervisor, if they are going to be effective in getting otherpeople to do the work required, must be good at teaching the work.This is very very different from being able to do the work. The skillof teaching is special, but it can be learnt.This skill is called Job Instruction (JI). It is very unlikely that thebest ‘doer’ of the work will also be the best person to teach how todo the work, yet we often give the role of educating the ‘learner’ tothat person. We should always put the ‘learner’ with the person inthe workplace who is best at applying the skill of Job Instruction.By applying the skill of Job Instruction, someone with reasonableknowledge of the work, can become a brilliant teacher.
  3. 3. Skill / Improving the work. A supervisor must have the correct skills to be effective in improving ‘the work’ in their area of responsibility. The skill required is that of applying Job Methods (JM). So often we think improvement is all about knowledge of the tools. We go to courses and training that tell us all about the tools of workplace improvement – kanban, Just In Time, etc. However, without a vehicle for applying these tools, the tools are generally not used other than for a short period of time. Genuine improvement is about improvement forever. Improvement forever requires a skill, that skill is Job Methods._____________________________________________These 3 essential skills for Supervisors can belearnt.With practice, people can become brilliant at them. In nearly all caseshowever we assume that the Supervisor has these skills. OurSupervisors are promoted because they were good at doing the work.This does not mean they will be good at leading the workers. Often, we ignore the fact that they need the 3 skills – Job Relations, Job Instruction and Job Methods, and that if they are lacking in any , it is our necessary that they be taught them. The TWI Institute Australia teaches the 3 essential skills, and coaches and mentors the practice and application of these skills in the workplace. They are embedded in the work of the Supervisor when each becomes a habit.Not all 3 skills should be learnt and practiced at once.Job Relations (JR) and Job Instruction (JI) build stability in the work area.
  4. 4. Stability means consistent supply of a product or service little variation in quality and productivity. Achieving stability itself will reduce costs. Variation in quality means rejects and rework, both of these cost money (actually 3 to 4 times the original cost of production). Variation in productivity can mean late deliveries and therefore an unhappy customer (who will then buy next time from someone else). Once stability has been achieved, the Job Methods (JM) method can be applied in order to improve operational performance. The focus is more on improving productivity – making tasks simpler. In many cases, the solutions lie within the common tools of lean._____________________________________________Each of the 3 skills will now be explained in more detail. The ordershown is that recommended for application in most work places.This is not however standard and does vary from work site to worksite. Job Relations (JR) People must be treated as individuals. Applying JR builds positive employee relations, increases cooperation and motivation, and effectively resolves conflict. Job Relations teaches the four foundations of positive employee relations. By applying these four foundations, good relationships will be developed and maintained. This reduces the likelihood of problems arising and is paramount to earning loyalty and cooperation from others in the work area. When problems do arise, Job Relations teaches a proven method of getting the facts, weighing options, deciding, taking action, and checking results. Benefits experienced from practicing Job Relations include increased productivity, improved attendance, better morale, and higher employee retention rates.
  5. 5. Job Instruction (JI)Applying JI means quickly training employees to remember how todo a job correctly, safely, and conscientiously. Demands of developing a flexible workforce, and “not enough training time” for employees, requires a strong and reliable method of teaching the work that occurs in the work area. Job Instruction teaches the Supervisor: • How to prepare for the training of employees, in particular how to effectively breakdown tasks. • An effective and proven 4-Step method for the teaching of the tasks.The most important aspect of getting ready is preparation of theJob Instruction Breakdown (JIB). This tool is the “recipe” the Supervisor uses to teach the task. The JIB contains 3 columns: • The Important Steps – the what. • The Key Points – the how (the 20% of the work critical to quality, productivity and safety). • The Reasons for each Key Point – why the how is critical.Explaining the reason to the learner helps embed the Key Point. Itgives the learner an explanation of why the Key Point must be followed.Understanding increases the likelihood of the Key Point being done. It isconsidered by many that variation in Key Points is the root cause of poorarea performance in terms of quality, productivity and safety. The actual instructing is a 4-Step method based on the content of the JIB. There are 2 key aspects of the actual instructing part of JI: • The demonstration of the task by the Supervisor is based on “tell, show and illustrate” – listen, watch and understand why. • The learner is provided information gradually, not in one big lumpBenefits experienced when practicing Job Instruction arereduced training time, less scrap and rework, feweraccidents, and increased job satisfaction.
  6. 6. Job Methods (JM) Applying JM means improving the way jobs are done mainly for continual improvement of productivity, and quality and safety. The aim of the program is to produce greater quantities of quality products in less time by making the best use of the currently available people, machines, and materials. “Currently available” is critical. JM does not mean spending a lot of money on improvement. It does mean focussing on what is already available, and making better use of those resources. The JM method teaches how to break down jobs into their constituent steps. Every detail is questioned in a strict and systematic manner to generate ideas for improvement. New methods are developed by eliminating, combining, rearranging, and simplifying steps in the process.Job Methods yields significant benefits including reducedcost through productivity gains, increased throughput, andreduced work in process._____________________________________________SummaryJR, JI and JM are the 3 essential skills for effective supervision.Effective supervision means leading a group of workers who reliablyproduce a quality product or service, and who continually improve. The 3skills need to be learnt by the Supervisor and then continually androutinely practiced after which they will be a habit. Once they are ahabit, an excellent foundation has been laid for sustained andgenuine continuous improvement._____________________________________________ Our program is intensely practical, allowing your staff to go beyond the value of classroom learning, to gain the long term benefits of really knowing how to apply that learning in the workplace. If you are committed to continuous improvement, or do not have someone directly accountable for implementing change – we can facilitate business and workplace improvements in-line with your business objectives. Visit www.vwaust.com.au