The training within industry approach resurges in US

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One of the universal problems that has always plagued American industry is the need to standardize job processes and ensure that each person who performs those processes does so effectively and the same way each time. Another problem facing industry today is the need to capture all of the information and knowledge of senior employees, and instill that knowledge and experience into new employees so they don’t have to continue to make the same mistakes as their predecessors. As a large percentage of Baby Boomers have begun to retire and leave the workforce, it is now important to instill within a new generation the skills and knowledge that have taken some employees a generation to acquire.

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The training within industry approach resurges in US

  1. 1. The Training Within Industry Approach Resurges in the U.S. Workforce Friday, November 08, 2013 - by Denny Hall Send to Kindle The principles and concepts taught through job instruction training are still as relevant and critical to business success today as they were almost 70 years ago. One of the universal problems that has always plagued American industry is the need to standardize job processes and ensure that each person who performs those processes does so effectively and the same way each time. Another problem facing industry today is the need to capture all of the information and knowledge of senior employees, and instill that knowledge and experience into new employees so they don’t have to continue to make the same mistakes as their predecessors. As a large percentage of Baby Boomers have begun to retire and leave the workforce, it is now important to instill within a new generation the skills and knowledge that have taken some employees a generation to acquire. A storied solution The Training Within Industry (TWI) approach to workforce training and development was created at a time when those needs were at their greatest: during World War II. Originally developed through the War Manpower Commission, the TWI module—job instruction (JI) training—was designed to help companies train unskilled workers more quickly on jobs that required critical skills. By the end of the war, U.S. workers all over the country had been trained to do their jobs using JI. The success of the program speaks for itself. Not only did the U.S. and Allied forces win the war, but many manufacturing companies in the United States had improved their overall production efficiency, all the while using a vast majority of workers who had no previous experience in an industrial environment before the war started. After the war, the United States established an occupational government in Japan to assist in rebuilding their industrial infrastructure. The Americans brought several programs such as TWI with them. Many Japanese companies used the principles taught within TWI as the building blocks for their production systems. Fast-forward to today, and you’ll find many of those same Japanese companies still teaching JI in almost exactly the same way it was taught to them more than 60 years ago.
  2. 2. Step by step During the past few years, TWI and JI have begun to make a resurgence in American industry once again. Since JI is based on the fundamental principle of breaking a large process down into smaller, "bite-sized" subprocesses, people can learn to perform the larger process more efficiently and in a shorter period of time. In addition, it takes newer employees much less time to become acclimated to their work environment by allowing them to more clearly understand the most critical elements of the job. The primary tool used in JI training is the JI breakdown sheet, which divides each process into three elements: important steps, key points, and reasons. The important steps are defined as those phases within an operation where something happens to “advance the work.” It is only intended to capture the “important” steps, and not every conceivable step within a process. This provides employees with the minimum amount of information that has to be learned at one time, both increasing their information retention and minimizing the time required to reach competency. The second column on the breakdown sheet defines the key points for each important step. There are three categories for key points:    those factors related to employee safety those factors that will “make or break” the job (that is to say the critical aspects of the step where a focus on quality or performance may be required) the “knacks, tricks, or special timing” that make the work easier to do. In other words, all the information that was gained over time or took an experienced employee a while to figure out. The key points of any process are by far the most important part of the JI breakdown sheet. The ability to effectively identify and articulate key points within a given job will greatly improve the employee’s ability to truly understand how to perform it. The final column on the breakdown sheet contains the reasons, which explain why each key point must be followed. They also may answer what might happen if a key point is not followed. Historically, reasons are the part of employee training that often is explained incorrectly or never explained. By training employees to understand the reasons why things are done a certain way, they become equipped with a better overall understanding of the process. How often have you asked an employee, "Why do you have to do that?" and he responds, "That’s the way I was taught." Equipping employees with the reason why will go a long way to helping them develop ideas for improvements within a job. By understanding what to do (important steps), how it needs to be done (key points), and why it needs to be done that way (reasons), employees will not only have all the information that is needed to successfully perform a process, but also have the knowledge necessary to make it better. Preparing trainers
  3. 3. Although having an accurate breakdown sheet is necessary for JI training to be successful, the need to have competent and effective trainers also is critical to its success. Often employee training is not effective because trainers don’t do a good enough job effectively communicating the right information to the trainees and knowing if that information was accurately received. As a result, variation becomes the norm within many processes because people do the job differently each time. To help eliminate this problem, all would-be JI trainers go through 10 hours of classroom training to learn the proper technique for writing and delivering JI breakdown sheets. The 10 hours of training are broken down into two-hour sessions over five consecutive days. The intent of the five-day approach is to provide the trainers with an opportunity to practice the method outside of the classroom. During the first four hours of class, students are given a general training overview and shown several ineffective approaches to training. They also are taught the four-step method of JI training, and the steps required before conducting it. Under the direction of the instructor, the would-be JI trainers practice writing a JI breakdown on a job from the workplace. In preparation for the third day of class, students are assigned the task of writing their own JI breakdown sheets on a process within their operational areas. They also are required to bring to the classroom the tools, materials, equipment, and anything else that will be needed to perform the process. The remainder of the 10 hours is spent allowing the students time to practice the method by training their fellow students on how to perform the JI breakdown in a simulated work environment. Because the students only have one opportunity to practice the four-step method in the classroom, they are required to practice the skill on their own after they graduate from the 10hour class. Only through continued coaching and practice over several weeks can a student truly become an effective JI trainer. Since most processes require that multiple JI breakdown sheets are written, the JI trainer can both practice writing the sheets and also train others on the most effective way to perform those processes. Expansion Although JI was primarily used in the manufacturing sector, many organizations outside of manufacturing began to see its relevance as well. By the end of World War II, many hospitals and healthcare facilities were using it to train nurses and nursing assistants on the proper techniques for administering medical treatments, using needles and IVs, and even properly completing housekeeping and hygiene procedures. Since the principles taught in JI are universal, it can be used in any application for which an individual is required to perform a task. Material handling and transportation, computer and technical services, and healthcare administration are just a few of the industries outside of manufacturing where JI is effectively being used today.
  4. 4. Organizations outside of the manufacturing sector are beginning to see the need to embrace ideas such as lean manufacturing. More specifically, they see the need to eliminate unnecessary waste and the need for a streamlined approach to process training. As we roll ever further into the 21st century, continuous improvement and the need for excellence will continually force companies to identify ways to perform tasks better, faster, and cheaper. It’s good to know that fundamental approaches such as JI training are never changing and are just as effective today. Job Instruction Training Four-Step Method Step 1: Prepare the student      Put the students at ease. Tell them the name of the job. Find out what they already know. Get the students interested in learning the job. Place the students in the correct positions. Step 2: Present the operation      Tell, show, and demonstrate each important step one at a time. Tell, show, and demonstrate each important step with key points. Tell, show, and demonstrate each important step with key points and reasons for the key points. Instruct clearly, completely, and patiently. Do not give them more information than they can master at one time. Step 3: Try out performance      Have them try the job while you correct any errors. Have them do the job again while explaining the important steps. Have them do the job again while explaining the important steps and key points. Have them do the job again while explaining the important steps, key points, and reasons for the key points. Repeat the step until you know they understand. Step 4: Follow up      Let them work on their own. Assign someone they can go to for help. Check on them frequently. Encourage them to ask questions. Gradually reduce the extra coaching and close follow-up.
  5. 5. Use of Job Instruction Training at the Kohler Company The Kohler Company facility in Union City, Tennessee, needed to develop a training program that ensured all production operators were following the standard operating procedures that had been written for its bathtub and shower door production processes. Process variation was very high throughout the plant, specifically in the glass department. Since the department ran four different production crews on rotating 12-hour schedules, each crew had developed its own way of setting up the operational equipment. Traditionally each crew would change the set-up parameters of the previous crew, which caused a significant amount of downtime due to operational inefficiency. Job instruction (JI) training was introduced to the glass department, and JI breakdown sheets were written for the set-up processes. Each operator on the four crews was then trained on the proper set-up process using the JI model. During the next three months, the glass department saw a significant decrease in variation. After everyone was trained on the "one best way," the machine set-up times were reduced significantly. During that same period, the glass department also reported an improvement in labor efficiency resulting from the improved production capability of their operational equipment. In addition, JI training led to a reduction in the overall time to competency for new employees in the department. After the initial success, JI training was implemented throughout the rest of the facility. Many of the operators who had been doing the same job for many years stated that they were glad to finally learn the "right way" to do the job they had performed for so long. Details Communities of Practice: Learning & Development Authored By:  Denny Hall Denny Hall has worked in the training and development field for more than 13 years. His primary expertise is in the area of industrial training system design and development. He has worked with the Training Within Industry job instruction (JI) training model for seven years and has used it at two different organizations. Hall’s team at Marvin Windows and Doors of Tennessee received a 2008 ASTD BEST Award for successfully incorporating JI training into Marvin's new-hire orientation program.

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