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Task information constitutes one axis of the skills/task matrix. The second axis, individual ability to contribute, is constructed with consideration of not just current work but all the knowledge and experience workers possess. Our discussion of data collection for the second axis uses real examples from a company we'll call ABC Mfg.

For this 300 person manufacturer of medical products we developed a questionnaire that asks every employee, direct and indirect, salaried and hourly, to record the number of months of experience they have under these headings:

DEPARTMENT CURRENTLY WORKING: lists every manufacturing and operations support group.

LIST OTHER DEPTS. AT ASC MFG. YOU HAVE WORKED IN: repeats all the departments and provides for "other" to pick up closed or name changed departments.

COMPUTER SKILLS: four lines list: Cad/Cam Usage, CNC Programming, Computer Programming and Data Entry.

GENERAL SKILLS: includes generic skills like Blueprint Reading, Carpentry and Typing plus 22 others relevant to ABC Mfg.

FACTORY SUPPORT MACHINES: covers experience at ABC Mfg. and anywhere else on plant-wide systems includ­ing refrigerated air coolers, rotary air compressors, ex­haust fans, etc.

MACHINE LIST: every significant machine type in the plant from ABAR to WELDING is included. Workers identify the number of months of their experience under these labels: (a) CURRENT JOB (b) PAST AT ABC MFG. (c) OUTSIDE EXPERIENCE, and in a separate section: (d) OPERATE (e) SETUP (0 MAINTAIN, and (g) PROGRAM.

QUALITY TASKS AND MACHINES: identifies all QC and QA activity. OTHER TASKS YOU HAVE LEARNED TO DO AND MACHINES YOU CAN OPERATE: wherever the knowledge or ability was acquired.


WHAT DO YOU DO BEST? is the one place a personal qualitative assessment is required. Respondents rate them­selves Good, Better or Best for 10 designated kinds of work. Team leaders who use these preference indicators get better results from individual assignments and training.

Questionnaires are completed in group sessions. The pur­pose of the exercise and how the information will be used is carefully explained. Follow-up individual interviews are conducted as necessary to improve data quality.
Adding capability to reported experience and deter mining the significance of each task to the team's objectives allows conclusions to be drawn, options to be identified and good decisions to be made.

The matrix, presenting comparative information pictorially, speeds the decision process. The mail room task matrix for Mary Jones in Figure 1 illustrates its value.

After an initial evaluation a PC database, located in the department, enables weekly or bi-weekly reviews with Mary. In some companies the entire team conducts open reviews of all the people to record demonstrated capability.

The dates on the matrix provide signals for the team; they tell when personal progress was last made, identify indi­vidual capability and the level of support Mary needs to perform the tasks.

To be Continued

For balance of this article, click on the below link:
Lean Manufacturing Articles and go to Series 02



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