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 A Production Team Skills Article

Part 4 of 4


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There are traps to avoid. Some people are reluctant to acknowledge their ability, rating themselves as requiring more support than necessary; others are inclined to over­state their capability. A total-team approach to reviews minimizes this problem as peer pressure is brought to bear.

When in doubt, structure simple, on-the-job demonstra­tions so the employee can demonstrate qualification.

When an employee announces or accepts a rating they commit to performance. Forcing that commitment or ac­cepting one inappropriately would be a major mistake. Far better to hold back, continue to provide support and con­duct performance reviews until the team and the indi­vidual agree.
With a record established for each employee the team is ready to evaluate its combined talent levels. Figure 2 describes a way to project team strengths. (A number associated with the capability headings describes ability— 5 = "Can Train", 1 = "Has Not Done The Job")

Figure 2 makes clear the team's strengths and vulnerabil­ity. Smith is capable on the incoming and outgoing tasks 1, 2, 5 & 6 but has never made up the mail cart or run the routes. Niles alone is fully capable of cart make up and routes but has little demonstrated ability for anything else. Only Jones has the ability to pigeon hole sort incoming mail without help. Failure to perform this task means failure to deliver the mail. Consider the consequences of Jones & Niles absent on the same day.

Further study reveals anomalies and invites questions. Is Adams considered incapable of learning serious tasks and Niles only capable of tasks 3 & 4? Why? Who will train 4 & 5? Would you start training on 7 before 6, on 4 before 3?

Adding a simple weighing formula to the information as shown in Figure 3, relates the importance of each task to the accomplishment of the team's objectives.

The RATING FACTOR is the relative value given to the task.

We multiply the TEAM RAW TOTAL (the sum of the ratings of all team members) by the RATING FACTOR to get FACTORED TOTAL. Dividing TEAM RAW TOTAL by FACTORED TOTAL and multiplying by 100 gives CAN DO RATIO expressed as a percentage. These ratios provide the focusing element the team needs to decide where they are most vulnerable, where training is required and how serious the condition is.

This simple example does not do justice to the difficulties of the identification and factoring questions to be an­swered. In a modern machine shop, for example, separat­ing NC Machine Programming, Set-Up and Operating tasks is essential. When training takes a long time, re­quires special schools or has a high drop-out rate, the team may include a Learning Curve factor. Also, as bottle neck operations change, the RATING FAC­TORS must be modified.

This portrayal of an imbalance of capability is not an exception. It is typical even in groups, like a mail room, where a team-like structure has been in place for a long time. Consider what the profile looks like when a team is created from disparate functional departments. Identify­ing the needs and matching the skills in a way that allows rational assignment and training decisions is not nice to have, it's essential.

There are traps to avoid. Some people are reluctant to acknowledge their ability, rating themselves as requiring more support than necessary; others are inclined to over­state their capability. A total-team approach to reviews minimizes this problem as peer pressure is brought to bear.

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


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