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The concept of "process" is at the very root of teams' being able to effectively contribute to the goals of an organization. Process thinking requires that everyone break out their paradigm of efficient or effective independent events and begin to look at the interrelationships of the steps. The business process must be viewed as an entire entity. Effective work teams must have a thorough understanding of the skills of process modeling, process flow charting, and process mapping as tools to help them define and analyze processes effectively.

Problem-solving Skills

Once the process has been clearly identified and defined, then it's up to the teams to implement improvements to that process. One of the critical prerequisite skills to being able to do that is to have good problem-solving skills. Effective teams understand how to use brainstorming as the tool to generate many ideas very quickly. Teams also must have an understanding of basic, quantitative skills that will allow them to gather, organize, analyze, and present data to support decisions. The most critical prob­lem-solving skill of all, however, is the ability to effectively utilize CEDAC (Cause-and-Effect Diagram with the Addi­tion of Cards). CEDAC is the visual management of the improvement process.

Presentation Skills

The success of a work team depends upon their relation­ship with management. That relationship can be solidified by keeping management informed of their activities. Quar­terly presentations of problem definition, solution analy­sis, and implementation results should be expected of each individual team.

C. New Application Knowledge

Improvements cannot originate from gut feel, intuition, or best guesses. New knowledge lies at the root of being able to implement new solutions. New knowledge lies at the root of new ideas. New application knowledge is critical to the success of teams in manufacturing. Whether you call it MRP II (Manufacturing Resource Planning), or JIT (Just-In-Time), teams need new basic understanding of business improvement methodology in order to implement improvements in the business.

How Adults Learn Is Important

How We Learn Is Important

Last year American businesses spent in excess of $45 bil­lion on education for the workplace.


15% retained by participants
15% of that applied to make improvements
3% return on investment


Traditional education delivery methods

"I lecture, you take notes!"

Changing directions requires new knowledge. It is critical to understand how people acquire new knowledge. In 1992, American businesses spent over $45 billion on workplace education. Recent studies, however, have shown that the results are much less than was desired. The studies show that there has been less than a 3% return on that invest­ment in education. The culprit, in most cases, is the "I lecture, you take notes" traditional delivery style that, unfortunately, most education today continues to utilize. Effective education today must understand the dynamics of what it is that helps or facilitates an adult to learn. Adults learn differently that children do. Adults come to class with much experience. This experience acts as a filter to every thing that is new. Adults do not take what is said at face value, but instead filter it through their own screen of experience to determine what is consistent with their previous experience and what is not. If it's not consistent and the instructor does not take the time to help them apply the new knowledge to their previous base of experience, the odds are that the new knowledge will be filtered out and lost forever. The solution that addresses the difference between adult learning and how children learn is called active learning.

Active Learning Description:

Active learning is an educational methodology that:
• Creates an interactive relationship between the stu­dents and the instructor
• Coaches people to make immediate application
• Fosters greater retention through practice


Utilizing proven interactive learning models such as:
• Simulation
• Critical Thinking
• Cooperative learning
• Role Playing
• Inductive Thinking
• Synectics
• Brainstorming Results:
• Better understanding
• Increased retention
• Increased ability by the students to apply the subject matter to their own environments
• Rapid profitable improvements
• Greater return on investment in education

Active learning makes education more effective by using interactive techniques to increase worker interest, worker participation, and most importantly, worker retention. The results are increased understanding, faster applica­tion of the new knowledge to the work environment, and more improvements that improve the bottom line.

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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