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Production Activity Control—What do I do when and to whom?

You've now decided what training is required and when and how it will be "manufactured," using in-house capabili­ties, outside resources, or some combination of those capa­bilities. The task now is to schedule the delivery of training to the recipients, students, trainees, associates, or what­ever title you've ascribed to the employees. But, before your decide when, you need to decide what needs to be delivered based on what the students already know. This implies that your review of the training records of your students revealed some sort of logical groups based on what they've had in the past. For example, don't go through the calculus derivation of the EOQ formula with someone whose last math class was long division in 1966—that student may only need to know when to use EOQ and when not to use it. It only makes sense to group your students, if that is possible, so you can target the training more accurately and deliver the level and depth required by the group. If grouping doesn't seem possible, try and use the individuals with prior experience as "associate trainers" or, if it's a hands-on class, intersperse them with the less ready as peer tutors. Beware, however, of the more advanced individuals racing through the materials and leaving the folks who need more up-front preparation in the training dust - this simply means that the lead trainer must stay in control of the learning environment. Of course, if you can develop or provide self-paced or adaptive learning packets which allows students to proceed at their own pace, that would be ideal but, very often, that is not an option.

The next question must address the "when" of delivery. There may be a serious time constraint or you may be able to approach the training in a bit more leisurely manner. If the objective is to bring up a new piece of software, then you want everyone ready when the software is installed and ready; however, if the objective is to develop a sensitivity to customer satisfaction, then there may be a little more time available for delivery. The point is that we should try deliver the training during normal work time or part on work time and part on compensated non-work time, unless there is an overriding reason not to. Compensated does not necessarily mean overtime pay , maybe its compensatory time, or company provided pizza, subs or whatever as a part of the training day, or some other innovative way of showing the students that the organization appreciates the time spent. Don't make training punitive—if one doesn't want to be there, it will be a miracle if any learning takes place and the desired changes take place in the "way we do business." This means, don't seek phony "operational reasons" to run after hour and weekend training sessions
for "required training"—if it's important, it's worth on-duty time. When the training or the skill learned are perceived as valuable to the organization and the indi­vidual, then learning is an enjoyable, meaningful experi­ence. Now you're well on your way to becoming the learning organization outlined by Peter Senge and others who have tried to show us that training and the organization are two separate entities but rather part of a synergistic whole. As a wellness activity, training is prescribed in response to a diagnosed need—one does not take prescription drugs "just because," one takes them to treat a recognized ailment.

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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