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Life Cycle Management—A Trainer's Perspective

The general theme running through this paper and the presentation is that it is crucial that one have a plan which reflects the training requirements of both the organization and the individuals who make up the organization. This suggests that, like any other product or service, the life cycle of training requires some sort of management. I do not intend to cover this aspect in any great detail here; however suffice it to say that there is a cycle for training which begins with the definition of the objectives and ends when the training module or session is "retired." Each organization will decide how formal or informal the process will be; however, I would suggest that you look at how other products and/or services are brought to market and pattern the delivery of training to reflect that process. Since training should be part of any product life cycle process, it should not be difficult to demonstrate that logical planning for all training makes good business sense. Certainly, definition of objectives is a good starting point since there must be definition of what the training is to accomplish before the training session, the "product," is designed and, then, there must be some sort of review of the development process to help the trainer ensure that design is on track with requirements. Now, we want to keep track of training delivery, changes, currency, and so forth as we go into "production and delivery" and the training product ma­tures. Finally, and this is often the phase trainers tend to ignore as do many manufacturing organizations, there must be a conscious decision to end the life of a training module, class, etc. As long as the module, course, etc. exists, it must be maintained and that takes time and effort which well might be spent in more fruitful pursuits. Don't allow training materials to "hang around" simply because you hope they'll die of their own weight. When you feel the end is in sight, notify any interested parties of your intent to discontinue with the rationale associated with the decision to include any substitute offerings and other issues. Then, formally announce the retirement, archive any residual materials, and remove the module, course, etc. from catalogues, course lists, databases, and the like.

Just as there is no magic in MRPII, JIT, ERP, TQM, and all the other acronyms in and out of vogue, there is no magic in organizational training wellness. One does not become well just by wishing it so—we go to health clubs and run, lift weights, ride bikes, climb Stairmasters, play racquet-ball, and all sorts of other things to keep our physical condition up to par and training is no different. Training wellness is hard work and requires a plan much like any other kind of wellness—awareness, diagnosis, prescrip­tion, implementation, and follow-up or feedback with at­tendant changes. Like wellness, training works better if there is a flexible, long-range treatment plan which allows problems to be addressed systematically, allows for pre­ventive measures to address problems proactively, and allows for emergency treatment of unexpected problems. And a spoonful of sugar still makes the medicine go down, which means we must consider the "patient," whom we prefer to refer to as students, as we develop our treatment plan. Or, if manufacturing terminology is more to your liking—practice JIT training by delivering what is needed, when it is needed, in the quantity needed, to the proper audience—a "training pull system." The message?—make your training time, personnel, and dollars count—no train­ing for the sake of training, and you've eliminated waste and continuously improved!

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


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