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Change Management 


PART III. 

 

As each volunteer enacts his or her chosen manufacturing "waste," the presenter requests everyone else to identify it. The author has discovered from teaching this important subject that students in classes where role playing was utilized had a significantly higher retention of the nine wastes at a later date than those students who were simply given a list to copy down during a lecture on the topic.

Finally, cooperative learning in relation to the order entry procedure will be discussed. As with the previous business models, process thinking and flow modeling should be developed in the initial stage. In this exercise, the session leader breaks the entire group into smaller teams of three or four students to explore improved efficiency. Each team is engaged in a critical study of one aspect of the larger process of order entry, such as, 1) taking the order from the customer, 2) determining an appropriate promise date, 3) obtaining credit approval, 4) receiving updated engineer­ing bills-of-material when needed, 5) ordering unique materials, 6) releasing the order to manufacturing. These six steps could conceivably represent forty or more steps due to the nine wastes previously discussed. There are certain guidelines one must follow to remain consistent with this cooperative learning model. Within each team, every member must have individual responsibilities (e.g., facilitator, time keeper, and recorder), as well as team responsibilities (e.g., identify procedures to eliminate waste, offer alternative solutions, develop an action plan, etc.). This allows everyone an opportunity to practice and im­prove on team skills. Furthermore, each participant and the team as a whole must be accountable in a defined and verifiable manner.

Ultimately, the three to four person teams report to the larger group and everyone has helped in the development of the overall solution to improve the process. In this way, all team members have been actively involved in identify­ing the needed actions, recognizing the alternative solu­tions, and committing to action plans. Having the various teams present their findings adds variety to the instruc­tional strategy and helps in retention of information.

This cooperative learning exercise prompts systems or process thinking as opposed to developing point solutions that may negatively impact other parts of the best "overall" solution. Systems thinking allows the students to see holistic perspectives and interrelationships, thus helping them to pull out the significant factors and designs from the complexity in the process. Through the framework of systems theory, the students can ascertain how their actions influence the entire system and look beyond organi­zational parameters to concentrate on systemic structures rather than just specific events. Systems thinking improves the quality of students' thinking and decision making.

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Besides the benefits described earlier, active learning prompts an openness of discussion, providing room for new insights on an issue or problem, and eventually resulting in effective decision making. As Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, wrote in his article entitled, "How Do You Know If Your Organization Is Learning?"

I think ultimately, the truest sign of a learning organiza­tion at work will be when people begin to enter into these dialogues of joint inquiry instead of always advocating their positions. Then we will begin to learn what never could have been learned individually—no matter how bright we are, no matter how much time we take, and no matter how committed we are. What couldn't be learned individually will become possible as a group. That will be organizational learning.

Active learning holds tremendous potential for manufac­turing workplace education. Based on the four teaching models previously described, this presentation clearly dem­onstrates that active learning enhances the educational process. Furthermore, research studies suggest that these techniques should be adopted in manufacturing education to improve interest, understanding, retention, and appli­cation of instructional information. While the approaches require a greater investment of time at the outset, they will significantly increase the return on investment over the long term when compared to traditional teaching method­ology. Clearly, active learning strategies respond to adult needs for innovative problem solving approaches to a multitude of challenging manufacturing issues. Further­more, this teaching methodology is instrumental in helping individuals remove the fear, resentment, and resistance to change in the workplace classroom.


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