“Basic stability starts with a well trained workforce. Fortunately employees tend to know their jobs very well or we would all be in serious trouble. However, in the 1950’s some basic techniques about supervision in production were learned and how to further improve the skills and capabilities of work teams.“
Art Smalley – Extracted from Basic Stability is Basic to Lean Manufacturing Success
A well trained workforce (service or manufacturing) is a workforce that follows standard work. Medical error in the healthcare sees proven root causes of ‘variation from the standard way’. Bruising of apples at the pack house sees root causes of variation in picking and placing in the bin.
JI (Job Instruction) is a key component skill for achieving basic stability. It is a standardised means of conducting the three critical elements of any sound training program:
- Ensuring there is a plan in place.
- Developing a ‘recipe’ – a document to follow when actually training.
- Delivering the ‘recipe’ in a consistent manner – the actual training of the task, and following up.
Few other training systems consider closely the relationship between the ‘recipe’ and ‘delivery’, some don’t address the ‘delivery’ aspect at all (i.e. Writing a standard operating procedure or safe work instruction is, in worst cases, the end of the road).
JI has two main aspects done in a logical order – get ready, then the actual instruction and like each of the TWI “J” programs the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle is very evident from start to end.
The first two ‘get ready’ steps are:
- Make a timetable for training
- Break down the job.
In making the timetable the driving reasons for needing to do any training are closely considered. From consideration of these drivers, who is to be trained in which tasks by what date is made very visible. It is perhaps breaking down the job that takes the most skill. Important steps are identified as the segments of the task. The key points are then identified. The identification and presentation of key points is the single most important aspect of the training process. Key points are the special techniques that ensure the safety of the worker, the quality of the product, the productivity rate, and the control of costs. Source: Toyota Talent, McGraw Hill 2007
(Other key point drivers can be introduced for example patient safety in health care or biosecurity in intensive agriculture.)
Triggered by the training timetable, with the Job Breakdown at hand and the workplace fully ready for training, the instructor is now ready to actually train.
They follow four steps being:
- Prepare the worker.
- Present the operation.
- Try out performance.
- Follow up.
The ‘why this task is important’, so often overlooked, comes out in step 1. A learner has the right to know how what they are about to do fits into the delivery of the service or product overall. The instructor tells, shows and illustrates the task in step 2 and then the learner practices the task in step 3 also showing, telling and illustrating. Step 4 completes the PDCA cycle.
JI was a key factor in increasing line performance from <60% to 82% in seven months in the 2 kg cream cheese packing line at Tatura Milk Industries.