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PCB007-Dec2020

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46 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 a task, read the work instruction, and perform the task under supervision. In time, the new operator becomes more proficient in that task and no longer requires supervision. The train- ing matrix should define when that time is, when the operator should be reviewed again, and at which point proficiency should be re- scored. A strong training matrix will encom- pass these disciplines. Operator Task-Specific Training vs. Cross-Training There are different camps when it comes down to task-specific training vs. cross-train- ing. It really comes down to the size of the op- eration and management philosophies. In a gi- normous operation, it may be prudent to train specific employees for specific tasks. If the depth of the workforce supports this, it may be the optimal solution. If the department has but one function and many employees, it makes sense. New employ- ees may start as a trainee and progress to a general operator, and this may work perfect- ly. Some general operators may elevate to a lead or supervisor. However, they still remain within the same department and perform the same tasks. Other departments within the fa- cility will have the same matrix. If an employ- ee calls in sick or quits, the depth of the work- force can handle the disruption, and although they may be one person shy, the void is filled by a new trainee. What about the small "mom and pop" type operations? The depth of the workforce is hardly the magnitude of the ginormous exam- ple. This can also be the same in a large parent company with small divisional offices. Each of these operations may have small workforces that are required to perform multiple tasks. Is the single task training matrix feasible in this case? Perhaps. However, with these smaller operations, the loss of an employee, even for a day, can be stressful and cause disruption to delivery and perhaps quality. This is where cross-training becomes an advantage. Employees are trained on multi- ple tasks; some, they do every day, while oth- ers may be performed on an as-needed basis. Even though the employee count is smaller, the depth of knowledge in the small workforce is strong. This allows the smaller operations to roll with the occasional employee illness, vaca- tion, or other unforeseen circumstances. How a training matrix is developed is sole- ly up to the organization. However, it should provide the instructions for any given tasks to be performed, a way to gauge competen- cy, and a time frame to review the competen- cies. Levels of competency are recommended so that an employee may perform a task with- out having mastered the task. Examples would be work with supervision, work unsupervised, and work unsupervised and train others. These could be outlined by proficiency percentages or levels, such as Trainee, Operator I, Opera- tor II, and so on. Perhaps equipment may need attention, or other technical aspects are neces- sary. This may require higher levels of exper- tise. The matrix can encompass this as well. Strong training systems may incorporate syn- ergies between the training system and actual equipment or tasks. An example would be an operator who is disallowed the operation of a machine when they sign on because the ma- chine consults the training matrix to validate the employee competence. The system has a self-check mechanism to guarantee employee competence is achieved and maintained. Simply put, you cannot perform tasks for which you are not trained. This satisfies the competence and training requirement and also keeps a thumb on the pulse of the system. This type of system also maintains traceability in case there is a problem found. The training system can be consulted along with machine records to find out who, what, when, where, and finally, why. Happy holidays! Be safe. PCB007 Todd Kolmodin is VP of quality for Gardien Services USA and an expert in electrical test and reliability issues. To read past columns or contact Kolmodin, click here.

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