Internal Quality Awareness training - Can anybody give me some ideas?


Paulo L

Hello everybody

I need your help! I am going to give Quality Awareness training sessions in my company. The target of this training are line supervisors and production operators. Their motivation is very low, so I'm trying to get some extra "weapons" to get the message through.

I'm trying to get practical examples of everyday's life that help them understand the importance of:
- traceability and defect segregation;
- adequate and clear identification;
- following written instructions;
- document control;

Can anybody give me some ideas? Remember: it will have to be examples of everybody's daily life.
Thanks a lot

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Dan Larsen

I've got one for you...

Adequate and clear identification:

An example I've used with hourly employees…

Let's say you take your new car in for service. You drop it off in the morning and the dealer says "No problem…we'll keep track of it for you!" You go back in the evening to pick it up and when the dealer brings "your car" around, it turns out to be a ten-year-old beater. "Oh, I'm sorry sir…I guess we mixed up some cars! I think we may have given yours to someone else. Why don't you come back tomorrow and maybe we'll figure out who we gave it to!"

Dealers and service shops use the number systems on their service tickets for a good reason…clear identification. They know that the customer will be extremely upset if they "lose" their car.

If I think of some others for the other points you want to make, I'll post them here.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Hello Paulo,

Two things come to mind. The employee motivation being low is a systemic problem that needs addressing. I recommend the thread “Does money motivate?” also in the Misc. Quality Topics forum. It goes beyond just the money aspect especially with the suggested reading and links. The sources of demotivation are probably beyond your control, but you should understand why they feel as they do. It would help when presenting. If they are bitter, they will see your efforts as more of the same. You must demonstrate that this is good for them (help them to learn why it is important so that they do it for themselves if not for the company). I feel your success will ride on this point.

To your request (the second thing):

Depending on the time you have, you may want to “Bake a Cake” with your group. Baking a cake is a relatively straight-forward and simple process. It can cover many (all) the elements of ISO if you think about it long enough. The selection of ingredients (jars marked flour, sugar, salt, tea, etc.), following the recipe (procedures, instructions, etc.), and how the recipe is filed. What is done with the “nonconforming cookies” (probably eaten by the baker) might demonstrate inspection and segregation. Mixing the ingredients in the proper sequence and baking them in a calibrated oven might help the process. Think of the boundaries of a cookie company (purchasing, customer service, etc.) when you develop your organization.

Anyone having any experience preparing a meal would have enough knowledge to follow the process and understand the message. I would recommend a little comic relief in the script when presenting your topics. Get people involved and participating in your presentation. They just might forget about their job problems long enough to hear your message. The trick next is to find ways to compare the demonstration to real examples in your organization and outside of it to reinforce what they have learned. Dan’s example is a good one.

Perhaps others out there might be able to suggest how another element (point in an element) can be brought into the “Cookie Company” procedures training manual?



Dan Larsen

I like Kevin's point. (Matter of fact, I just may "borrow" the concept some where along the line!)

Bring's to mind another example I heard (with respect to "clear instructions")...

A Plant Manager I know tells how he stresses the importance of clear instructions by asking his audience "how to work one of these things" when he holds up a cigarette (OK, OK...maybe this isn't the BEST example!). He says that most often, the first response is "put it in your mouth". He claims to have eaten many cigarettes by using this example!

Come on...there have to many more examples out there! (These are GREAT training tools!)

Rick Goodson

Following in Dan Larsen's footsteps...

Hospitals ID patients so they do not remove the right thing from the wrong patient.

Dry Cleaners and laundries ID your clothing so you get YOUR clothing back.
Not to throw a wet towel on the subject; but IMO mass quality awareness training sessions do nothing to enhance the quality of product or the improvement of processes. Within 20 minutes of leaving a seminar, 90% of what was heard is forgotten.
Quality awareness can only be appreciated by the individual within the process of adequate training, mentoring, measuring and then, Responsibility and Accountability.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member

Excellent point! Why is it that folks are enthusiastic when they leave, but later lose enthusiasm? The answer is simple: they are not MOTIVATED to do anything different. Additionally, Management lacks a Method to accomplish the Transformation.

“Quality awareness can only be appreciated by the individual within the process of adequate training, mentoring, measuring and then, Responsibility and Accountability.”

I think you might be right on this. People must learn why Quality Awareness is important. Being told that it is important is much different than learning that it is important. Telling someone creates movement, in other words, short term effect (brief enthusiasm). Learning causes intrinsic belief and understanding which is long term and creates motivation (extended enthusiasm). ‘Mentoring’ creates opportunity to learn (know), ‘measure’ creates feedback on how well you applied what you know (know-how), and ‘Responsibility and Accountability’ creates Wisdom and Character. I borrow these references form the work of Myron Tribus. (knowledge>know-how>wisdom>character).

How many Quality Awareness meetings does it take before the organization understands the importance of Quality? Why don’t people just simply understand that it is ‘good for them’ and just do it?! How many times have you asked these questions or heard others ask them? I’ll bet fairly often.

Back to the group….


Dan Larsen

Sam & Kevin...

Personally, I think these sessions help a great deal if the situation in the work place can be related to an everyday situation that the employee understands. Take the identification issue...most employees consider putting a tag on work as a "nuisance" part of the job until they have an everyday experience provided that demonstrates it's important .

If they still don't respond, it's time to take the three step training approach...

1) Train
2) Re-train
3) Ask the question..."are you trainable?"
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