Training Machinists on Company Processes

Quality_Goblin

Involved In Discussions
Hi All,

I am new to the role of Training Coordinator at my company (and in general). We are ISO 9001/13485 and AS9100 certified. I am trying to figure out the best way to train the shop floor employees on our company policies, procedures and individual processes. The previous coordinator has created a myriad of useful PowerPoint presentations and tests and we have also recently tried to use an Learning Management System. But we have a couple issues that make training difficult. Firstly, while I enjoy the PowerPoints, I can't seem to get the attention of the machinists when I give them. I've caught them nodding off, or playing on their phones, and I can just tell by looking at them that they aren't paying attention. This goes for new hires as well as seasoned employees who are taking refresher trainings with me. In regards to the LMS, we don't really have the infrastructure to provide a quiet place with a personal computer and headphones for someone to use and learn. While in the past, the Quality department was in charge of giving trainings to all other departments, the CQO wants to change it to where the department leads are the ones who train their employees and I can coordinate the trainings if needed, or just do the more general trainings such as New Employee Orientation, but leave the rest of the trainings up to the Supervisors for their departments.

So I have a few questions:

  • What is a good immersive way to train the machinists (and other employees) so they aren't bored and will retain what they have been taught?
  • How can I do checkups to ensure they are following their processes?
  • What is a good LMS for a manufacturing company to use? We currently use 180 Skills and it's only ok.
  • How to create an effective training schedule that is easily followed by all involved - supervisor, training coordinator, employee
Needless to say, the training program at my company has been lacking for years even though the previous trainer was really good at her job. I need some good ideas on how to ensure that training is effective. Thank you for your help!!
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
Hello Quality_Goblin,

I appreciate your concern about previous QMS training effectiveness. Who cares what a Powerpoint presentation tells us, really? Why should it?

These questions are at the heart of awareness that all the standards ask for. How to train our organizational members what is relevant and important, and supports customer satisfaction? This is what all the standards ask for. These simple questions seem to present the greatest challenge. I submit this challenge is at once the simplest and the most difficult because the answers aren't obvious. The answers are based on the process. They might even include internal customers as well as external customers. That adds a layer of complexity.

Your machinists will only appreciate the effects of their contribution to the QMS in terrms of their machining processes. That is natural, and it's important to recognize as an essential part of customer satisfaction. But I will go farther: these machinists support customer satisfaction in ensuring conforming product, as well as ensuring control of nonconforming product. They are responsible for their own work, and other machnists' work.

Powerpoint presentations don't effectively convey this, and other similar QMS points. Understanding our impact on customer satisfaction can be achieved every time we push the button, if top management makes it clear that everyone in the QMS has an input to customer satisfaction with everything they do.
:2cents:
 

John Broomfield

Leader
Super Moderator
How about training their supervisors or managers to make the machinists aware of their responsibilities?

The machinists are then left in no doubt about the commitment of their managers.

Many organizations have run workshops for top management to develop company-specific awareness training on their management system:

  • Policy
  • Objectives
  • Relevant procedures
  • Initiating improvements
  • Reports that can be expected from management reviews

They are careful not to mention ISO as this may externalize the requirements and belief in their commitment.
 

Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Leader
Super Moderator
  • What is a good immersive way to train the machinists (and other employees) so they aren't bored and will retain what they have been taught?
A general review of adult training practices may be worthwhile. I'd suggest a mix of modes - hands-on (preferred), demonstration by an expert (ok), lecture or videos (eh), required reading (poor, except for the usual annual review of company procedures/policies). A thing to consider is having a trades person, under the mentoring of the lead, do the training in rotation. You learn a lot by giving the training.
  • How can I do checkups to ensure they are following their processes?
If you have a management observation program, schedule managers to do observations of work in progress. You can also participate in this. These can be formal scheduled items (with criteria to look for) and/or management by wandering around. Also, during training sessions you can assign a person (other than the leader of the training) do a critique form on the training. There are plenty of checklists out there for what to look for. Be sure they privately give a one on one with the leader after the sessoin.
  • What is a good LMS for a manufacturing company to use? We currently use 180 Skills and it's only ok.
Your LMS really depends on who sets it up and how it is used. For remote college teaching I am using Brightspace (aka D2L) which is reasonably useful. I assume you are interested in LMS for having the ability for workers to view videos? Or do you intend to have quizzes?
  • How to create an effective training schedule that is easily followed by all involved - supervisor, training coordinator, employee
The LMS can allow you to do that (usually they have calendars, criteria, and due dates you can establish). Or any calendar software. If you have a Preventive Maintenance schedule, you could even use that software / practice.

A big question is - are you a union shop? If so, you would want the shop stewards involved.
 

Tidge

Trusted Information Resource
Needless to say, the training program at my company has been lacking for years even though the previous trainer was really good at her job. I need some good ideas on how to ensure that training is effective. Thank you for your help!!

It is generally accepted that there are different types of learners, and that it is a good idea to develop training that simultaneously covers the different types, such as:
  • Learners who absorb things presented visually
  • Learners who absorb things presented with tactile demonstrations
  • Learners who absorb things presented through verbal engagement
  • There are sometimes different levels of engagement between solo/team learners
Establishing training that explicitly covers multiple types of learners doesn't guarantee (or measure) effectiveness, but it is a foundational approach for training, no matter the subject.
 

Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
We are ISO 9001/13485 and AS9100 certified. I am trying to figure out the best way to train the shop floor employees on our company policies, procedures and individual processes. ....But we have a couple issues that make training difficult. Firstly, while I enjoy the PowerPoints, I can't seem to get the attention of the machinists when I give them.

I'm going to speculate that perhaps these trainings have not been tailored to the target audience, i.e., the machinists, and so to them the trainings are bloated with irrelevant drivel. The machinists do not need to be able to quote the quality policy, or clause numbers. etc. The quality policy is a 50,000ft level statement, which needs to be applied contextually to each process, and so the machinists really only need to know the way in which that quality policy is applied to their process; e.g., "we accurately machine parts to meet our customer's blueprint requirements and schedule, and we are always looking for ways to improve".

How can I do checkups to ensure they are following their processes?

To me, there are two ways: 1) by their output - are there any/many N/C's or complaints about the produced product?, and 2) auditing them - this could be the shop manager spot-checking, or you or someone else doing occasional walk-thru audits, audits of records (if any), etc.; you could have a form you give the manager that they sign saying the employees in this dept/process are (per the mgr's observations) following the processes and procedures. You could then file this as record that your training was effective.
 

victorsyj

Starting to get Involved
I'm going to speculate that perhaps these trainings have not been tailored to the target audience, i.e., the machinists, and so to them the trainings are bloated with irrelevant drivel. The machinists do not need to be able to quote the quality policy, or clause numbers. etc. The quality policy is a 50,000ft level statement, which needs to be applied contextually to each process, and so the machinists really only need to know the way in which that quality policy is applied to their process; e.g., "we accurately machine parts to meet our customer's blueprint requirements and schedule, and we are always looking for ways to improve".



To me, there are two ways: 1) by their output - are there any/many N/C's or complaints about the produced product?, and 2) auditing them - this could be the shop manager spot-checking, or you or someone else doing occasional walk-thru audits, audits of records (if any), etc.; you could have a form you give the manager that they sign saying the employees in this dept/process are (per the mgr's observations) following the processes and procedures. You could then file this as record that your training was effective.

Agreed. When training machinists or shop floor workers, we have to customise the training to fit their needs and understanding level. My favourite trainer once said, "Don't explain a term using another difficult term. Keep it simple and relatable." Let them know how their process affects the outcome of the product, company, etc.
 
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