In the past 5 articles you have seen the value of OEE as a tool to understand where you stand as far as efficiency in the use of the equipment at your disposal.
As said before, operators run the equipment. Machines can’t do it themselves. Only humans can run machines. And the way machines run, the way machines are maintained and cared for, the motivation to deliver a world class performance depends on people.
Humans are the only beings that require years of training to be able to function in this world.
The same rule applies when it comes to operating process or packaging equipment. A sufficient level of general education is required in order to be able to understand the training on the equipment to operate.
Staff should have sufficient school training. Compared to the US, 12 years, or High school finished. I have been in factories where anyone working with equipment should have at least a junior college degree. His productivity numbers justified this. The cost for operators was high, but productivity was at top level compensating the cost.
If you want to give more responsibility to your operators, you must be sure they can learn the technologies required to complete the different tasks.
Offering possibilities to get more general education creates another stimulus for your people. Creating thus a commitment to the company. Generally, there is little money involved in such projects while it will give results very soon.
If there are reading problems, reading courses will pay because the interpretation of texts on the HMI will improve. If people don’t speak the language well, investments in improvement of their language skills will pay off for the company and for the people. It increases the social value of your company while improving your bottom line.
Training by the OEM on new equipment is something that should start before the equipment arrives. The selection of the right people is important. Some people love to work with more and more complex machine while others get afraid and will not adapt to new methods and requirements.
Once selected the personal, give them information of the new lime, descriptions of the equipment. If available, OEM information material, like videos and leaflets will give them a lead.
· Success profile to build skills matrix assessment
· Mechanical maintenance and set up adjustments
· Electrical maintenance and set up adjustments
· Control maintenance and set up adjustments
· Operation and center lining instructions
Involve the operators as early as possible in the commissioning process. Plan sufficient time for training by the OEM commissioning engineers. Some OEM companies have training specialists. I advise to get them involved. They have methods and material to do a good job but beware of the efficiency dip you will suffer after the FAT and the Commissioning people leave.
Something like this may happen. The packaging equipment is installed and within a few days, the contractual efficiency is reached. Here you cannot work with OEE as that is only valid for a complete system. When individual machines are purchased, generally availability and efficiency are defined. In some cases, change-over time or maximum waste when starting up.
The training by the OEM should consist of:
At the end of the commissioning, there will be the FAT. Once past the FAT, the system is now the producer’s property and the system can go into production. Also, generally, training is happening during the commissioning, but officially the operators can only work with the machines once it is officially accepted. We assume here that after FAT training is done.
After that training, keeping the efficiency at the FAT level is difficult. It has been my experience that once the trainer leaves, the efficiency goes down. When the team is on its own, failures will appear. The training has not been completely understood; old working patterns re-appear etc.
The learning process goes through failures, not successes. Observe a little child that starts to walk. There is a motivation to be upright. It gives a better view, another perspective. Falling teaches us to keep balance. Moving through is a controlled falling process. Only when we move our point of gravity outside the footprint will the body move in a direction. That is the beginning of falling. Controlling that falling is difficult and is only learnt by falling and practicing.
The same is with each learning process. Making mistakes makes you aware that you have not total control. This creates motivation. “That won’t happen to me again”. If that is combined with an identification with the company and the job, the mind is ready and eager to learn everything it needs to perform well.
Therefore, a second training period is recommended and generally highly effective. Now the curve may look like this. The upward trend can continue to reach FAT levels.
Do calculate with such a period after start-up with. There is a cost to the learning process. Doing a second training also prepares the terrain for a continuous improvement process. The awareness of the fact that running a new complex system is interesting but difficult is the basis for sharing know-how among each other and searching for best practices. Such best practices must de documented and other person must be trained.
One Point Lessons (OPL) are a key activity in the learning process. An OPL will deal with one specific item. The team prepares the material for that lessons. That material documents the procedure. The team members that develop the training material for that OPL will never forget that specific issue. Teaching is the best learning method.
The language used, the way to show how things are done will match the team’s language and methods. It will be accepted better by the other team members. By documenting each point, an archive is built that is the basis for future training.
That kind of training is not comprehensive touching the whole system but should be limited to a single issue. Work with your team to define the best practice for a specific part of the process. Give support to the team by professional trainers how to prepare training material and train the other team members on that single point. Document it all and add the material to a booklet of best practices.
Training new personal can best be done by one of the operators. It has a double effect.
OEM personal should train your engineering staff on the following aspects of the new equipment:
This should be by the OEM’s personal or experienced own personal. If your staff is not that experiences, work on training the trainer. Your engineering staff should be able to train new personal and help the operators to develop their own training modules.
Introducing new equipment brings new technologies to your teams. You must assure that the right people are handling this new equipment. A question is whether they can absorb the new technology. Therefore, it is useful to make a matrix where requirements and capabilities are matched.
In a packaging line you may have different basic technologies such as:
Basic knowledge must be in place in order to be able to understand the training. You may have to provide basic know how up front preparing personal for the new tasks. Using the matrix, you can select the people with the necessary basic skills.
The same matrix can be used adding other skills like leadership, communication skills, inspiring, analytical capabilities, knowledge on hygiene, HAACP, safety, etc.
Standardization in each field of technology will simplify training and enhance proficiency as the same technology is used in different places in the plant.
In the next article, we will discuss Challenges to management.
Leading image: By SeventyFour/shutterstock.com