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Jeff Liker

Jeff Liker: When standardized work is changed, every one who performs the job needs to be trained

By Jeff Liker, - Last updated: Sunday, March 17, 2013 - Save & Share - Leave a comment
By standards I am assuming you are referring to standardized work.  There are many kinds of standards,   When standardized work is change everyone who performs the job, or audits the job, needs to be trained to follow the new standards–no question.   Presumably the change is for a reason in which case you would not want to ration out the changes over time based on the capacity to teach.   You need to make the changes and do the teaching.   There are many ways standardized work can be changed. For example, let”s say that a defect is found and the countermeasure is a new quality key point.  The entire job need not be retaught, just that one key point.  If there is a major line rebalance and many jobs have been changed with work elements added to them then it may be a very large job instruction training task and that needs to be done.   The time it takes to train, even using a rigorous JI approach will vary by individual.  Those highly experienced in the type of labor done in the area are likely to learn quite rapidly.
One interesting point is that it became accepted as a part of TPS that production team members should rotate jobs broadly to make the work groups very flexible.   In reality that does not happen within  Toyota in Japan.  Normally there are only two people performing a specific job–one on each shift.  At NUMMI they rotated workers every two hours as a matter of necessity–to deal with repetitive trauma disorders because of the ergonomics of the jobs.  In Japan the workers were very young and agile and the former GM workers were older and in much more variable condition.  Then job rotation caught on because it made the work more interesting and also allowed the group leader to deal with absences and turnover which were very high at NUMMI compared to the Japanese plants.  Toyota’s TPS experts in Japan much prefer one person does one job.  As explained to me:  “When two people across two shifts do a job there is very little variation.   When eight people do the job in two shifts the variability increases exponentially.   When two people, who are both very experienced,do a job they can simply talk to each other about job changes between shifts.  The change is almost instantaneous.”

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