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June 2013 Issue #011

Unsuccessful supervisors expect people to "pick it up from others", while successful supervisors know good instruction is a key to better productivity and quality.

When instructions are unclear, people guess, and when they guess ...


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In today's world of reported skill shortages, I have heard very little about addressing it by developing the ability to train your own skilled people. We know this is possible to do, even with a very short lead time. Just think back to WWII when companies with thousands of employees sprang into existence making planes, ships and all the goods of war. Pressed with an urgent need, people figured out how to do that.

The need is different today. Instead of having large numbers leave the workforce to go to war, large numbers are leaving to retire. But the impact on our organizations is similar, and I think the solutions are similar, too.

In this issue, we will look at some of ideas about how to instruct.


In a recent blog I discussed the results presented at the recent TWI Summit in Savannah GA. Two gentlemen from the General Dynamics NASSCO Shipyard in San Diego reported the results from a very interesting experiment.

They trained two groups of mechanics on a set of tasks. For one group they used conventional training which was largely on-the-job. For the other, they used a TWI Job Instruction approach.

Here are the results, based on a performance evaluation 30 days after the end of training...


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Sandy (not his real name) is a lead in a custom sheet metal shop. He oversees receiving, the shear and the CNC punching machines. Sandy had recently had a new fellow start in his area and everyone started out at the shear.

If you been in a metal shop, it all starts at the shear, where large sheets of metal (aluminum, steel, brass, stainless, etc.) get cut to basic shapes for use in later operations. Get it right, and the plant can hum. Get it wrong, and there is a huge amount of rework depending on where it gets caught.

Sandy had been training this new hire for a couple of weeks before he took our training, and expressed his reservations about how well the person was doing. There were a lot of mistakes...

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I'm doing work right now for a company to help them learn how to write better work instructions. We are introducing the concept of separating out three types of information: 1. Important steps, 2. Key points and 3. Reasons. The folks are finding two things; most of their current instructions mix up the three types of information and in many cases, their current instructions are significantly out of date.

This isn't surprising to me. The way most instructions are written, they are hard to update. And in most organizations, the responsibility for creating and approving instructions is centralized. But the person who is responsible for doing the updating has many other demands resulting in ...

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Blog Posts

June 13, 2013
Do We Really Want To Hold People Accountable? – PART 2

June 11, 2013
Do We Really Want To Hold People Accountable? – PART 1

June 11, 2013
THREE CRITICAL SKILLS to improve your quality and deal with your skill shortages.

Upcoming Seminar

Seminar: THREE CRITICAL SKILLS to improve your quality and deal with your skill shortages.

Hugh Alley will be presenting a seminar at the EPTECH show June 20, 2013.


In a world of frequent product changes and a shortage of skilled people, getting people producing accurately and up to speed fast is important for any manufacturer. In the world of electronics where product life cycles are very short, it is essential. In this presentation, Hugh will describe three skills for management that often cut training time for new skills by a third or more. Deceptively simple, these powerful tools deliver a fast payback, and let your supervisors and front-line managers achieve the results you want.

If you would like to attend please register at www.firstlinetraining.ca/EPTECH.

Enter our CONTEST

Tell us how you made a difference in your organization through training, process improvement or by dealing with a problem performance effectively. Each issue we'll tell one story. If we use yours, you'll receive a $25 VISA gift card. Please submit your story by emailing us at info@firstlinetraining.ca.

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