How Training Enriches the Soil for a Culture of Operational Excellence

Training - Freeway Exit Sign

In business, we make guarantees. We guarantee excellent quality, world-class service, and competitive prices. We need to make guarantees because are customers need to know that we will deliver, and they deserve that peace of mind. This allows our customers to place their focus on other important things.

The ability to deliver to those guarantees is a matter of integrity. However, businesses are made up of a system of imperfect people, machines, and processes. How can a business make guarantees to their customers on one end, and on the other end be riddled with so much imperfection? The answer is in the the design of the business system. If you were to read a company’s mission statement, and it says, for example, that they will make products of unparalleled quality, then you should be able to audit their business system to determine if it is truly capable of delivering to that standard. Although the goal of any business system should be to eliminate the opportunity of failure of delivering what is guaranteed to the customer, the execution of the business system is often heavily reliant on people. That’s right – imperfect people.

This is where training enters the stage. Training is defined (by Google of coarse) as: “the action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behavior.” In this case, the desired behavior would be to effectively execute the business system or designated process within the system. Training helps imperfect people to become more perfect; at least at a specific thing. An effective training program ensures that people have the capability to execute the business system according to what the business has guaranteed the customer.

There are four primary categories to an effective training program:

  1. Standard Operating Procedure Development and Management
    1. Entails documenting critical system and procedural knowledge and making sure that they remain current and complete
    2. Ensures that all Standard Procedures are readily accessible to relevant personnel
  2. Training Execution & Records
    1. Ensures that trainees know and understand what is needed for effective system execution
    2. Tracks who has been trained on what content
    3. Helps to ensure that gaps in training are closed in a timely manner
  3. Validation of Learning
    1. Provides immediate verification that sufficient learning has been achieved
    2. Validates that learning has been retained and has been put into operational practice
  4. Change Management
    1. Ensures cross-functional buy-in to pending process changes
    2. Supports the sustainment of good practices and desired behaviors

Business systems (especially in manufacturing) are constantly evolving creatures. In a culture of continuous improvement and operational excellence, the manufacturing process, procedures, and knowledge requirements change almost daily. A training program that is capable of delivering the right knowledge to the right people at the right time; than ensures that the capability is acquired and is put into action; is essential to drive out operating costs and sustaining strong performance. Often times businesses start their continuous improvement initiatives without having a solid foundation such as an excellent training program in place. They quickly learn how frustrating it can be to make brilliant process changes only to have them undermined by poor training and people development. Implementing an effective training system is an initiative within itself; but it is essential to optimizing the performance of your most powerful asset; your people.

How robust is your training program? How is it impacting your ability to sustain or improve business performance? Reach out to us to assess what can be done to improvement the integrity of your training systems.

© Calvin L Williams blog at [2015]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Calvin L Williams with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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