January 9, 2012 4 Comments
Assembly and packaging processes, sometimes referred to as secondary processes, can be difficult to define, measure, analyze and control. Labor-intensive, secondary processes performed by us humans seem to present the most challenges. The unpredictable nature of human performance can be overwhelming, making it seem impossible to feel confident about the accuracy and consistency of our processing methods.
Uncertainty feels risky and is frustrating to deal with. Blaming the people performing the process seems like an appropriate behavior, however, I have found it is more productive to take a curious approach and understand what drives this unpredictability.
So the then the question becomes how. What course of action can be taken to understand what causes variation and unpredictable outcomes? Broadly speaking, we need to look at the system inputs, such as, process, people and tools. The first input to become curious about is the process. Some questions to consider include:
- Is the process defined?
- Are process tasks defined?
- Are tasks and sub-process measurable in terms of quality and quantity?
Once the process is defined and measurable, move to a review of the tools needed to perform the tasks and sub-processes. Some questions to consider about tools include:
- Are the tools widely available
- What training is available for tool use
- How are tools calibrated and maintained to ensure consistent performance.
Finally, we can review what specific skill sets are needed to use the tools and perform processes. Some questions to ask about skill sets include:
- What types of motor skills are needed, fine, gross or a combination of both?
- Are hand strength and dexterity needed?
- Are detailed math skills needed for measuring and counting?
After negotiating this adventure in curiosity, we can start inserting humans into a well designed, measurable process where variations can be analyzed and controlled.
While this 3-step guide may seem time consuming, the benefit of doing this work is an ability to create fantastic training programs to further our goal to offer great products to our customers.
Speaking of great training programs, check out this sample video, highlighting ASAP’s performance training video production capabilities. We have also included the corresponding Shrink Wrap Quality Training Test.