Many thanks to Terry Cox (Dakota MEP) and Al Engstrom, Plant Manager at Giant Snacks for this impact statement. It shows how powerful JI can be in a relatively small business and how easy it is to measure its impact.
Giant Snacks, LLC, a family-owned business located in Wahpeton, N.D., got its start back in 1958 when Bob Schuler began selecting the absolute best tasting sunflowers for his customers. Bob’s son Jay, Schuler has dedicated over 30 years towards making sunflower seeds a bigger and better seed eating experience. Continuing on with the family tradition, Jay’s brother Tom runs the online store and Jay’s two sons, work as sales representatives. Currently they employ 35 people.
As part of Giant Snacks continuous improvement program, which involves getting input from every employee, and having discussion with Dakota MEP, it was concluded that a more structured training program would be a benefit to the organization. Because Giant relies heavily on a multi-functional, cross-trained workforce, they wanted to make a significant reduction in the learning curve for both new employees as well as cross-training of existing employees.
Through learning about the Continuous Improvement process and determining where training fit into their program, Dakota MEP helped Giant employees learn to use the Job Instruction Training module of Training Within Industry. Every employee was trained in the four-step Job Instruction method, how to break down jobs and how to prepare a training timetable. Standard work was created through breaking down the jobs and creating digital photographs of critical processes. After each breakdown was completed, employees were brought together to form consensus on how to do the job, resulting in every person doing the job in a similar manner and ultimately stabilizing Giant’s processes.
Giant now uses Job Instruction training to create job breakdowns and standard work, as well as applies the four-step method, to train new and existing employees. As a result, the learning curve for new employees was reduced by 66 2/3%. Film waste was improved by 63% totaling monthly recuperating savings of $1, 137.87. In the past that would have been considered common scrap and a cost of doing business.
“In talking with my internal trainers, they found employees feel the new training program gives them a better opportunity to get to know new employees on a personal/professional level enabling them to know when they are ready to advance to the next level of training. Statistically, we went from a 6-8 month training curve down to 6-8 weeks. This is a huge improvement and it shows in the attitudes of new employees and their knowledge of the job at hand. I am very pleased with how this turned out for the company and all the employees involved in this program.”
—Al Engstrom, Plant Manager