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Archive for February, 2011

TWI JI: New Equipment

Our friend Jeff Kidner asks another great question.  Has this ever happened in your company?

We are trying to use JI at the moment on a whole new production line involving several new pieces of equipment. The project timeline only permits a few days of work-sharing the equipment with the equipment installers. In effect the JI instructors have had to write the breakdowns based on the knowledge gained from training off site with the manufacturers and what little time they have had on the machines themselves on site-albeit not fully functional.

 I was wondering if you have experience of using JI in a similar circumstance on new equipment, where the JI instructors knowledge may not be as extensive as where they are writing breakdowns for established operations and how best to manage this?

TWI Institute Master Trainer  Richard Abercrombie offered his insight:

Of course, this is an issue for management of the line organization, not something to be left to the wits of the JI instructors.  The plan for making this kind of change in production should include serious consideration of training and resources necessary to be successful from the very beginning.  

The Training Timetable is intended to be used whenever there are changes in production so that the training needs are addressed in a planned way.  In this case, management of the line organization owns the training timetable as one of the planning tools for implementing new production capacity.  The timeline for the project needs to identify the major milestones and the time and resources necessary to achieve them.  Training is one of those milestones and preparation of the instructors is a supporting task detail.

 Allowing insufficient access to the new equipment for instructors to prepare adequate breakdowns strikes me as a plan for trouble.

 But even if time is made available, you’ll learn more and more as the production operation begins.  I think key points will be coming up often as the instructors and operators gain experience and you’ll have to modify breakdowns accordingly.

TWI JI: What do you do when a delay occurs?

Jeff Kidner asked:

 I completed my 12th JI course last week which took place in our Edinburgh plant so I am officially training nationally now!   I am currently running a course here at Llantarnam and a question has been raised which I would like your advice on.

 The breakdowns we have prepared so far are to enable a person to quickly remember to do a job correctly, safely and conscientiously-when all is well and running. Where you have corrective actions to take when something goes wrong with the operation or machinery used for that operation-would these be covered with a separate troubleshooting breakdown or included in the breakdown for the job being taught as important steps?

Thinking about it some of these failure modes would be captured by identifying them as key points by making or breaking the job, but probably not all of the potential failure modes.


Pat Graupp answered:  

This is a great question which I haven’t gotten before. I’m copying my colleague Richard Abercrombie because he is a Lean consultant and does a lot of work like what you’re referring to. I’m sure he has more insight on this than I do.

For my part, I think you can have both: (1) a breakdown which teaches how to troubleshoot and the procedure for finding what has gone wrong, and then (2) the UPDATED breakdown of the job which needs to be RETAUGHT to include the information (Key Points) for what we learned when resolving the problem. Correcting the problem, so it doesn’t happen again, means that we have found the root cause of the problem and added countermeasures (in this case retraining) to prevent it reoccurrence.

Richard Abercrombien answered:

 The two points Pat makes are very useful.  As a problem solving reference, failure modes and the appropriate responses can be formatted as a breakdown.  Of course, the challenges is touched on by Pat’s second point; is there a countermeasure that will control or eliminate the root cause so the “trouble shooting” isn’t necessary? 

Having said that, here is what we did at a steel plant I worked at once, and you may find this example helpful.  

In a rolling mill, delays are a key performance indicator.  The operation runs 24/7 so delays drop capacity and yield, and since the furnace keeps going, costs per unit of yield go up, too.  Keeping the rolling mill running smoothly is a daily objective.  But sometimes things go wrong.  We were working a lot on improving work processes to eliminate causes of delay as much as possible.

But what do you do when a delay occurs?  Some operators were better at it than others.  So they selected the best operator and asked him to explain how he kept everything coordinated so the mill could be started quickly after the delay was resolved.  After he wrote it down it seemed a little confusing.  So I put it into a breakdown to make it more understandable.  (To see the breakdown email Steve at )  


Jeff Kidner is a Continuous Improvement Facilitator and TWI Institute JI Certified Trainer at Burton Foods in the UK.

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