How Every Organization Can Leverage Its Best Asset | Operational Excellence Quick Hits
Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to leveraging employee skills. We hope you enjoy the information presented!
Speaker 1: (00:04)
In order to take full advantage, there needs to be a process in place to understand when and what resources can be utilized in other areas. Elimination of busy work can create increased capacity by a minimum of 25%. I’ve seen 50% and at one company, 70% improvement in productivity, and we still had extra capacity beyond that. We think we could get to a hundred and twenty-five percent output improved. Employee skills matrix is a tool that supports the concept of what we call transferable capacity. Can I move resources from one area to another area if we have disruptions in that other area? A lot of times I hear, “Oh, we can’t move that guy because he doesn’t know he doesn’t have the skills. I’d rather… instead of training him, I’ll just do it myself.” It’s quicker to do it myself than to train somebody.
Speaker 1: (00:54)
Getting employees on the right seat on the bus. The first step is getting the right employees on the bus. The second step is getting them in the right seat. A skills matrix is a table that shows us information about individual experience, skills, and competencies of your employees. I just put together this example of what a skills matrix looks like. I have three employees here, Joe Smith, John Brown, Leslie Smith. And looking at a machinist operation, we have both machinists skills and then we also have some quality assurance skills. I’m going to list the skills across the top of the matrix here, such as blueprint reading, shop math, GD and T, which stands for geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, CNC programming, tools set up, gaging and metrology, and machine changeover. Then I have quality assurance skills such as problem solving, SPC, control plans, gage R and R and failure modes and effects analysis. Now I can take each person and rate them on a scale of one to four of where they are on those different skillsets.
Speaker 1: (02:04)
Number one would be basic knowledge. Joe Smith has basic knowledge of tools set up, so I probably don’t want him setting up tools until he gets to a level two, because that would be practical application. I understand how the mechanics behind tools set up, but I can’t actually set up a tool. Once they get the practical application, I can do it. Then they become a level two. Level three is they’re expert at that specific skill. And then level four is they’re capable of training others. Just because they’re an expert, doesn’t mean that they can train. I know a lot of experts that know their job really well, but they can’t train other people. Training is a different bird than being an expert. We want to make sure we differentiate the two so that we understand who can train and on what topics. I see Leslie is our highest skill offer in terms of training. She can train on shop math, GD and T, gage and metrology, and gage R and R.
Speaker 1: (03:07)
Now we can utilize this information when we start to manage our organization and say, “Okay, if we need to transfer somebody into another area, who would we transfer?” Some of these skills are transferable across departments. We started to develop this whole skills matrix. Now we can start to figure out where we are as a baseline and where we need to go to improve our overall performance and to improve our workforce capabilities. And then this should drive the training matrix. Depending on what the employees want to achieve or where they want to go in the organization, this can help guide the training matrix. Joe Smith has no desire to be a machinist in the future, but he’d like to move into QA. Maybe we focus on his QA skills and don’t focus so much on machinist skills.
Speaker 1: (04:06)
That’s how we utilize the matrix within the organization. Creating a skills matrix, these are steps you can do to help them develop skills matrix for their team. First you needed to determine the skills needed for each position. For each position, what are the specific skills that that position requires? Then we need a way to gauge the employee’s current level against those skills. Then have each employee rate their level of interest in a skill. I don’t really want to stay in machining all my life, I would like to get into a different role, like leadership or management. Use that information from the skills matrix to determine any missing skills needed and then help develop a career path and appropriate training plan for the employees. This will help maintain employee retention.