A Manufacturing Essentials Certificate pilot for Production Workers was implemented in 2016 at Kingsmill Foods with 9 front-line employees. Following training implementation, all managers at Kingsmill agreed that the training was a worthwhile investment for the company. Managers also reported a high-level of improvement in team efficiency, overall engagement in the workplace and product quality/reduction of errors. For EMC-CMN, the goal of the Pilot was to gather employer/employee feedback and ultimately adapt a solution for a national audience.
About Kingsmill Foods…
Kingsmill Foods is a small but dynamic company located in Scarborough, Ontario with approximately fifty-five employees. It started in 1947 as a family business and carries on the traditions of its founders—high quality products and customer service excellence— to this day. Kingsmill Foods makes hot and cold beverages for a domestic and international market with a presence in twenty countries. It has a progressive management team interested in skills development and training for its front-line employees.
Rationale for Training : More feedback on solutions not just problems
An organizational needs assessment revealed that Kingsmill Foods was interested in Manufacturing Essentials as a way to make a culture change and improve their productivity. Management wanted to see more engagement from front-line employees in terms of feedback on solutions not just problems. Engagement was also defined as more pride in one’s work, independence on the job, teamwork and commitment. Kingsmill Foods was also hoping the program would improve accuracy in documentation. The company was looking for business outcomes such as the need for less supervision, increased quality, fewer errors, reduced waste and improved productivity.
Essentials skills, Lean 101 and Workplace Performance Projects
Nine front-line employees attended the seven-week, 35-hour Manufacturing Essentials program which combined technical skills with essential skills training. The training included a problem solving and process improvement techniques, lean manufacturing through EMC’s partner Value Stream Solutions and the development of two Workplace Performance Projects (WPPs). One was on Material Flow and the other was on Documentation Accuracy. The instructor focused on embedding essential skills such as numeracy, document use, and presentations skills into the program to help accomplish the WPPs.
Results and Business Impact
The program employed a comprehensive evaluation strategy to determine results. Before the program, participants completed an assessment where they were asked to attempt three essential skills tasks. They also rated their own perceptions of their abilities. Participants completed a capability questionnaire at the completion of the program and a transfer questionnaire two months after the program. Participants and management also participated in interviews two months after the program.
Cultural Shift: Employees have moved from being passive to confident and independent…
Both management and participants rated the outcomes of the training very highly. Overall, management indicated that Manufacturing Essentials met or exceeded their expectations in terms of results. Management was looking for more engagement, better analytical skills and more of a team effort. They said they got the outcomes they were looking for. There was also a culture shift in that employees are taking more ownership, are more action-oriented and have moved from being passive to confident and independent. Positive changes included more streamed documentation processes, better inventory accuracy and less downtime at changeover. In the words of one manager, “I was expecting a 7 [out of 10] from the program but I think it was more an 8 to 8.5. We found what we were looking for.”
Feedback from Participants: Teamwork and How to Solve Problems
Participants rated their skill level after the program mostly as high or very high. They are very confident or confident to apply what they have learned on the job. The most important things they learned were teamwork and how to solve problems. The majority have been able to use what they learned on the job to a great or very great extent. One participant noted, “It opened my eyes to talk to operators to get insight into how things can be improved. Listening to ideas, I blend my ideas with theirs. Be patient. No bad idea.” Both management and participants agreed that as a result of the program, participants are taking on more of a leadership role at work.
A big thank you to Kingsmill Foods management and participants for their valuable feedback and time during the pilot phase as well as our project partner ABC Life Literacy.
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