Skilled employees and smooth-running production lines are vital to every manufacturing company. Combining Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) and skills management allows you to capitalize fully on both your workforce and material assets. Let’s take a closer look at how this works.
TPM & skills management
Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) originated in Japan. It was conceived as a method to manage maintenance and servicing more proactively and its main aim is to improve productivity. TPM involves deploying small, multidisciplinary teams to incrementally improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) throughout your organization. The result is a reduced likelihood that problems will arise, such as unscheduled shutdowns, slow startup times, and quality/productivity drops.
A characteristic of TPM is the concept of shared ownership of the working environment. This involves making operators responsible for the condition and maintenance of their own machinery and workstations. Preventive maintenance then takes precedence over breakdown maintenance. This is why training, safety, and standard operating procedures are an important part of TPM.
Skills management simply entails mapping your organization’s expertise and experience in full. Armed with a complete picture of your workforce’s skills and competences, you know who can do what, who’s responsible, and how to help with their career development.
Getting to grips with your staff’s skills
TPM is based on eight principles:
- Focused improvement
- Autonomous maintenance
- Planned maintenance
- Early equipment/product management (EEM/EPM)
- Education & training
- Quality management
- Health, safety & environment (HSE)
- Administration & offices
Because most operating processes are partially or wholly manual, No. 5 (Education & training) is of particular importance. The aim is to transform your company into a learning organization where personnel are able to acquire, retain, and transfer knowledge.
It goes without saying that being able to keep track of your staff’s knowledge and skills is vital if you’re serious about training and education.
Keeping track is critical for numerous reasons:
- Personnel performing work they’re not trained for is a recipe for disaster. The likelihood of accidents increases and productivity decreases.
- Proper records make it easy to pass internal and external audits with flying colors.
- Good skills management makes it easier to attract new staff. What’s more, you can see exactly where skills gaps would emerge if certain staff members were to leave or were off sick, making it easier to target recruitment efforts or find replacements.
- Implementing TPM without a clear picture of your workforce’s skills and competences is like attempting to cross the Pacific without a navigation system.
Make it visual!
As humans, we’re visual animals. We have an innate ability to distill and cross-reference visual information. This is why we appreciate data visualizations, such as infographics, graphs, tables, and matrices, so much.
Visualizing skills and competences is, therefore, key to skills management. Two ways to achieve this are skills matrices and skills management software.
Skills matrices are a schematic overview presenting all your staff’s individual skills, competences, and/or qualifications. They’re made up of a series of rows and columns. They list your employees’ names down the left-hand column and all the skills needed to perform a certain task along the top row (or vice versa).
Using skills matrices has many benefits for employers and employees alike:
- You can identify critical tasks and requirements quickly and easily. For example, which skills are already well represented within the company? Or where are skills gaps emerging?
- It becomes much easier to find skilled/qualified replacements or extra staff during peak periods.
- You’ll also have a far clearer picture of how your staff are progressing with their professional development. For example, where have employees been making the most progress over the past few months or years? And where do we need to make further improvements?
- Armed with this information, it becomes far easier to identify staff members able to support your organization’s TPM processes.
- Employees also gain sharper insights into their own skills, making career development a lot simpler.
Companies often start using spreadsheets to get to grips with skills management. Microsoft’s MS Excel is the most widely used of these spreadsheet applications. Take a look at our Excel skills matrix templates.
Skills management software
Most companies, however, run into a number of challenges with their spreadsheet-based skills matrices. Spreadsheets soon become overly complex and are extremely error-prone, not to mention the version management headaches they cause. As soon as more than one person needs access to these spreadsheets, copies start moving around your organization and things begin to spiral out of control. Before you know it, no one knows who has the latest version or where it is.
A great way to avoid this is to use AG5’s skills management software. You or any other authorized persons (company directors, line managers, supervisors, operators, production workers, anyone) can access accurate and up-to-date information from the work floor – anytime, anywhere, anyplace. Everyone on the same page!
Schedule a live demo – no strings attached – to find out how AG5 can help you get to grips with your organization’s skills management.
Combining TPM and skills management arms you with all the principles and tools you’ll need to take your manufacturing processes to an even higher level – investing in both your workforce and working environment.