A new training room unveiled at Wittur Italy in Colorno
A new training room unveiled at Wittur Italy in Colorno
Colorno, November, 5th 2021
Wittur Italy in Colorno has started a project in cooperation with the Kaizen Institute in Bologna, Italy to approach the initial training of operators of assembly lines in a more structured and effective way.
This Kaizen project was a training within industry (TWI) workshop, a method born in the USA during the Second World War in order to improve production in companies by adding new people into the production line. The aim was to train them in the shortest time possible to do things they never did before.
The focus of the project was to develop a standard initial training for all new operators of Wittur Italy assembly lines including some general topics such as safety, but also featuring specific hands-on sessions with a trainer to clarify and practice all operations required on the assembly line. Part of the project was also to train the first two Wittur trainers about Kaizen, how to break up each working step, how to create a standard and teach it. Another part of the project was the establishment of an objective evaluation system on the effectiveness of each training. That’s why Wittur started this project, we had the need to have new employees, attentive to quality and moreover trained and aware about safety rules.
This project was sponsored by Hervé Guesquières, Wittur Global Industrial Engineering Director and was lead by Laura Montanari, Process Industrialization & Lean Manager Wittur SpA ,and Paolo Staibano, Production Manager Wittur SpA.
As Laura and Paolo explained in their presentation, the key to the effectiveness of the new training is the preliminary work on the creation of a documented standard procedure for each workplace on the assembly line. Each step, as well as the correct sequence of operations, were tested and validated before formalization into the procedure. This proved to be a formidable challenge – operations to be performed for Augusta Evo assembly line were divided into not less than 104 basic activities for two assembly lines, and a total of 38 were completely described, tested, challenged and validated under the coaching and supervision of Giancarlo Gavioli and Marco Vicentini from Kaizen Institute.
Moreover, a new training room was created at Wittur Colorno. In this new area all workplaces on the assembly lines can be simulated with real working conditions and with total safety during training. The newly created training room is also the place where the complete documentation is kept, used, challenged and improved during trainings.
At the end of the first part of this project, two employees from Wittur Colorno, Lorenzo Biancaniello and Matteo Artoni, received their trainer qualification diploma. They are now qualified to perform the initial training of operators of the Augusta Evo and standard mechanism and operators assembly lines.
Laura Montanari pointed out that most of the effort of the project was on the new trainers: “they needed to reason in a different way, change their mindset and create clear standards so that every person in Wittur can approach their work in the most optimized way. Starting out was the hardest moment, as we had to convince all other company functions about the usefulness of this project and in some cases overcome some skepticism”.
Paolo Staibano underlines the advantages of the approach taken: “it was a hard work to prepare the training room; besides that, our trainers needed to get under the skin of things and understand not only how each production step should be performed, but also why. This proved to be a clear advantage: we were able to improve a lot of processes and our teaching skills were greatly enhanced. Sometimes we had to challenge priorities to keep the project running, but in the end the results of the first initial trainings convinced our colleagues that we were on the right track. As one of the production supervisors told me, he was relieved of the training task, for which he normally has very little time. And he got skilled persons on the line right from the start, with less need for coaching and supervision from his side”.
Lorenzo Biancagnello and Matteo Artoni, the new trainers, both expressed their satisfaction: “For me this was an improvement opportunity. I come from the assembly line and when I started, I got very little training”. “I started this project to be able to do something different. Then, step by step, when I started to break up each task and describe them, I started to understand. I learned new things; I now feel more professionally prepared”.
“Our colleagues were very doubtful at the beginning, some of them would mock us and call us “professors”. Then, when they saw the first results, they understood that our work is useful, and now they are keen on cooperating with us. They told me that they were able to work only in specific workplaces on the line, while the newly trained colleagues were able to operate on more workplaces from the start”.
“I can relate one specific case we experienced: one of our first trainees was already working on the line for some weeks, and later we did a training with him with the new procedure. After our training, he told me that being able to have a structured training was very helpful for him, as he was now aware of the meaning of each operation and he was able to perform much better on the line, he felt more comfortable and would not feel as a burden to his colleagues”.
Gianluca Sangermano, head of HR Italy, pointed out that “with this project we transfer production competence from the brains of the persons working on the line to the training center, and we are able to spread the best practices and give people the right information to perform better”.
Alberto Carini, Manager of Wittur and Hungary Cluster operations, was very pleased with the activity: “I really think that this is a very important step in the direction of even more consistent quality of our products and safety of our work environment. I especially like the idea to be now able to supply each employee with adequate training to level their capability and give our production a flexible approach, as people will be able after these trainings to perform in multiple workplaces in different production lines”.
At the end of the unveiling ceremony, Laura Montanari also received a special token: a Daruma puppet, that in Japanese culture is a talisman of good luck at the start of a change process. This puppet is initially blind, hence the white eyes. After the change process is started and established, the key actors can draw one of the pupils. The puppet will constantly look with one eye on the continuation of the project, and it will be the visible sign that further work is needed. Only when the project targets are successfully met, the project leader will be able to draw also the second pupil and complete the puppet, and this will mean extend the training to other production lines, train more trainers and do more training to persons working on production lines. We look forward to this moment!
As in Kaizen Institute say, investing in people is the best investment that a company can make because people are the engine of continuous improvement.
Only investing in people you can change for the better and do Kaizen everyday.
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