In 2012, Control magazine conducted research revealing that “nearly 80% of unscheduled production downtime is preventable, and half of this is due to operator error.” With the continued turnover of printing industry workers, it’s safe to assume that that statistic is even more relevant today.
The solution? Training. Yet for many organizations, training is considered an expense they simply can’t afford. However, there is a viable, albeit obvious, justification: a significant investment has already been made in machines that represent businesses’ lifeblood. And, if those machines are not properly operated, they will never deliver their expected ROI.
Here’s what to consider in order to ensure your training program achieves maximum results:
Who to train? Training doesn’t have to be just for new workers. In today’s ever-changing workflows, experienced operators can always refine and refresh their skills. What’s more, workers trained on multiple machines provide greater flexibility on the production line.
Who should do the training? Preferably, the OEM. They engineered the machine, thoroughly understand its nuances, and know how it can achieve maximum productivity.
How should operators be trained? Training is about problem solving. One of the most effective exercises is when the trainer intentionally creates a problem in the machine. The operators are then engaged in active decision-making to rectify the problem. In the real world, these skills help reduce or eliminate breakdowns before they escalate into costly downtime.
When’s the best time to train? The ideal time is during scheduled shutdowns and/or maintenance, as well as when a machine has been upgraded.
A few years back, The New York Times invested in SLS 2000 inserting machine training which was facilitated by Muller Martini. Mike Joyce, Mailroom Supervisor, reported these results:
“Better trouble-shooting skills was the Number One reason for training our operators of all skill levels. The quality of the machine setup during makeready has improved and is more consistent from operator to operator. We’ve increased our throughput 8% since 2015, and another 3% since 2016. What’s more, we found that operators who were trained take more ownership of the machine and products they produce, which translates into higher quality products coming off the machine, increased productivity and less down time due to increased machine knowledge and a new-found ability to overcome obstacles.”
I thank Mike for his feedback and welcome yours.