During manufacturing management trainee training trainees rotate from department to department to learn every production process and auxiliary support function with the ultimate goal of being able to manage the technological processes and lead the people who do the work. Analysis and synthesis of how and why specific jobs helped to support production goals was essential before assignment of trainees to official management positions. The concept of pt originated over the first four years of production experiences within the textile industry and further honed during additional years in the textile industry healthcare and nutrition bottling and mining industries. The concept is also supported by research citations from leaders in the hotel and tourism engineering and retail industries .
The originating case for this concept is the textile industry where processes began with inhouse research and development r d and proceeded through preparation to dyeing to finishing to physical testing to final inspection to shipping with many supporting activities in between. Complexity was the norm when running over 400 different styles of fabric in over 25 000 colors at any given time. In the midst of all this complexity the biggest shock was that many of the 1 100 employees were marking an x on the required signature line on the form to confirm receipt of their pay check every two weeks.
The vast majority of the wage employees could not read or write in 1991; in america. this was particularly interesting and bothersome at the same time because on the one hand the organization was very successful at producing first quality product and meeting organizational goals. the elements of quality systems would say that this facility was very successful. However on the other hand in order to obtain international organization of standards iso certification for the plant the literacy standards of the people had to be increased to adjust to the required changes. one of the key elements for iso certification is training and development and in this particular case virtually all the problems that arose were considered to be people problems implying that the lack of education of the workforce was the root cause of all problems.
Hard to believe since the facility was processing over 2.5 million yards of 1st quality product each week and investing over $30 million dollars in new equipment with no additional funding for training and development of an underdeveloped workforce. To improve the production capacity of employees being supervises the decision was to test and see if the problems with off quality fabric were a result of people problems. To succeed in finding the competitive advantage through people equipment processes training and communication the simple theory was to consider people as a technology. The elements that compared technology characteristics on the left of the equal sign to people characteristics on the right side of the equal sign were to be evaluated and compared were: location cohesiveness in assigned environment; use qualifications; maintenance continuous training; and modification growth and change. the comparisons and evaluation of these elements were made with the ultimate goal of creating a first quality product and/or providing excellent service within the organization.
To begin the project of assessing whether or not production problems were indeed people problems beam tickets work order traceable tickets were collected from 1st and 3rd shift on finishing frames dryers 10-15 for six months 3 introduction each time an operator reported a problem or defect within any lot of fabric during production. that particular lot of fabric was then allowed to clear the inspection department before determining if information reported by finishing operators was confirmed after final inspection. Inspectors logged this information into a computer system as they inspected fabric so verified information was obtained from an electronic database and compared against the information provided by the operators and documented on the beam tickets.
From the final project analysis of all data the following information was deduced:
1. Identified key problems and sources of the problems for each finishing frame 10-15 recommendations for solving the problems were provided to operators and management.
2. Confirmed the concept of people as a technology because of the responsibilities that employees were held accountable for without proper financial and other resources. The disparity in investment in equipment/ technology and the investment in people was so vast that people might need to be treated or viewed as a technology to inspire better treatment. The suggestion was made to further explore the following comparisons: location cohesiveness in assigned environment; use qualifications; maintenance continuous training; and modification growth and change.
3. Determined that many of the problems were equipment process training and communication problems and not directly people problems.
4. Recommended a shadow program and cross-training program for operators to learn to recognize types of problems associated with job requirements that required operators to move from frame to frame without understanding process changes of styles and finishes of fabric. complexity without effective training causes employees to make errors.
5. Acknowledged that a first quality product can be adversely affected by people equipment processes training and communication.
6. Discovered limited effectiveness of business strategies including iso 9000 total quality management tqm just-in-time jit and teams employed in the plant because of the lack of effective management and leadership of people equipment processes training and communication.
7. Identified an under-educated and undertrained workforce.
8. Identified communication as a key to bring closure to problems. during this project case the analogy of people to technology was made because of the vast discrepancy of how much money this particular facility was investing in new technology as opposed to people.
Construction engineers tore down walls to provide additional space to the facility to house the new equipment while employees worked in cramped spaces within a plant that could reach well over 100 degrees during the summers. thus a consideration of the location value of equipment versus location value of people was warranted. the new technology was brought in from japan and gaston county nc with technical manuals and technical experts to install the equipment to make sure the technology was used appropriately. Thus a consideration of the use value of people in the facility was merited. People were constantly perceived to be the problem when they made mistakes. They were then required by human resource reprimand policies to remain on jobs that they may not have been best suited to perform. there was no job rotation or changes if they received a certain number of reprimands. Ultimately even if they had the potential to do a different job better they were fired for not performing their current job.
To put this into a better context employees were trained on a particular finishing frame but once trained for six weeks they were often assigned to operate different frame. there were seldom any adjustments made for the different types of 4 introduction fabric being run on the frame to which they were assigned. For example if they were trained on a polyester finishing frame and then assigned to run a wool finishing frame they had no frame of reference regarding how polyester fabric had different characteristics than wool fabric. They could do the fundamental operations of the frame but could not adjust to any complexities or identify any defects within the fabric. Missing defects was one of the main reasons for reprimands.
There was a huge maintenance staff and maintenance training program that the company developed and sold to other production companies throughout the world. Maintenance employees were trained and developed in ways that were directly tied to maintaining all of the technology and equipment in the plant. this staff included a painter whose only job was to paint 8 hours a day. however all employees were not trained and developed or had their skills maintained in the same way. Consequently maintenance value of equipment or technology versus maintenance value of people was considered. these same maintenance employees were asked to work with the engineering department to modify equipment when asked; which was often since the in-house r d staff consistently introduced new fabric ideas.
Hence equipment modification value versus people modification value was considered since employees began to acquire geds and other skills outside the facility as the organization began to realize that more knowledgeable employees were needed not only to operate new equipment and technology but also to meet iso guidelines. Ultimately a room was built in the plant to house a ged classroom and local teachers were brought in to offer ged preparation to the employees. At this point in development of the model time value was not a part of the model. Also this was at a time when it was not politically correct to even mention technology in the same sentence as people. The project results revealed that people were not the problem or cause of many of the problems that occurred within many production processes. The problems identified were more often equipment processes training and communication and not employees. Often the people had very little control over any of these matters. they were not allowed to adjust equipment without a supervisor present. they did not develop the processes and were not allowed to alter them. they were recipients of training not active participants in the training.
Communication was often one-way with the employees as receivers of information. To be successful an understanding the concept of pt requires one to alter traditional thought processes with regards to how people are treated and developed and how technologies processes and procedures are managed. using this concept contributed to success because the blend of how to manage technology and develop people effectively can be directly attributed to efficiency increases. This concept has also been used to design training programs. Many organizations already know how to train people. The role of this concept is to help hr managers and corporate leaders recognize their best practices and leverage them through an ideal blend of people and technology in the workplace. Time value was added to the model after managing a group of people that consisted of temporary contract and permanent employees where there was truly no knowledge of know how long the temporary and contract employees would be needed as the transition was being made from an r d production line to a traditional production line.
Typically temporary employees were a highly unstable workforce especially when assigned to 3rd shift operations. the cost of technology is often depreciated over time on the balance sheet but nowhere is the time value for employees documented. besides employment –at will allowed the employee and organization to disengage from each other without cause koy briggs grenig 1987; malos 1998 there was not a specific theoretical foundation to introduce this to academia or other areas of the business literature at this point because it 5 introduction was primarily applied in practice. The dilemma between theory and practice is continuously debated berger kehrhahn summerville 2004 how does one introduce theory into practice is the normal progression of the question.
This book describes one case where it is reversed; a simple concept that works in practice needed to be introduced into the theoretical and academic world of research. are we past the time where ideas similar to the apples falling from the tree and sir isaac newtons subsequent development of the three laws of motion and gravity as a result and the mainstream accepting it as possible if so it must consider whether or not theoretical and conceptual research is accepted as a viable form of research or if we should simply depend upon empirical study to accept ideas and concepts as acceptable for addition to the knowledge base. the continued development of this idea over 15 years occurred within academia and in workplace. a discussion of the use of cognitive behavioral and cultural research sparked the beginning of the theoretical concept to introduce the idea pt to the scholarly community.
This concept is still evolving hence this book. as with most new ideas and concepts there is a tendency for oversimplification. some questions that have been entertained regarding the idea of viewing pt have included: for example consider the implications of viewing human beings as machines such as computers electric pencil sharpeners or automated telephone answering services. the actual premise of this concept is using the word as in the form of a simile not as a substitution. therefore it is asking hr managers and corporate leaders to consider the complexities of humans as they do the complexity technology. another question was: do we not recycle or discard these technological devices when they no longer serve our needs certainly humans do not wish to be viewed as technology and discarded and this not the intent of this book.
Some concerns expressed regarding the five point model stability include: productivity gains skill development supply risks and time to market. productivity gains are addressed within the model with regards to the improved effectiveness of people and technology through better understanding and application of the five values. skill development is clearly covered in the maintenance and modification areas of the model. supply risks are often addressed through iso certifications; most organizations that compete internationally are iso certified. Also many supply risks are handled through government laws and regulations which are beyond the scope of this book.
Time to market is often incorporated within the production process so that lead time is built in to the process. the time to market cannot be isolated from the technological processes and procedures which are covered in the cognitive portion of the book. since the beginning of recorded time humans have enriched their lives through the labor of other humans. there have been many methods used attain enrichment from the work efforts of people; some positive and some negative. methods have included slavery feudal systems indentured servitude apprenticeship child labor and prison labor. some of these methods continue today. however since the industrial revolution technology has received more recognition for productivity gains than human effort drucker 1999 this is a key source of debate when organizations try to define their competitive advantage in the marketplace.