Peter Zepf, Wexxar/BEL

Plan on Three Training Sessions for Peak Operation of a Machine

By Peter Zepf, Wexxar/BEL | Permanent Link


A customer called us recently to say the machine we installed a month prior had run smoothly at peak throughput and then suddenly started having real problems. We rushed out a service technician and within 15 minutes the machine was back up to speed. The problem was that an operator had forgotten how to make a particular adjustment that he’d been taught during training at start up. This experience with the customer drove home the point that one training session at start up is simply not enough for most operators. People do not retain all the key facts of operating a machine after a single introductory session.

Over the years, we’ve found the optimum schedule for learning to be an introduction at the plant during start up, a follow up session the next day, and a third time a week later. Most of the training is done at the customer’s plant between the supplier technician and the customer’s staff. If the training can be at the supplier facility, the result would be greater. If that sounds like too much training, compare it to the alternative in machine downtime and lower than expected throughput.

Obviously, time spent away from the plant is difficult to arrange because staffs are so lean. Training at the supplier facility, however, provides the optimum learning environment because personnel are not distracted by day-to-day responsibilities. Try the three-step approach to training for a few pieces of critical equipment and then compare the operational results to other lines at the plant where training was limited to one session at start up. I believe you will find a significant difference in productivity between the two methods.

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