Permacon produces concrete pavement, slabs and borders intended for landscaping work. A part of this company’s operation has a seasonal character because, for multiple reasons, workers change from one job to another almost every season.
The Besser (a paving stone mold) operator’s position was paid special attention, because this job is crucial for the mixing of the products and the blocks’ fabrication, and must also meet consumers’ quality standards.
The Besser’s operation includes procedures of starting, stopping, adjustment, change of mold and heads, monitoring of quality parameters, lockout and preventive maintenance.
Historically, the length of training duration for this position was approximately six weeks, and the training system was based on on-the-job training and basic documentation. Operational procedures varied from one operator to another. The quantity of blocks produced varied significantly from one shift to another.
There were three main challenges to overcome:
- Increasing the number of saleable blocks by shift;
- Standardise operational procedures across shifts;
- Optimize training investments by accelerating skills acquisition.
With Permacon’s employees, HumEng developed job skills profiles based on the best operators’ knowledge. These profiles were developed based on the modified DACUM model and were validated by the operators and their foremen.
The “what”, “why” and “how to” skills were identified for each position.
A training module was developed for every position. The Besser operator one was based on the best practices of the most successful operators, as well as equipment technical manuals and archived processes.
One operator by position was selected to be the trainer of new operators. The selection process for this operator/trainer was based on interviews and recognized selection criteria.
Two employees, one who had not operated the Besser for three years and one who was a general laborer, came to the training course. After three days of training in the classroom and in the manufacturing shop, both applicants operated the Besser under supervision. After three days of training on the machine, the two employees could operate it alone.
Immediate gains: with six days of training, we met and even exceeded production norms. Previously, it had taken six weeks of training to achieve these norms.
“The average training time is now around six days, while before it was six weeks. Employees were also made aware of the importance of becoming productive quickly, in order to ensure the company’s success.” – Normand Préville, Permacon’s Director of Operations