On-the-job training (OJT) is often hailed as best practice in manufacturing. After all, it just makes sense for workers to learn right where they’ll be applying the training, using the actual equipment. Workers themselves love it, too, because they are learning by doing. And the frequent one-on-one dialogue provides opportunities to strengthen employee/supervisor relationships.
However, OJT also has its well-documented faults that pose challenges for every manufacturing company. Consistency is at the top of that list. Maintaining a system that ensures any OJT being provided is accurate and has been vetted and approved by operational leaders has historically been difficult to say the least. It can also spread bad practices if below average team members are the ones doling out OJT on the fly.
Tips for Better OJT
If you’re looking to improve your on-the-job training, you’ll need to become more nimble. While the challenges of OTJ training are real, they’re not unmanageable. Consider implementing the following, well-proven elements for increasing agility so that you can move through the day and production floor with greater ease and cut down on documentation paperwork.
Leverage OJT mobile apps to create a training course by recording training moments via photo or video. Demonstrating the correct way to use a machine or perform a task can’t get any clearer than showing the correct way to do it. Videoing an expert doing so is a great start. And turning that into a course with quizzes to verify comprehension is easier than ever thanks to new apps.
Prevent unsanctioned OJT from being spread. Build clear guidelines on who can provide OJT, and have a lock-tight system on how OJT content is created, validated, and approved. Again, this once daunting challenge is much easier to wrangle, thanks to mobile OJT platforms with this process baked in.
Have supervisors signoff that the OJT was accurate and understood. After delivering on the job training, you’ll want to sleep peacefully at night knowing that you have a trained, capable worker operating a highly hazardous piece of equipment. By verifying that it happened, you know for certain that a qualified supervisor observed an employee receive proper training.
Put all necessary information in the palm of your hand. A platform that gives you an instant snapshot of the skill level and expertise of each employee and validates their job-specific training allows you to easily and quickly elect your best workers to model specific tasks for documentation.
Capture institutional knowledge before it walks out the door. Speaking of documentation, some of your best employees will be leaving the workforce sooner or later. Putting in the effort to retain this information, whether it’s via a platform or hard files can smooth the rough edges of absence-related emergencies, bridge the skills gap, and reduce unplanned downtime.
When you empower your on-the-job training program, you empower your frontline workers, who have the biggest impact on your company’s output and bottom line.