Last week, Tooling-U started looking at best practices for on-the-job training (OJT).

With an incoming pipeline of unskilled workers, OJT is more important than ever. Manufacturers that are out in front of the skills gap are formalizing — and validating — the transfer of knowledge from seasoned employees to younger members of the workforce.

OJT Best Practices

Scenarios differ – some companies are fending off the “silver tsunami” of retirements. Others are opening new facilities and need additional workers to support their growth.

Last week, we talked about three best practices: Standardized Tools, Train the Trainer, and Clear Progression Models. Here are three more OJT best practices that can benefit the bottom line.

  • Evaluate, Validate, and Measure. As with all training programs, OJT should align with an organization’s business needs. Tracking key performance indicators related to company productivity and growth helps define return on investment. Today, training programs must validate their worth by demonstrating positive impact on the bottom line. For instance, Malnove, one of North America’s largest folding carton designers and manufacturers, uses a robust Learning Management System, which allows the company to easily track training, provide assessments and print reports.
  • Management Commitment. The ultimate success of any training program requires a strong commitment by both line organization management and training management. “A formal onboarding and OJT program has a direct, positive impact on productivity,” said Mari Burt, training and wellness coordinator, Asahi Kasei Plastics.
  • Build a Learning Culture. OJT is a critical part of a learning culture. It ensures a training program brings consistent and efficient learning to an organization, providing a competitive advantage. It is important to build a company-wide learning culture around the idea that everyone must be engaged and always learning, whether that means new technology or new approaches. Again, Asahi Kasei is a great example. Last April, Asahi Kasei opened a $30 million plastics plant in Athens, Alabama. They needed to quickly onboard and train 45 technicians to be shop-floor ready. The company realized that an upfront investment in building a strong learning and development program, including OJT, would save time and costs in the long run. Based on early success, the company saw continued growth, and began hiring for a third production line.

Have you implemented OJT practices? Tell us about your successes – or what you learned on the way to them.

To learn more about on-the-job standardized work programs, download a copy of this complimentary white paper, “Back to the Future: On-the-Job Training.”


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