Procedures and Training.

For decades I have been preaching the benefits of clearly defined processes with documented procedures combined with thorough employee training, testing, and accountability. I offer my services to help guide you through troubleshooting processes, defining procedures, and training and testing your workforce.  I've done quite a bit of procedural troubleshooting in warehouse and manufacturing operations.

The long version of my approach towards procedures and training.

Early in my career I realized the importance of clearly defined and communicated processes and procedures. I like to tell the story of how the first work procedure I ever read, was also the first work procedure I ever wrote. Even though I had already been in the workforce for over 10 years, I had never been given documented instructions on how to do my job. In fact I have a very vivid memory of actually being trained incorrectly on how to perform a certain task, and subsequently I did it incorrectly for over a month before I found out I was doing it wrong. I also recall a situation where I there were several methods used by workers (I was one of the workers).for accomplishing a specific task, but the end product was different based on how the worker chose to perform the task. That didn't make sense to me, so I inquired up the chain-of-command to find out what the "right' method was to make sure I was doing it right. And . . . well . . .I didn't get an answer.

I had a strong feeling that training and accountability were critical to running an effective operation, and that documented procedures were a critical part of this process.  In fact, I purchased my first PC back in the early 90s primarily because I wanted to use the word processor to write procedures (little did I know then how much fun I would have with spreadsheets, databases, CAD programs . . . ). I was right about the importance of procedures and training, and this has only been reaffirmed in my subsequent experiences over the years.

Sadly, things have not changed that much and most warehouse and production workers still have not been given documented procedures or adequate training. When I started my consulting business back in 2000, I was hoping a significant part of my business would be related to helping clients with procedures and training. I even developed a demo of an elaborate browser-based training program (actually more of a knowledge bank) to help demonstrate the potential of emerging technologies and to show how useful an easily accessible knowledge bank would be. The browser-based program was essentially a website (all html) that could be run from the internet, an internal network, or a CD. It contained detailed procedures for each task including photos, screenshots, scanned images of documents, and other reference materials. It really was very cool and ahead of its time.

Unfortunately, no one seemed to be interested in elaborate training materials and I honestly don’t remember ever actually showing the demo to a prospective client. What a shame, but I got over it.  

This isn’t to say that I don't helped clients with procedures and training. In fact, this is a rather significant part of my business. I do a lot of work helping clients troubleshoot processes and define procedures that help to increase accuracy, quality, productivity, and safety. As part of this, I will often provide the client with documentation on the processes and recommendations for key parts of the procedures. I then leave it to them to adapt this into their task-specific procedures.

In other words, rather than me actually writing the entire procedures for clients (something I would have done back then), I now focus on helping the client to write their own procedures. We basically go step by step through key processes, and I point out areas that are potentially problematic and recommend possible procedural changes to improve the process.  I document key parts of the process/procedure to give them an idea what a good procedure should look like. This approach helps the client to understand how to define and document procedures so they can continue on without me. When it comes to employee training, again, I don’t actually do the training, but I will help to guide you through the process of training (and testing) your workforce.

This service works well through E-consulting