As a leading, global, consumer products manufacturer of oral care, home care, personal care and pet nutrition products, Colgate-Palmolive is in more homes than any other brand. How does a company like Colgate support and enable the teams on the shop floor to maintain quality and consistency of Colgate products?
Dhiren Doshi, Learning Partner Global Supply Chain partnering with Manufacturing Operations Leadership, and leaders in Global Engineering and Factory Performance & Reliability, drive learning and development of shop floor production staff working at Colgate’s manufacturing plants globally. Dhiren’s focus is how best to provide operators with the equipment learning and skills they need to optimize performance on the production floor.
A typical manufacturing plant at Colgate-Palmolive has multiple production lines, each managed by operators working three or four different shifts, across lines. Complex equipment and machinery are handled on each line. Each has specific operating practices, skills needs and knowledge requirements.
The challenge is how to ensure a production line remains productive while simultaneously meeting peoples’ skills development needs. Hiring the right people in the first instance is essential; operators with the mechanical acuity and electrical skills and the ability to learn. With attrition and retirements, it’s also imperative that there is effective knowledge transfer. When onboarding new operators, equipment training needs to be efficient and effective. Once on the production lines, they should have rapid access to clear, job-specific instructions showing the process and correlating equipment tasks.
“Our strategy focuses on upfront skills and equipment learning assessment methods; and on-the-job-performance support systems; that deliver knowledge to operators, and capture it, in the flow of work.”
Workflow Analysis Defines Equipment Learning based on Impact Severity
First the team focused on the skills assessment methods used in the hiring of plant operators. They introduced a new, scientific, skills testing technology to assess electrical and mechanical skills during recruitment, to fit the right level of candidate to the right job task.
Next they addressed how to evaluate the learning requirements for different production lines, and the different equipment on each line. After learning of the 5 Moments of NeedTM (5 MoN) framework and the benefits of Workflow Learning through his network, Dhiren was keen to try this out at a plant.
In 2017 Xprtise and APPLY Synergies began working with Colgate-Palmolive on a 5 MoN Workflow Analysis for a major production line and primary pieces of equipment. After an initial proof of concept, they went on to implement a full pilot of methodology and workflow learning at one North American plant.
The 5 MoN is a framework for gaining and sustaining effective on-the-job performance for people and work teams. It advocates learning in the workflow, in context to how people perform their jobs. It cultivates self-reliant, engaged people who in two clicks, ten seconds can access just the right information needed, when needed, to solve their problems, learn, and adapt to change. The knowledge accessed is trusted and curated so that operators can have confidence in the information they are receiving.
“5 MoN was an eye-opener for us. It defined a new way of looking at equipment learning needs, categorizing them by business impact severity. Workflow Learning presents step by steps, process info and video learning in a way that is natural to the employee. Now we can focus differently on how we train operators; they can access performance support on the line and in a couple of clicks get information on just the bits they don’t know.”
Workflow Learning Slashes Knowledge Search Time
Workflow Learning was implemented on one production line initially. Nicole Cullen, a plant operator with 17 years of experience, and currently Factory Performance & Reliability focused resource, was steward of the project. Nicole led an internal team of operators through the 5 MoN Workflow Analysis, then advanced the process to create and source the learning content that would be incorporated into the workflow solution.
“We knew immediately it would work as a solution for us; information is current, easily accessible, and everyone can work with it.”
AskDelphi, the Learning Experience and Performance platform was used to deliver contextual, task-based learning and information embedded into the operators’ workflows, available in two clicks, ten seconds. Accessible on various technologies, operators could leverage the solution next to them as they needed immediate instruction or learning for the equipment they were working on.
“In one test case, it took an expert nearly three minutes to find a particular piece of information using our old tools. With Workflow Learning on AskDelphi, the same person with no instruction, found it in 23 seconds.”
With the success of the Workflow Learning pilot in addressing Colgate’s critical business measures, the approach is being rolled out across nine plants representing each region in the global manufacturing network.
AskDelphi as a cloud platform with open architecture APIs, can connect easily with surrounding enterprise systems, communities and content. The final piece of the team’s puzzle was to deliver a video creation capability so operators could launch and capture their own work instructions at point of need and share these with the wider community.
A video knowledge transfer tool allowing operators to capture their own videos on their equipment best practices was deployed; the video learning outputs were then integrated into the task-based, embedded Workflow Learning structure.
Equipment Unplanned Downtime & Changeover Time Down; Utilization & Efficiency Up
With all the strategy pieces in play and operating at the pilot North America site, the local team was able to review the impact on overall productivity and performance of the major production plant.
Over a 12-month period together with other local initiatives, the changeover time in the first line improved by 33%. This correlated with a drop in equipment unplanned downtime of about 7%.
In balance to this, the plant saw improvements in its asset utilization figures on the pilot line, with equipment use rise by 4% and overall operating efficiency rise by 2%.
Widening the model
With successful pilot results and positive reports from plant operators, the 5 MoN framework and Workflow Learning is now being rolled out in nine strategic plants across Colgate’s global manufacturing network.
A two-week workshop held in Mexico trained key representatives from the plants on Workflow Learning using 5 Moments of Need and the AskDelphi platform for contextual, task-based content. This delivered the capability for the plants to implement the same approach locally, focusing on support and standardization of work process and work instructions across plants.
“The vision is to identify the high priority equipment spanning all categories and use 5 MoN effectively to analyze a piece of equipment once, validate with other plants; build the content once; then deploy it, saving us lots of time and money in effort duplication.”