Catch the Wind Early in 2019: Knowledge Reduces Risk and Increases Operational Effectiveness By Mark Delfunt, Director Knowledge Management, InSource Solutions With wind in the sails of a record manufacturing economy, it’s worth asking: “How can we make sure we catch all of the wind possible to maximize success for our organization and our people?” Fair enough question? Most of us are aware that executives around the country are working diligently this quarter to create the strategies and tactics for their organizations to make sure they have the right sails deployed to catch the wind in 2019. In his book, Turn the Ship Around, Captain David Marquet speaks of how highly connected training and retraining is to the success of a Los Angles class nuclear submarine (a hunter killer, as their called). A mistake or lack of knowledge could lead to their destruction or create the need to return to port for extensive repairs costing them weeks or months. Like manufacturing, Marquet’s crew is always in a state of flux. However, the success of the organization (or submarine in this case) cannot depend on one or two people having the required skill because it’s just a matter of time before they move on and someone else will take over that post. “Crew turnover” can be abrupt. Similarly, many manufacturers today are experiencing high employee turnover as a result of too few skilled workers for this booming economy combined with baby boomer retirements. This has created a regular “all hands-on deck” cry from the captains of our industry ships in order to maintain a safe and efficient operation. Additional training almost always equates to reduced risk, more efficient operations, and increased employee morale. This is never truer than during an “all hands-on deck” season. Technology training and reinforcement is a key area we should all address but that ignores the people side of the equation. How do I apply that technology to my existing routines? How do I use my new-found knowledge to make process improvements? How does the technology fit into other requirements of my job and how would I use it to optimize how my people communicate and function as a team? What about our work activities – do our new employees understand the organization’s priorities and how to be most effective? Yes, it’s a journey, not an event; we don’t get there overnight. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start and end with a new or repurposed employee. Is Q1 2019 a good time for you to “catch the wind” with an increased investment in training? Areas where InSource can help include technology training (classroom or virtual) in addition to people and “standard work” process training. We have subject matter experts that know how to assess the skills of your team members and make training recommendations for individuals and the whole team. Whether you need help training leaders or operators, we have programs designed to increase the effectiveness of your people so that 2019 can be your best year yet. Click here to learn more about our 2019 Training programs.