Lean Manufacturing, Manufacturing Trends

Why the Skills Matrix is sure to be your best friend!

By Jon Richardson
16 Jul 20

Don’t be intimidated by your Skills Matrix. Think about how Keanu Reeves approached The Matrix. Think of the Skills Matrix as your best friend, one who doesn't even expect you to morph or warp or anything. 

Admittedly, a Skills Matrix can initially appear a bit overwhelming. A great Skills Matrix contains a large amount of information. Become familiar with that information, as this tool is meant to be your friend and ally.

Consider this example of a relatively small factory. Say that there are 500 associates in one plant. Then, let's consider a handful of basic Skills that are required of every employee. For the sake of mathematical simplicity, let's say there are 10 Skills that apply to each of our 500 employees. This sample alone can capture 5,000 separate instances: who is trained in what? Add in documentation, and the amount of related instances grows. If that feels like kind of a big number, don't worry. This sample size is small when you are working with a powerful Skills Matrix.

Consider the L2L Skills Matrix, for example. Thousands of associates across multiple plants. Dozens of required skills with various degrees of training associated with each skill and each level. And the supporting documentation to back it up. 

A good Skills Matrix provides its users with a wealth of valuable information. This information can be the game changer and objective evidence trail that has saved many an audit, both internal and external. Passing audits are a must and can be critical for future business. Moreover, a great Training Program and Skills Matrix brings significant value to your sites on a daily basis.  Satisfying your Safety, Quality, Delivery, and Employee Morale KPIs are but a few measurables directly impacted by skills and training. Typically, each of these key objectives have unique and separate policy tactics, methods, documents, and training curriculum. You Skill Matrix is how you keep all these business essential skills, certifications, and documented evidence trail accurate, complete and up to date.

In many manufacturing sites around the world, the need for an objective, bulletproof method to track skills, certifications, and training is an absolute must, and often a mandated requirement.

In the vast majority of sites, it has become a required objective to meet, if not exceed, the standards provided from the ISO-9000 and ISO-1400 families. The processes and audits that are performed, both internally and externally, provide us with objective, quantifiable ways of conducting our daily affairs. These standards have helped many industries determine the best practices to do business.

Industry wide recognized standards, such as those in the ISO families cited previously, have driven the need for the creation and development of LES (Lean Execution Systems) with comprehensive Skills Matrix capabilities.

What To Review, Monitor, and Measure?

Your best friend, the “Skills Matrix”, should quickly provide an objective evidence trail of all information related to your skill development, training, and requirements. When utilizing a great Skills Matrix, what aspects must be reviewed, monitored, and measured? 

  • Instant access to all aspects of training and training records
  • Objective evidence of who has and who needs training
  • Skill revision history
  • Skill trained on dates
  • Trainer of record for each skill
  • User acknowledgement of skill training
  • Electronic signature
  • User Skill Levels
  • Change History
  • Verify Skill usage by user
  • Identify knowledge gaps

L2L's Skills Module

Now imagine utilizing a Skills Matrix with all of the additional functions and capabilities built into the L2L Skills Module. These combined capabilities and functionality can truly add value and error proof your training and employee development departments.

The Skills Module may seem as if it were developed and designed to facilitate passing standardized qualifiers, such as ISO specific audits. These types of standards certainly figured into the equation and played a role in their development. However, these audit examples are a relatively small consideration in the intent and design. 

There are many known reasons for utilizing the Skills Module and Skills Matrix. Many situations that were not anticipated previously have served as catalysts for change in shaping and expanding the Skills Module, and by extension, the Skills Matrix. Many of those unforeseen circumstances, which were so painful at the time, played a considerable role in appreciating the value of implementing the Skills Matrix.

The Value of Skill Development

Challenge your employees to acquire and master new skills. Provide them with opportunities to grow and develop, not just in the tasks they perform, but as teammates and individuals. Utilizing the Skills Matrix gives an objective training development plan to achieve. Raising the skill and ability of all employees has a direct effect on the employee’s confidence, attendance, and ownership. Investing in employee growth and development plays a significant role in many high priority KPIs and measurables:

  • Increased individual productivity
  • Increase morale
  • Improved attendance
  • Improved Quality & Cost of Quality
  • Improved safety behaviors
  • Improved employee engagement and ownership
  • Decreased overall costs

Now think of all the ways you can utilize the power behind the Skills Matrix functions. Use the power and capabilities when initially building your skill requirements. Capturing best practices when developing your skill requirements will enhance the value of your Skills Matrix. Utilize capabilities such as categorizing skills and identify unique training levels for each skill requirement. If your Skills Module and Skills Matrix have capabilities as found in L2L to identify unique and separate Skill requirements, ensure you utilize these functions. Adding Skill requirements according to the user’s role, job function, and/or physical work location, will only enhance the abilities and functions of the Skills Matrix.

Utilizing all the functionality of the Skills Module allows users to maximize these capabilities when executing the Skills Matrix.

To learn more about the L2L Skills Module, click here

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