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Adventures In TPS Learning, Skill Sets

Aug 12, 2014 | Posted by Ben Thompson


Wonders never cease in the production environment in my experiences here at Durabody Inc. It is interesting the multitude of skill sets leaders within production benefit from having. This is to say that one in these leadership roles must have the tendencies of a polymath. A polymath is [defined as] a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas; [and that] such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems. Wikipedia My experience which indicates this is true occurred just  yesterday.

Upon one of my gemba walks across our shop floor yesterday one of my team members requested my presence to continue some on the job training with our floor fastening autobolter. Unfortunately 3 screws in we noticed that we had blown an air line connector deep in the bowels of the machine. We quickly came to the consensus that as a short term counter measure training would cease and my team member would continue production with the old arduous procedure for fastening the floor whilst I diagnose and attempt to mend the issue.

This forced me to utilize not only my root cause analysis skills that I have sharpened with the use of TPS’s 5 whys method, but also my working knowledge of pneumatic systems and my experience with hand tools. When I got in to the guts of the machine I realized very quickly that I would benefit from collaboration and guidance from my higher up, Steve Oke.

Steve has an impressive and vast knowledge of many things including concepts and components that affect form and function of just about any tool I have sought his council on in the past. Couple that with his eager willingness to help and his natural inclination to mentor and you have a potent sense of support and leadership to tackle a problem as a team.

As usual Steve’s guidance quickly lead a decisive course of action to extract the damaged part efficiently, and with part in hand he directed me to Rick Aplin, a man that knows components and the best place to acquire them at just a glance. It was because of Rick that said part was in hand this morning so I could reassemble the autobolter and get it back on the line.

I have many more skill sets to learn on my journey to true north but I truly experienced the most important skill set, that of being a team player. Standing shoulder to shoulder is what conquered this problem. Knowing when to pull that andon cord is a big part of leading the charge on a problem, no matter how many aptitudes one possesses. As usual learning is doing so,






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