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May the skill be with you.


I was talking with a plant manager about the need for skill training. As I discussed, I was thinking about the synonym for his use of the word “Skills.” “Dark magic,” “Ninjutsu,” or the “Force”? Whatever it was, he sounded that skill is something mysterious that only time can solve the issue.


Skill should not be mysterious. Skill should be scientific.

I usually focus on the Hand, Leg, Eye, and Intuitions & Tricks/Tips first.


"May the skill be with you."


When I try to identify the skills on the shop floor, I observe the following points of skills first.


Hand; how an operator holds a tool or material? It sounds simple, but that is where I began. It is similar to sports or music. What is the grip for the club or the racket? How do you hold the instruments? Without proper methods of holding by hands, no movement will be successful. This simple rule applies in the industrial world, too. Once I watched a youtube video on the use of a caliper. Then I compared how it is on the floor. Nobody was holding the caliper the right way. The only person who knew the right way was the head of the quality department. We had to train everyone in the organization to be aware of the correct holding of the tool. Every tool has the right way of holding it. Without the proper holding, we will not gain the quality & efficiency of the instrument.



Leg; how to stand or what is the posture? Sounds too simple? Many Japanese baseball players struggle in the Major League. Why? Japanese players have a leg-up stance, which is ineffective against a major league fastball. Only a few were able to adjust this stance at that high level. How is this related to the industrial world? My coach usually pointed out how people were standing in front of the machine. He highlighted that everyone had to bend to set materials in the machine, which was not good ergonomics. He asked to create a foot space under the equipment, making standing easier. Good posture allows one to use the skills properly; therefore, good posture is part of excellent skill.


Eye; what to see or focus on? There are lessons on where to focus when you hit the ball in golf. Most sports have some specific points to focus on. Or it is about distracting the opponents from that focus. Such learnings can be applied to operation skills. We need to be clear on what to look at. It is a dangerous assumption to think that what to see is evident. Random focus points and distractions will lead to quality issues.


Intuition & tricks/tips (Kan & Kotsu); Not necessarily all skills are explicit. Yet, the effort to convert tacit know-how into explicit knowledge is key to developing skills training. There are two topics in this area. First is the “Intuition (Kan).” My understanding of the meaning is to judge instantly if things are good or bad without consideration and guessing. Tricks/tips allow someone to complete tasks efficiently and effectively. These intuitions & tricks/tips should be captured as “one-point advice.” Otherwise, we quickly lose such skills. Also, the time for training will get longer.


So instead of keeping the “skills” as something mysterious, try to identify them first. To determine the skills, I will focus on the points of hand, leg, eye, intuition & tricks.

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