The Irish plant of the world’s largest lens manufacturer was in the process of restructuring
and upgrading their manufacturing plant and took the opportunity to introduce Lean
Manufacturing principles into the manufacturing processes.
After an initial assessment of the factory which identified a series of improvement
opportunities, WBS were charged with delivering a training programme for 60 members
of staff with participation of all levels from the Plant General Manager to Operators.
The intention was to achieve a broad increase in knowledge and skills to enable the
employees to implement and sustain Lean Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement
The company identified 60 members of staff from all levels of the organisation and formed 5 groups of 12 participants.
A training programme of 4 closely related 1-day training modules was designed covering:
- Management Excellence (fundamental management skills)
- Workplace Management (5S)
- Problem Solving
The training schedule was 1 module per month and each module was delivered over 5 consecutive days. In this way all participants received the same training at the same time ensuring a consistent message and
It was important to the organisation that management was seen to actively take part in
and support the training and each group therefore had participation of managers, team
leaders and operators.
This posed a challenge to WBS to customise training content which would capture the
attention of all participants. This was achieved through the flexible approach to training
delivery which allowed for the variation of skills levels and position within the company. The participants in part educated each other by bringing their varied everyday working
life into the training. Exercises were designed in such a way that everybody could
participate and contribute.
Each training module relied on real life issues and scenarios from the work place and all
participants were expected to bring examples of their working day to the training.
A consistent message was spread across the entire organisation and everybody knew
that both managers and operators were trained to the same level.
Because of the mixed group approach, issues and concerns were put on the table and
dealt with in an open and non-confrontational atmosphere. Especially the Problem Solving
module proved the importance of involving a broad spectrum of employees to achieve
diverse perspectives on a problem before deciding on a solution.
As a direct result of the training the client introduced a series of problem solving
workshops. This proved to be a new and successful approach to problem solving. Given
the Facilitation training, there was significantly less reluctance to lead a session and to
Furthermore, 5S events were introduced across the shop floor.
As an additional benefit, one of the WBS trainers provided one-to-one coaching to one
manager who subsequently experienced vastly improved staff and union relations and
willingness to co-operate and communicate appropriately was established.
“I felt involved and information was given when required”
“The workshops were very enjoyable, plenty of ideas being thrown around”
“Very hands on with plenty of exercises”
“I can use these techniques in my department”
“Resistance examples were realistic and valuable preparation”
“The interaction of the group helped making sense of the concepts”
“I enjoyed the examples, exercises and real life discussions with the other course attendees”
“Exercises provided the skills required in a safe practice environment”
“Everyone should have this course”
“Great being the facilitator and actually learning from those you were facilitating”