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                                   JULIAN ANGELOZZI (PrEng)
                                           SEPTEMBER 2010

The purpose of this paper is to extend the understanding of what is required when developing
practical maintenance skills within industry. The first part will develop insight into the skill
development link with business and what characteristics must be defined for it to be practicably
applicable. The second part is to lay a foundation appreciation for a realistic approach to
maintenance skill development.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
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It is true that business today is more enlightened as to the impact of intangible assets such as
skill and competence; it is also true that the need for training is now recognized above simply
lurking on the shop floor and learning by experience and osmosis.
However, the full understanding of the skill and competency as an integrated aspect of
business is still not being fully realized.

For example: PLC’s have become a fundamental technology in machinery, not only providing
more efficient control, but is also an excellent tool for machine condition monitoring and fault
analysis. Add to this that it is very rare that a maintenance department will be involved in the
construction of machinery; why then, is so much money spent training artisans to program
PLC’s? Fundamentally, only the course introduction and some sections on addressing are
pertinent to the average artisan. Rather, what is really required is for the artisan to understand
the PLC s as a diagnostic tool and to practice interfacing with it as such.

Therefore it is the establishment of an application based training program which is essential for
true skill improvement. The reality that industry must accept in this regard, is that, unless a
partnership has been entered into with a training provider, certain business specific training
needs must be fulfilled in-house (more on how to do this later).

This is the essential starting point, as any activity that is undertaken without the relationship to
the business clearly established will be fruitless and doomed to slowly degenerate until
abandoned altogether.

Therefore, the first step is to understand your business and then the scope to which your
personnel interact with the business. One cannot take for granted that a business is generic
and as such apply similar logic/ systems as instituted elsewhere.

Let’s use an analogy:
       Imagine the Business as a Car:
Although we group many types of automobiles as “Cars”, they are very different and require
different skills to operate (Basic Hatch to Formula one Race car), as well as different skills to
be maintained (Petrol/ Diesel/ Hybrid etc.). As a result; don’t expect to get top performance
from your hybrid engine with a diesel mechanic working on it and do not expect your F1
systems of work control to be adhered to if your mechanic is used to working out of a basic
garage in the middle of the Karoo.
Ultimately no business is feasible without people to perform the work and this is especially true
of the business of Maintenance. Therefore it is essential, as a fundamental management
requirement, to ensure that the people are skilled enough to support the business in its’ current
incarnation and if growth is required, that there is a strategy for the parallel people
This is illustrated in Figure 1 below:

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
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                               Figure 1: HRD and Business Evolution Relationship

Unless an individual is being correctly trained, the desired support outcomes and systems
adherence will not be feasible.

The following sections have been ordered according to the establishment of a skill
development system, starting with understanding and measuring skill before covering the
developmental tools.

It becomes apparent that the first step is to identify the skill needs of the business so that the
correct Human Resource Development (HRD) process can be developed and implemented.
First we must understand who and what we are trying to develop.
Always remember: The technical worker is the foundation of maintenance, without them the
facility would not run. The technical workers and their skills are key assets which must be
nurtured to correctly support the business.

    4.1      TECHNCIAL SKILL
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines the words “technical” and “skill” as follows:

 technical adj. 1 of the mechanical arts and applied sciences (technical college). 2 of a
particular subject or craft etc. or its techniques (technical terms). 3 (of a book or discourse etc.)
using technical language; specialized. 4 due to mechanical failure (technical hitch).

skill n. (often foll. by in) ability to do something well; technique, expertise.

When considering the above definitions, it becomes clear that it is the ability or the practice of
specialized (mechanical/electrical etc.) arts/ applied sciences that are the key services
required of the maintenance member.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
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Therefore when deciding what or how to develop the technical personnel, a theoretical “this is
what they should know” list or program will not adequately highlight the performance

Everything must start with the questions: “What is the target equipment? What are they
expected to be able to do on the equipment?” in order to achieve a specified set of outcomes
(think RCM questions, but with a skill outcome as opposed to a task outcome).

Application of technical skill can be broadly categorized:
    1. Design
    2. Fabrication
    3. Maintain
           3.1. Basic
           3.2. Complex
    4. Inspect
    5. Fault Find
    6. Repair
    7. Improve/ Redesign
    8. Environment Condition Management: e.g. Tools, cleaning, sorting etc.

There are many skills that support this, such as: reading of technical drawings, use of
specialized tooling, programming etc.
With this in mind, let’s consider the application possibilities.

People are different. As obvious as this statement is, often it is forgotten when it comes to
HRD. Most managers would like all of their employees to be incredibly intellectual hands on
people who can solve any problem and figure out ten ways of improving the system.
The reality is; this idea is BAD for the Maintenance Business and unrealistic to achieve.
Like everything in life, a balance must be achieved.
Consider the following scenario:

                                        We have a highly automated process, in which units are
                                        stored in an area using a series of roller-beds (Bottom)
                                        and then moved via conveyor to robots (Top), which
                                        then perform a manufacturing action.
                                        Clearly the order of complexity is: 1) Robots 2)
                                        Conveyance and roller beds.
                                        The usual response is that all members must be trained
                                        so as to fault find and manage the robot facility.
                                        The reality: Due to the complexity difference, different
                                        levels of skill are required. Consider that there are two
                                        artisans: A and B. Artisan A is highly skilled and likes to
                                        focus on problem solving and automation. Artisan B,
although competent is not as diversely skilled, but is meticulous in what he does, he does well.
Experience and logic should tell us that artisan B will not be able to do what artisan A does.
With this in mind; If artisan B was placed in the robot section, he would become frustrated, as
they take little routine maintenance, but rather dynamic management to compensate for

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
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product variations, additionally the facility would suffer and so would the business as Artisan B
would struggle to solve breakdowns when they occurred.
Similarly, placing artisan A in the roller bed area would also lead to operational decline,
because, the artisan would get bored of the mundane repetition and limited scope for changes,
thus he would not meet the facility requirements consistently.

Therefore; don’t try to force a square peg into a round hole.

The objective of all tasks is a successful business through effective facility management,
therefore before any development program is embarked on, ensure that the artisans are
placed in the “best-fit” areas and the operational requirements clarified.

    Now that the operational foundation has been laid, let us consider the Skill Development
                                      Program Creation:

There are many ways to classify the level of skill of an individual. For this discussion a simple 4
levels of skill will be used.
These levels have been determined according to holistic machine understanding, i.e. each
level should be self contained. The objective of the skill levels is to show skill competency
level and not to try and specifically pinpoint to within 0.5% of actual, as this then becomes to
arduous a task to effectively manage and evaluate.

LEVEL       CAPTION                         DESCRIPTION
  1         Machine Process and             Here is the machine. These are the processes of operation
            Standard/ Home Position         and the associated systems. This is the safety
            Settings:                       requirements for the machine and how its’ systems achieve
    2       Machine Component Purpose       This is how the machine operates electrically and
            Understanding, Routine          mechanically. This is how to maintain the equipment,
            Maintenance and                 replace parts and how to return it to its’ normal operating
            Replacement Thereof             condition.
    3       Machine Function                How to repair the machine and or countermeasure actions
            Understanding; Condition        that can be done to prevent the unexpected re-occurrence
            Monitoring and Repair Thereof   of the breakdown. These are key understanding (machine
                                            specific) points to know when working on the equipment.
                                            Also understanding of specialized machine activities and
                                            some higher level process outcomes understanding.
    4       Machine System                  Can teach other members about the equipment operation
            Understanding, Improvement      and repair methods. Constantly performs enhancements/
            Capability and able to teach    kaizens for improved operation. Can do work on safety
            levels 1 to 3                   critical items. Understands and can work on network
                                            systems (if applicable). Understands the production and
                                            quality process and what can be done to affect it.

The evaluation of the skill level as per section 5 is done per machine, i.e. an individual may be
a 4 on one machine and 2 on everything else.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
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Remember, the key is competency; it does not matter if the individual knows only one aspect
very well, they will not get a higher rating on the equipment/ process. In order to be a level 1,
the individual must know everything of the level 1 aspect. To be a 2, they must know all 1 and
all 2 etc.
The question still remains, “How to effectively evaluate an individual’s skill and competency?”
The short answer is that there is no quick yet effective technique.
If any depth of evaluation is required, it takes time and resources, both machine and man. The
scheduling can be done when convenient and as much time as is needed can be made
available (Ask yourself, “What if the person was off sick,” before saying they cannot be
released for a significant period and this would be planned). Remember it is in the business’
best interests to fully evaluate the individual, as the skill is part of the business’ strategy in

The following have been found to give a good indication of skill/ knowledge:

MTTR, is a good way to establish a baseline. We accept that there may have been some
scenarios where due to external circumstances breakdown/ planned work duration was
extended, but the trend is still valuable. The key is to not get too detailed as to what the failure
was/ what aspects were involved, rather, which facilities have been worked on, where aptitude
is displayed and where is there a trend of requiring assistance to find resolution.
Planned maintenance records may be used to determine breadth of experience.

    6.2      INTERVIEW
As with all interviews, getting an accurate measure of the interviewee is not an exact science,
however in this case the material (equipment operation/ process understanding) is.
To start with, referring to manuals is allowed (they would be used in practice), however blind
searching for a solution in the manuals is the answer as to their degree of understanding.
The interview panel should be made up of at least: one lead interviewer (usually some form of
technical manager/ charge hand) and a technical subject matter expert. There must always be
at least 2 interviewers for objectivity of the outcome.
Key point: this is not a performance review or an activity which should lead to any kind of
formal HR action and as such, no representative from HR/ Personal Representative is required.
Questioning should be purposed, but not leading. There is a lot of ground to cover so try not to
get caught up in small items, the objectives of the interview should be to answer the following:
    1. Understanding of what the machine actually is
    2. What are the major components of the machine?
    3. What is the process of the machine? including key points about its; product/ output
    4. What are states of the machine within the process?
    5. What are the key machine settings?
    6. What are the safety components and how do they work?
    7. What are its’ typical failure modes?
    8. How to manually recover between states
    9. How to use the associated Documentation with respect to the facility

The next step is to use a practical activity to demonstrate the connection between the
knowledge (interview), with the applied skill (practical).

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
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    6.3      PRACTICAL
It may be difficult to find time to do evaluations on the actual facility, but that is where
management needs to support. Potential opportunities:
   1. Impromptu evaluation during a breakdown
   2. Planned Maintenance time used to show understanding through removal, inspection
       and reassembly.
   3. Between shifts.
Once a good training facility has been established, some practical aspects may be tested on
various pieces of training equipment (more on this later).
However the practical is performed, it must be recognized that this is a very necessary part of
the evaluation, as this is exactly what you as a business are investing monthly.
The objectives of the practical evaluation are:
   1. Reconcile interview competence to actual hands on skill
   2. Demonstrate capability to reconcile Documentation to the machine and its’ processes
   3. Machine setting
   4. Component equipment recognition and understanding
   5. Component replace/ repair capability
   6. Machine maintenance requirements and demonstration of how to perform the tasks
   7. Machine Fault development and condition understanding
   8. Fault Finding Capability
   9. Demonstrate manual machine manipulation (e.g. Demonstrate Recovery procedures)

As can be seen, some of these could be tested during operation by monitoring the machine
online and asking pertinent questions.

The previous discussion was on the “fitting” of an individual to an area based on aptitude. This
focuses on the types of functions that must be managed.
Before we discuss how to develop skill, one more facet of understanding the skill needs must
be understood before the syllabus can be created, and that is; how is skill managed within the
Example: The workforce is divided into a “Planned Maintenance”, “Reactive Response” and
Clearly a different skill level is required depending on which team an individual is placed:
   1. Planned Maintenance ~ General Basic understanding of all machines so as to follow
       work schedules to fulfill the planning requirements.
   2. Reactive Response ~ Understand the operation of most Machines from a Mechanical/
       Electrical point of view, so as to quickly restore them to operation.
   3. Engineering ~ Must have a holistic view of the equipment and processes, but as their
       work is project based, there is less of a requirement to have as much machine specific
       knowledge on hand, as they will simply look it up!

Another version could be that Individuals are appointed into a specific area and required to run
all facets of the asset management and hence a wide range of knowledge on limited
equipment must be retained. In this scenario they may be required to support adjacent areas
and so only have basic knowledge of those facilities.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
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In all scenarios the key is to relate the knowledge expectation to a skill level as defined in 5
and then develop the material and training plans accordingly.

This does not prevent those who are proactive and willing to learn more, support more and
develop, the above is understanding what does the business need to meet its’ objectives.

And finally now that the business needs are understood, we can fully quantify the skill of our
technical people, we now discuss how you address all the gaps you have no doubt found up to
this point.
Fundamentally there are 2 training resource possibilities:
    1. External ~ Training providers, technikons etc.
    2. Internal (to the company) and on-site training provider agreements

Firstly a quick comment of External training; there are many excellent training providers and
courses across the technical spectrum, however returning to the central theme of this
discussion; do not simply send people for training, for the sake of training, ensure that the
outcomes and knowledge on offer align with the worker’s function and the expected outcomes
of those functions.

Now let’s focus on how to develop your own internal direct business needs training.

By now a training requirements matrix should have been generated, see Appendix 1.

When populated it should list the key skill requirements of maintenance personal. Additional to
this should be a matrix showing where in the plant the types of skill are required.
The training PIC identified is key; the individual must be a subject matter expert and be able
and willing to teach the material.
Presentation skills are something that can be taught, however if the individual is not on board,
the enterprise will peter out.
Next, determine what the resources will be (to be covered in section 9).
Finally link each training object to an expectation on the shop floor. This will help you track
your return on investment and if the individual might require further training.

Unfortunately training can take a backseat to shop floor problems; however it pays itself back
by improving the quality and speed of operation support. Thus to ensure that personnel
development does not loose focus, the central responsibility of ensuring that the training is
being correctly managed should be given to a single individual with the correct skill and

Along with this line of reasoning, the support of the trainees to undertake the training is
important. It is very easy to continue to call an individual out of training to help on the shop
floor. This is a very destructive approach, as the individual will not take the training seriously,
as management is not and they will become frustrated. Bear in mind, “what if that individual
was off sick today or on leave?” the plant would find an alternative. At least in the training
scenario, the absence is planned and in an emergency, they are available. In essence, once a
trainer or a trainee is released for training, ensure that they stay until completed.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
                                                                                       9 -Page 9 of 14

    9. DOJOS
I am deliberately using the Japanese word here instead of “classroom”. The word “Dojo”
means “Place of the Way” and has connotations of a complete development, both intellectually
and physically so that the trainee is holistically developed in the subject at hand. Classroom, in
general society, has connotations of passive observation and absorption of information, which
given the context of technical skill development does not fit the objective that the learning
environment must offer.
The key rules when establishing a dojo are:
   1. It must be single purpose ~ Do not try and combine it with another function, this detracts
       from the learning experience and tells the learner that you are not 100% committed to
       their development.
   2. Make it comfortable, chairs, tables, temperature control etc. ~ an uncomfortable learner
       is a distracted learner and is in fact not learning at all.
   3. Make sure that it has teaching resources ~ It does no good if training has to be
       cancelled because the projector is being used for another presentation, or work books
       have not been printed, remember this IS an investment and typically the reduction in
       repair time will easily justify the expense.
   4. Respect the Dojo’s purpose ~ people are there to train, the dojo must be treated as a
       legitimate venue by management and users alike.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
                                                                                                     10 -Page 10 of 14

    9.1      TRAINERS
Often this is the most difficult resource to obtain, as the reason a dojo is needed is due to the
low skills in the plant.
However this can be overcome with the dedication of some key human resources.
Depending on the business structure, there are a number of ways to facilitate the provision of a
trainer; some examples are:
      Trainer Description                   Advantages                     Disadvantages
Dedicated trainer, this is an         1. Resource is always available,         1. May loose touch with shop floor
individual who is permanently            as they are not considered part          needs.
moved to the dojo to develop and         of shop floor support.                2. Sometimes the position is
provide all the training (may be      2. Can give complete long term              viewed as a parking spot for
more than 1).                            focus      to      training     and      poor performers.
                                      3. Creates an opportunity for long
                                         term highly skilled employees
                                         who may not be able to keep up
                                         with the shop floor pace
Seconded trainer, this is an          1. Individual is keenly aware of the     1. May be susceptible to being
individual who is temporarily moved      plant needs.                              called back to the line to
to the dojo ( Minimum 1 day, max 2    2. Individual will remain abreast of         support.
years) to develop and provide all        the     most      up      to   date   2. Need to develop trainer skills in
the training (may be more than 1).       developments within the plant.            many people.
Sometimes, multiple people are        3. If the individual prefers plant       3. May struggle to maintain
used to train the same material to       environment, get the benefit of           consistency in the course.
reduce operational impact.               the skill without the individual      4. Cannot focus on long term
                                         feeling permanently “side-lined”          development         requirements,
                                      4. Provides a good environment               unless seconded for 6months+.
                                         for    future     senior     people   5. Maintaining the course standard
                                         development.                              becomes difficult.
Combination of the above              Combined as per above                    Offset as per above
Supplier on Site; obtain specialist   1. Material comes ready made.                1. Material may be generic
suppliers or training providers to    2. Do not have to carry the full                  and not meet plant needs.
provide specific training on site.       trainer costs continuously.               2. Training provider may not
                                      3. Already a trainer.                             be allowed access to
                                      4. May have more knowledge/ skill                 certain material due to
                                         in a specific field than available             confidentiality and hence
                                         in plant.                                      the material may suffer.
                                                                                   3. Support may be erratic due
                                                                                        to serving a number of

It may seem strange to be bringing Standard Procedures into the administering of what should
be a dynamic environment. However the key objective here is: Maintain the Standard. Training
and the provision thereof is an investment and as a business you must be confident that the
standard being delivered will give the required return.
Some of the following points may seem obvious, but consider it a guideline checklist as to
which aspects should have a standard associated with it.
    1. Pre-requisites: This is part of developing a system of HRD. E.g. must have completed a
       previous level of the course, or have a specific qualification, or achieve a certain score
       on the pre-assessment; the material of the pre-requisite need not be repeated. This also
       ensures that you do not end up in a situation where one learner is holding back another

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
                                                                                       11 -Page 11 of 14

         as they do not have the correct grounding (e.g. sending an artisan on a PLC course
         who is not computer literate).
    2.   Dojo Rules: These ensure that the correct developmental environment is maintained;
         e.g. no cell phones, radios etc. However this may also include requirements on the
         individuals to partake, e.g. for some practicals they may need a multimeter, to maintain
         standards, they must bring their lock-out and use when performing the simulations.
         Remember; part of the objective of the dojo is to teach “Best Practice” and as such the
         expectation should be that the learners adhere to the standards as applicable (even if
         just simulation).
    3.   Course Material: Do not simply reuse an available course, review its’ applicability and
         depending on your target audience, edit to be appropriate. This is a controlled
         document and should be open to revision based on plant needs feedback.
    4.   Evaluation: This is the tool by which you will track development throughout the course.
         The suggested evaluation process is:
             a. Pre-assessment: Does the individual have the necessary capability to partake in
                 the course; this can also be used to match learner skills, so that you do not end
                 up with disparate levels learning.
             b. Milestone assessments: Necessary to ensure that when key milestones are
                 reached, the learners still understand and are keeping up. This should test the
                 key concepts that they should have understood from the completed section and
                 are required for subsequent sections.
             c. Post assessment: Final testing of total course to determine subject matter
                 competency and determine development from beginning (Pre-Assessment). This
                 is NOT the same as the pre-assessment, it is more detailed and probing into the
                 learners new found knowledge.
             d. Practicals: We are dealing with a practical profession here; therefore any
                 development should include practical application of the learning to confirm
                 application capability.
    5.   Teaching Timing/ Pace: The course has been designed to achieve certain goals, with
         specific milestone checks along the way. Maintaining timing and pace is part of
         maintaining the course standard and helps the trainer to gauge the reception of the
         material by the learners.
    6.   Availability and placement of Material and Resources: As with a production line, if the
         materials are not available in the right quantity, at the right time, the product cannot be
         made. In the same vein, ensure that every resource should have a designated place
         with maximum and minimum quantities, as well as the resource suppliers clearly
    7.   Feedback: This is critical for shop floor management, as it may indicate that the
         individual requires further development, or to repeat the course again, or show lack of
         capability in the subject matter and hence should be assisted when working with it.
         Make sure the evaluation of the test is done within a specific time frame and that the
         information is provided to the shop floor management in a meaningful manner.

By now the requirements for a successful dojo have been covered and implementing the dojo
is a matter of resource commitment.
The implementation referred to here is the final points of the concept of Human Resource
Development implementation.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
                                                                                       12 -Page 12 of 14

    10.1 On Job Development (OJD): IT IS TRAINING!
This form of development is the most prone to misconceptions, the extreme views are:
   1) There is no better way to learn than to work on the machine, classrooms add no value.
   2) On Job Development is disorganized and does not properly develop our people;
       everything required should be covered in a classroom setting first.

Clearly both views are impractical (although the first is applied in many businesses), the
development approach is a medium.

Yes, OJD is development, in the sense that it is the actual equipment that is to be managed,
however using only failure and PM scenarios leads to incomplete knowledge. As a result if the
breakdown is not familiar, the individual “tries things out” (bird shot fault finding), or the
individual spends a lot of time trying to learn the process during the failure, thus increasing the
Conversely, it is not practical to replicate all the processes and equipment in a classroom

To fully utilize OJD over and above the experience obtained from daily facility management
activities, the following are examples of activities that should be implemented:
    1) Associate Dojo activities to the plant: Perform management follow ups to ensure that
        the individual is applying their new learning, so as to consolidate the learning into skill.
    2) Specify areas of responsibility: Develop an individual by allowing them to primarily focus
        on a section and once they are competent, move to a new area.
    3) Shop floor mentors: Assign experts in certain areas to assist others to develop, this will
        improve their own knowledge and improve teamwork.
    4) Use your PMs: Often overlooked, these are an excellent opportunity for the individual to
        learn basic functionality of the facility by having to ensure that the components remain
        operating as per design.
    5) Use your Facility Problems: The analysis of problems for root cause, countermeasure,
        and improvement are prime learning opportunity for all relevant personnel to learn more
        detail about the process/ facility. Make sure this is documented properly, so that it can
        be included in your training material.

The shop floor is a Treasure Trove of HRD, use it effectively and your work force will develop
in leaps and bounds.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
                                                                                   13 -Page 13 of 14

The only true reflection of the skill improvement is the decrease in MTTR and the improvement
of MTBF due to good repair and countermeasures.

                                   Figure 2: Individual Skill Develop Cycle

However, it is important that management understand their role. Referring to figure 2, Learning
is not enough; it is the first step in a progression towards the individual’s skill development.
The key to lasting improvement is the management of the individual on the shop floor so that
they have opportunity to consolidate the knowledge, make it their own and for it to become
another tool in their box of facility management.

CONTACT: jangelozzi@toyota.co.za
                                           14 -Page 14 of 14

Example of HRD Requirements Table:

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