Original Date: 07/25/2005
Revision Date: 09/12/2006
Best Practice : Platform Training and Certification
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems reduced the number of job classifications and improved the level of skills and knowledge of its employees, resulting in a more flexible and mobile workforce.
In 1998, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (NGES) had more than 50 job descriptions that applied to manufacturing electronic specialists and electronic technicians. The diverse abilities of the NGES workforce led to suspicions of marginal literacy regarding some employees. Employee jobs were also very specific, with little or no cross-training into other positions. To shift an employee to a surface mount or micro-electronic assembly position generally required six to eight weeks of training at a time when the facility was shifting from circuit card assembly/final assembly operations to Surface Mount Technology (SMT). The increasing complexity and dexterity required for changeover resulted in low inspection and test yields and high repair and re-work rates.
To resolve the problem, NGES created only two job descriptions and designed, developed, and delivered a new training program. To do this, existing job elements and tasks for each position had to be developed. Assessment tools were used to baseline an employee’s individual capabilities. The training program was developed in modules so that employees could receive training in only those areas where they were deficient. A proficiency rate of 95% was required to pass the training module tests. The unions consented to grant employees a raise prior to training; however, the unions stipulated that NGES employees who could not achieve the new requirements would lose the raise and would be placed at the bottom of the seniority ladder. Employees who did not pass the certification process were offered “own time” training to assist them.
NGES’ Platform Training and Certification process updates employees’ technical knowledge and skill sets, providing a more flexible and mobile workforce. The use of short modules for training only in deficient areas allows a shorter training time than would have otherwise been required, saving NGES man-hours and money.
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