In three years , PEG has shot more than 500 QuickLearns for Rockwell Collins, covering a range of manufacturing topics ”everything from how to use solder pots to tuning sophisticated radios. The results have been phenomenal. Many of Project Oasis's best success stories, the ones we shout from the rooftops, emanated from this QuickLearn process.
Early on we targeted tribal knowledge ”the skills or information that was held by small groups of experts ”because it made the company extremely vulnerable. One of the first courses completed was how to clean a cleanroom. At the time PEG began building QuickLearns, there was one person on staff at the Manchester, Iowa, production facility who cleaned both of the cleanrooms on a third shift. She had no prot g s and no backup. If she left the company, the cleanrooms could be shut down until a new person was brought up to speed.
PEG shot five QuickLearns of her performing her specific duties . Months later, the company faced mass layoffs that included this person. Because we had the QuickLearns, training an existing employee to replace her took one-third the amount of time it normally would have. The replacement was ready to go in two days, and no cleanrooms closed as a result of the layoff .
QuickLearns also played a major role in helping the company increase productivity in response to the war on terrorism. Rockwell Collins manufactures many products used by the military, including a handheld global satellite positioning tool that soldiers on the ground use to precisely locate themselves . The team that manufactures this tool was producing roughly forty-five units a day until the war began, and then their orders increased to more than 200 a day.
This item is a complex piece of equipment. Using the mentoring training process from the old training model, bringing other production teams up to speed would have taken months ”dramatically decreasing the productivity of the original team in the process. PEG shot QuickLearns for the eight stations of the production and shipping line in one week. As a result of these training modules, the two newly assigned teams were able to ramp up to full productivity in two months.
Similarly, Rockwell Collins makes a highly sensitive and classified radio called a Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) to manage air-combat communications from an AWACS plane. On the team that produced these radios ”which cost $1 million each ”was a technician who broke at least one component of the final product on every shift. It was unclear what he was doing wrong, but his repeated errors forced the entire team to stop and fix that piece, dramatically affecting their productivity, which was already well below their target goals.
PEG shot one QuickLearn ”for roughly $4,000 ”of the entire process and put that tech through training. He immediately stopped breaking the equipment, and the team's productivity improved in less than three weeks.
This is just a small sample of the influence QuickLearns have had on Rockwell Collins's productivity and financial success. QuickLearns have been so popular with the manufacturing team that its leaders rave about them publicly , even without our urging. In a May 2002 article in Fortune magazine about Rockwell Collins called "A Big Maker of Tiny Batches," the vice president of operations talked unsolicited about the impact QuickLearns have had on his business processes. In the article, he praised the flexibility and mobility of the QuickLearn learning modules. He touted the company's ability to move production of any product to any plant because the QuickLearn modules can go with it, "cutting the amount of time it takes to train an individual by a third to a half."
This was especially useful when workers at a plant in the Coralville, Iowa, facility went on a brief strike in 1998. According to the article, "production of the circuit card for the JTIDS communications device was temporarily shifted to another plant, which got up to full production in three weeks. In the past that ramp-up ... could have taken a year."
Even though the learning and development department was not involved with the article, QuickLearns were still talked about because people are aware of the impact they have on the business. It proves how deeply our processes have been felt around the company. We aren't the only ones who see it. Our leaders are as excited and supportive of the process as ever. The initiative is well acknowledged among the senior executives of this company, and, as a result, the learning and development team is now seen as a vital element of the business process.
QuickLearns are an excellent example of why you need to keep selling and educating your leaders on what you can accomplish. The vice president of operations didn't know enough about the training process to see how Project Oasis could solve his business problems, but by getting him to share his concerns we were able to identify a training need. That interaction allowed us to craft a solution that revolutionized the company's ability to rapidly train employees and added flexibility to job roles and plant production cycles.
Along with completing Steps 1 through 9, are constantly keeping employees abreast of changes to content, tools, and offerings.
Regularly alert executives to your achievements through newsletters, e- mails , and budget updates.