March 04, 2007
It's a training thing
Originally published April 12, 2003
Our Training Department just got a wild boost of inspiratation from on high, with a little help from our sister plant in Australia (which I hope to visit some day, when I have a week's vacation to burn along with the business trip). They tested my operators for "Job Competence" and a mere 45% of my operators passed.
The operators are pissed. "THEY SAY I DON'T KNOW HOW TO RUN MY JOB!", they screamed. I disagreed, saying that obviously they could run the jobs, but the tests showed that they didn't have a clue what they were doing when they THOUGHT they were running the job. They didn't like my take on the matter.
But Friday, I had the perfect opportunity to TELL them and SHOW them what this training program is all about. They fought feeding "B" micronizer all night long Thursday. It wouldn't take feed. It kept blowing back. Dust was everywhere and my people worked their asses off that night. I heard every theory about what might be wrong from a slipped venturi to a complete overhaul of the micronizer.
I went to look. The micronizer exhaust blower was pulling 32 amps. It should run 65 with feed on the mills and 75 with feed off. I don't run that job every day of my working life, but I KNOW THAT. I got two guys together who DO RUN THAT JOB EVERY FUCKING DAY OF THEIR WORKING LIVES and asked them, "Look HERE!" Do you see anything wrong?"
They didn't. I wanted to collapse on the floor.
I have people operating jobs where they know what buttons to push and how to turn it off when something goes wrong, but they don't have a glimmer about how ANY of that shit actually works. I ended up giving a speech in the control room after I had mechanics tighten the drive belts on the exhaust blower and put a vacuum back on the mill. The mill ran fine after that.
I told everybody in the room that I wanted to hear NO MORE SHIT from them about the training department calling them "incompetent." If an entire shift spent 12 hours pissing in the wind and I find the problem in five minutes, I've obviously got a bunch of incompetent assholes working for me. Even when I POINTED to the problem, my fucksticks didn't recognize it.
I said that if I were an operator and I needed somebody like ME to bail me out of that kind of trouble because I didn't know what I was doing, I would admit that I was a dumbass. I would SEEK the help of the training department so that I never embarassed myself like that again. I would PLEAD for them to train me.
But my real problem is raw material. You've got to have a brain to start with before you can stuff it full of knowledge. I realize now that I don't have a lot of active brains working for me. No wonder the training department says that I'm in trouble. I am.
But the operators think the training department is picking on them, and they've copped an attitude. I can't have that situation in my ranks.
I may have to shoot a hostage.
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