Clause 7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge - A New Requirement With Broad Implications

Bill Houser, President, Eagle Force, Inc., Spring, TX, USA

Keywords: Organization knowledge, The missing work instruction, Shared knowledge improves customer satisfaction

Industry: All

Level: Basic


7.1.6 Organizational Knowledge is a new requirement in ISO 9001:2015 with broad implications. This presentation will explore these implications and how one organization sought to meet them.

The organizational knowledge requirement of 7.1.6 states, The organization shall determine the knowledge necessary for the operation of its processes and to achieve conformity of products and services. This knowledge shall be maintained and be made available to the extent necessary.

The breadth of organizational knowledge to be maintained and made available can be very wide, but in this presentation we will confine ourselves to process operator knowledge.

Over time, operators learn three things in generally this order:

1. The first thing operators learn is to operate the machine or process during normal production, and this is the basis for most work instructions. Most often the initial training for operators is to read and acknowledge having read the work instructions. Supervisor training and OJT usually supplement this initial training. The learning period is generally short as the process routine is repeated over and over. Usually the work instructions are quickly relegated to a desk drawer to gather dust until there is an audit or a change to the procedure. The organization investment to train an operator to this level of competence is typically low.

2. Generally, the second level of competence operators achieve is to learn is the changeover or setup process for different items being produced. This is normally more complex than standard running, and is typically learned after being able to operate the equipment during normal production. If work instructions describe the preferred changeover or setup process, the operators read the instructions and supervisor training and OJT usually supplement this initial training. Unfortunately, often work instructions do not contain the preferred changeover or setup process, and machine crashes and nonconforming product result. Here is an opportunity for organizational knowledge to minimize these risks at moderate costs.

3. The third major area of learning is the most complex and the one that typically takes the longest, and that is troubleshooting. Most expert troubleshooters learn through years of experience experience in seeing, solving and remembering solutions to problems seen before. When there is a problem with a process producing nonconforming product most organizations have a go to person to resolve the issue. This is usually someone that has spent a great deal of time learning what goes wrong and how to reset it. This is experience based learning and the investment to acquire this learning can be phenomenally high as high as a degree at a ivy league university if you consider the scrap, rework, lost time, etc encountered while this person accumulates the experience to become the go to person. We have found troubleshooting guides can be of great help disseminating this organization knowledge. Troubleshooting guides can shorten the time and organizational expense to bring a novice troubleshooter up to the level of an expert. The balance of the presentation will present an actual example of how troubleshooting guides were developed and used to improve quality, schedules, and costs for one organization

Making Troubleshooting Guides

The balance of the presentation will show how and why troubleshooting guides were made for an aluminum coater. The Coater is a big piece of equipment that applies a plain or patterned coating to aluminum sheet. The aluminum sheet is in big 4000+ pound rolls.

What started us developing the troubleshooting guides was one relatively new operator, we ll call James, who was fine when things were going right, but let the least little thing go wrong, and James could turn a small problem into a disaster. He would turn knobs and make adjustments seemingly in a panic as he made the problem worse and worse.

The second operator, we ll call Jimmy was just the opposite of James. Jimmy was experienced and methodical, but more important he could get out of the problems that James created. Unfortunately, Jimmy and James were on different shifts, so when James took a small incident and turned it into a disaster, the disaster had to wait until Jimmy came in before being fixed.

James was a good operator aside for his inability to properly troubleshoot, so, even though lost productivity and scrap were expensive for the organization they wanted to save James.

To help James (and the organization) it was decided to create troubleshooting guides. The concept being that we were transferring Jimmy s experience and knowledge to James. Of course, once these were completed, James was trained to follow them. In time, James troubleshooting improved, and there were no more disasters!!!

The troubleshooting guides were laminated, and tied to the coater. When the process went out of control the logic train on the troubleshooting guide was followed. It should be pointed out that the end result is not always a solution to the problem, because there were instances where the solution was beyond the scope of the operator. Maintenance or supervisory help is needed some times, for example. In some cases we wanted the operator to quickly recognize this, stop and call for help.

The troubleshooting guides worked very well for the operators on the coater. In much the same process troubleshooting guides have also been developed to improve maintenance personnel competency.

Our experience is that organizations can see significant improvements in quality, scrap, schedules and costs by maintaining and sharing organizational knowledge.