Skill Upgrading for Machine Operators
Upgrading of skill to an operator can be done in various forms. It may be building skill in a different machine – one who can handle single needle machine train him to handle a over lock machine; building skill from single operation to multiple operations, building skill from easy operation to make a difficult operations – one who is skilled in straight stitch train him to make curve stitch . Skill to be imparted to a machine operator depends on the demand of a sewing line.
Skill upgrading also means improving performance level of low performers. Experts say, certain percentage of sewing operators among operator pull, work at low efficiency level. They are called as low skilled operator. Few operators are low skilled because they -
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- Work at slower speed, run machine slowly
- Don’t use correct methods or movement to perform the jobs
- Operators are not trained by professional trainer (trained trainer). So they don’t know about good movements and bad movements. Don’t know exactly how they can do same job with less effort but better performance by using better methods.
- Operators are not comfortable or habituate with the job/task they are performing.
- Not confident doing a particular job or running a particular machine and hesitate during performing a job
- Fear of making faulty (defective) work machine higher speed
When it comes for upgrading skill for machine operator, it does not mean that only low skilled operators can be upgraded. Everyone’s skills can be upgraded from his/her present skill level as explained above various form of skill upgrading.
When you are in garment manufacturing business and want continuous growth you must build operator’s skill through training. It will help you to increase manpower resource utilization. In this article I will explain the ways to upgrade operators’ skill in their sewing task (performance level in the task what they already performing). Use of scientific training method is necessary for operator training. To start with upgrading existing operators, employ a trained sewing operator trainer who can train low skilled operators. Trainer must follow a systematic training course for the trainees. Paul Collyer has explained about good trainer and training method used in systematic training for sewing industry operators in his articles. Read to know more about systematic training.
Following steps will give you an idea how to upgrade your existing machine operators.
Step#1 Selection of Low skilled operators: Trainer needs to find low skilled operators from the floor based on the criteria for low skilled machine operators. For example, lower individual efficiency than line average or target efficiency.
Step#2 Observation of Movements: Trainer needs to look into / observe the movements of a low skilled / low performer. Study each movement an operator perform when operator sew garment. Do cycle timing if required to understand more.
Step#3 Movement analysis: After motion study analyze what operator is lacking at the time of sewing pieces, what all things are not correct (excess movements, handling of work, machine speed, rhythm on work, concentrate on the job or not etc).
Step#4 Training on Good Movements: Teach operator the correct of way of doing the job what he is doing at present. It is all about movements. How to pick parts, from where parts to be picked, where to dispose, how to dispose, using both hands, simultaneous task by two jobs, how to move/slide part under needle, correct sitting posture etc. Teach correct movement always. Each time trainer teaches a new movement, operator must be given time to practice. Also measure time when operators practice. It will give trainer to see how each of the low performer are learning and improving their performance level.
Step#5 Training on Speed: Teaching of correct movements and methods are necessary but at the same time operators need to be trained to run machine at higher speed. Operators who run machine at slow speed teach them how to run machine higher speed without compromising quality.
Step#6 Think out of the box: It is not always the operator that restricts to reach operators efficiency at certain level. You have to think other ways to make performance improvement in a particular operation with the same operator. For example, guides, attachments or a fixture can help to improve performance of an operator. Related post: 9 Ways to Increase Sewing Operator Efficiency