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 Unique Training Idea Becomes Stepping Stone toward Learning Manufacturing Process

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​YPSILANTI, Mich. - Anyone who has ever trained someone – or been trained themselves ¬– knows the more unique the training, the easier it is to remember down the road.  

Rawsonville has trained more than 150 new employees over the past several months, and the No. 1 most memorable activity in these week-long trainings  has been the "peanut butter and jelly sandwich build."

“The idea started when our team was having a discussion with OJ Alvarado, our plant manager, about exercises to help new hires learn the OIS (operator instruction sheet) process,” said Matt Copeland, UAW FPS coordinator, Rawsonville.  “OJ mentioned something about PB&J and the idea stuck.  We stopped by 7-Eleven and picked up the ingredients and then designed the activity.”

The exercise proved great success with the first group of new hires. 

The process was simple: The FPS coordinator sets up the room with five “operators” (trainees) standing at operations 10 through 50 (lined up along tables in the training center).

Each station receives an OIS/JSA with instructions explaining their job on the line and how they are contributing to the sandwich assembly. 

In addition, a few employees are pulled from the group to act as the supervisor, engineer and team leader. 

The FPS coordinators intentionally remit important items pertinent to the operators’ jobs. For example, they might remove the knife from the jar of peanut butter or not give someone a pair of gloves.

It is the operator’s job to determine who they need to notify and how important the missing item is to build in the proper process for quality.  

They understand the cost of making a bad “part” or sandwich – after all, who wants to eat a sandwich with just jelly on it? 

The operators may choose to alert their team leader, engineer or supervisor to assist them with any issues they may have on the line.

“This activity encourages employees to speak up and ask questions about safety and quality,” Tina Page, JSA writer, said.  “And even in the face of adversity (one employee had peanut allergies) the team overcame by substituting turkey, cheese and lettuce.”

The “PB & J build” has earned notoriety in the plant, however it’s kept a secret from the new hires until the activity is unveiled.  And of course, they are able to enjoy the sandwiches they make for lunch.  It’s a satisfying addition to the training process!

8/23/2012 6:00 AM