Achieving both, the red curve of growth and the green curve of stability for the people is an important aim in the TOC framework but it continues to be a challenge for many organizations. One critical aspect of that challenge is the continuous development of the necessary skill set to support flow and growth of the organization while providing an increasingly meaningful and satisfactory work environment. For the sake of this document, let’s understand the term “skill” as a person’s ability to perform a job or a task, as a combination of training, learning, knowledge, and experience.
The generic TOC-based solutions for creating and protecting flow in operations (Drum-Buffer-Rope, distribution) have a tendency to focus more on the equipment required (machines, work centers) than on the people involved with the activities. However, many machines require an operator. Even when considering “physical” resources as a combination of equipment and operator, there is a risk to ignore the critical role of human resources even in supply chain processes. This might actually create a bottleneck and slow down the flow. This bottleneck is obvious if the bottleneck machine stands idle due to an operator not being present. However, it is less clearly visible if an operator is present but is not be able to perform the machine’s work at the speed required to maintain system flow and throughput.
Another example: Typically, Critical Chain Project Management (as the solution for creating and protecting flow in project environments) understands a resource as a person. A higher skill level of a person means faster execution, better quality etc. So the skill level of the individual who is assigned to a given task is one determining factor for the duration (lead time) of that task as well as whether there may be downstream issues with the results created in that task. In turn, the skill level determines as well the actual project lead time.
In order for skills to not become bottleneck (that is impeding flow) or even worse, a constraint, the skills of the people within an organization must be aligned with the current and future demand for those skills and what is required to protect and promote flow.
Protecting and promoting flow with a skill buffer has been rarely considered (if ever) in TOC literature. This presentation introduces the multi skill grid as a simple tool and process to improve management and development of human resources for better flow in supply chain and project operations. The model can also be used in service industries or in any other environment where the skills play an important role. The model also establishes a link between skill development and organizational strategy.
This presentation covers the following:
· Understand and learn how to assess and categorize current skill levels across critical dimensions (the multi-skill grid), representing the current state; both when regarding individuals as well as functions
· Identify current or potential skill-based bottlenecks
· How to create a development path that aligns strategic, tactical, and operational objectives with employee development