By Bob Williamson, Contributing Editor
Businesses gain a significant strategic advantage by developing and deploying targeted skill sets within their organizations. It only makes sense since there is no worthwhile substitute for a competent, engaged group of people focusing on strategic improvements.
One of the biggest challenges is that of limited resources to develop and conduct training in the workplace, including staff to develop, time to deploy, and time to train. However, the lack of formal and structured training often leads to human variation and errors, resulting in unreliable equipment and work processes.
While formal training is a must-have process for assuring equipment reliability, we should also recognize that traditional approaches to training may no longer be efficient or effective. Now is the time to find ways for training on a strategic employee-qualification process—one that builds individualized workplace competence toward strategic goals. Let’s explore how training and development processes can become part of the systems approach to asset management and conform to the ISO 550001 Standard.
Begin by thinking beyond the activity of training to the goal of training, which is to build competence. Competence can be defined as “a cluster of related abilities, commitments, knowledge, and skills enabling people (or organizations) to act effectively in jobs or situations.”
So, what would a systematic approach to competency-based training, education, and development look like? Start with these recommendations for six basic elements of a Competency Development System based on ISO 55001:2014 Asset Management Standard requirements. These elements aren’t sequential or linear. They’re interdependent.
Organizing for Training Management. Strategic alignment assures that training is truly focused on business goals. Components should include:
• a strategically focused training organization charter
• a training- and development-systems leader
• training-program and materials developer(s)
• records management, document control, and change management.
Defining Development Roles & Responsibilities. Training and development activities for building asset-management competence must be directly linked to business goals and specific job-performance requirements. Actionable components should include:
• overview, i.e., job role, classification, qualifications
• asset-management competencies (see “IAM Competencies Framework,” from the Institute of Asset Management)
• general duties, i.e., responsibilities, accountabilities
• specific asset-management-related job-performance requirements
• duty-task analysis (duty-task list), frequency of performance, difficulty/criticality ratings
• standards, references, and resource materials, i.e., policy, procedures, job methods, work instructions, certifications, and license
• updating of asset-management-related job methods and procedures.
Establishing a Training & Qualification Process. The most intensive element is dedicated to training activities and assuring qualification of individuals completing the training. Components should include:
• skills/knowledge verification, assessment
• qualified to perform
• development opportunity.
• training and development plan/schedule
• business priorities and needs
• individual needs
• training/development schedule.
• job-role instruction
• assigned instructor/trainer/coach/mentor
• duty-task referenced, i.e., standards, references, and resource materials, job-task breakdown
• job instruction/development, i.e., classes, on-line instruction, seminars/workshops, self-study, on-job training/development.
• on-job performance qualification
• duty-task referenced
• performance demonstration
• qualified/not qualified
• periodic re-qualification.
• training and qualification documentation
• individual skills and qualification profiles
• individual training and development plans.
Establishing an Asset-Management Training-Program-Development Process. Training-program development is a multi-faceted process designed to assure consistent and standardized approaches, coupled with strategic alignment. Components in this element that drive various components in Training & Qualification Processes include:
• alignment with asset-management-system requirements, i.e., asset-management organization structure, Strategic Asset Management Plan, business priorities, individual roles and responsibilities (new employee, experienced employee, contractor, vendor, supplier)
• alignment with asset management life-cycle organization requirements, i.e., design engineering, procurement, construction, installation, startup, commissioning, operations, maintenance, decommissioning/restoration.
Recruiting & Selecting the Right People. Formal recruiting and selection is essential regardless of whether the right people are identified from within the organization or hired off the street. Components for success must include these considerations:
• job-performance-based requirements
• related experience and competency demonstration
• work-group and organizational-culture compatibility.
Monitoring Training & Development System Effectiveness. The systems approach to asset management requires regular reviews and audits of the effectiveness of the business and work processes. The following components are recommended:
• periodic training-and-development-system review, performance evaluation
• identifying and pursuing improvement opportunities
• incident investigation (failure analysis)
• qualification-requirement verification
• training-and-development needs
• training-and-development-improvement opportunity.
See my August ISO 55000 Asset Management column for more on applicable elements. MT
Bob Williamson, CMRP, CPMM and member of the Institute of Asset Management, focuses on the “people side” of world-class maintenance and reliability in plants and facilities across North America. Contact him at RobertMW2@cs.com.