Training Employees Using As Is Process Maps

Training Employees Using As Is Process Maps

Once I worked for a company that had decided to put in a massive, enterprise-resource-planning system. I was in the supply manage­ment area and had been assigned to MRO and specifically the store­rooms of the company. The ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning software company insisted that they have representatives from each area of the company to help them in the definition phase. Since no one in my area volunteered to work with the software company, my boss appointed me. I first viewed this assignment as another tough task and more work on my already full plate. I went to a rigorous three-week train-the-trainer program that the software company provided. Then I struck out and visited all the storerooms and conducted training sessions for the storeroom personnel.

Unfortunately, many of the personnel didn’t really believe that the system was going to come their way, and they didn’t pay very much attention to my initial training sessions. I did however insist that they do an As Is process map of how storeroom parts are tracked, issued and ordered. They wanted to continue with the old disjointed systems that they used to run the storeroom. In other words they did not see the need to change or improve their As Is process. The training classes were hard enough, but with apathetic employees, they became difficult and painful. I did, however, pick up expert knowledge about how the storerooms were run, their inventory systems, and their ordering systems. I had a large collection of As Is process maps for all fifty storerooms. I did a rough affinity chart to see how similar the methods were.

When the ERP system went live, I was soon deluged with requests to repeat the training sessions. The employees had come to the realization that they had to learn the new systems, and they had to make them work. They had no choice in designing the As Is process map as it was already in place. I literally would fly to six or seven plants in a week and re-conduct the classes. I made sure that I conducted these classes with patience and enthusiasm.

What really saved me were the As Is process maps that I had kept. When I started the class I made them visible and got instant credibility for knowing how their old processes worked. They knew that I understood their methods and would teach them to adapt to the new system and processes. The clincher was that I had the new To Be process map, already mapped out, and we could compare them side by side.

My good efforts in these sessions, as reflected in the ratings I received, soon got back not only to the software supplier but also to my boss. Even after these additional training sessions, I acted as an informal help desk to many of the storerooms throughout the country.

Using just two tools normally used in a Kaizen greatly improved the rollout success.

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