The case of the arts and crafts

By KC Boxbottom in Packaging Education and Training on May 13, 2014

"KC, I really like how you helped us develop standardized methods for changeover but my team is giving me some static."

"So what's going on, Sally? It seemed pretty straightforward to me. What's not to love?"

"It's this," she told me. "Our mechanics feel they are skilled technicians and resent not being able to use their own judgment when setting up our packaging lines. They think it demeans their skills."

"I see," I replied. "I've run across this before. You need to explain it in terms of arts and crafts."

"Arts and crafts? You mean like quilting?", she asked.

"Yes, just like that."

"Whether making a quilt, cooking spaghetti sauce or setting up a machine, there is both art and craft involved. The art is coming up with the quilt design, the sauce recipe or the changeover SOP."

"There is considerable creative art in coming up with the perfect way to do each of these things. This is where the mechanic's knowledge is invaluable. They're the experts and are right to feel they are the ones who can come up with the best way. They also need to document it."

"Once the artistic part is done, they need to carry out the task exactly as documented. This is the craft part and there can be plenty of skill involved in getting it right."

"Fiddlesticks on your team feeling too structured. They are both artists and craftspeople. They need to recognize when they need to be which."

KC Boxbottom, packaging detective, is on the case to solve tough packaging puzzles. He is the alter-ego of John Henry, CPP. Known as the Changeover Wizard, Henry is the owner of Changeover.com, a consulting firm that helps companies find and fix the causes of inefficiencies in their packaging operations. He produces a free monthly newsletter called Lean Changeover, which contains articles and tips on changeover and related issues. Reach him at [email protected].

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