|The Expert Certification System and My Record Project
Major revisions were applied to the Expert Certification System in April 1976. Its structure was divided into technical and administrative areas, allowing the system to apply to anyone, regardless of his or her type of job.
Another significant change was to place a priority on certification, with roles assigned once an individual had been certified. Moreover, the certification period was extended to two years.
It became mandatory for experts to work on the front-line in manufacturing and sales for one month each year. Additionally, in order to obtain broader experience, they were asked to experience tasks that, in the case of production work, came before and after their normal line of jobs. Subcommittees for each type of job also were established in order to enhance the training system by which workers could become experts.
Management certifications were reexamined and skill certifications were established in October 1994. Also reexamined were the on-the-job training program and the standards and conditions of recognition for certification.
These two major revisions occurred amid a world of dramatic change; a world in hot pursuit of the expertise Honda had demanded. However, there remain certain problems in the system. Because the expert job categories closely reflect daily work, certification tends to be perceived as an expected benefit in the line of one's work.Therefore, the training functions of subcommittees have been weakened. Issues such as these need to be resolved in order to ensure progress.
The My Record notebooks that became the basis of the system are rarely used the way they used to be. Many employees use them merely to record memos.
Notebooks are alive and well in Suzuka Factory's Synthetic Resins Section, however. In fact, they are the basis for accumulating records used in the certification system.
"I cut out and paste drawings from the improvement suggestion forms that have been returned to me," said Takenori Ao of the section, who organizes improvement suggestions in his own notebook. "Then I surround the drawing with questions and ideas for improvement. These are then categorized into questions, ideas and concepts to be recorded on a cumulative chart. When I discover comments written by our group leader in my notebook, it gives me great joy to know that my work has been acknowledged."
Said Takeshi Yamamoto, Ao's former group leader, "For generations we in the Synthetic Resins Section have followed the tradition of using My Record notebooks. Things that are written in notebooks are useful not just for accumulating records for certification. The remarks are also useful in training new, talented workers. This way we use them as discussion materials concerning improvements to be made at work locations and revising the charts of operating standards."
The My Record project lives on today, just as Fujisawa had hoped.
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