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Effective Ways To Assess Skills of Technicians You Need To Try Now

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The competency of maintenance personnel (technician) of a manufacturing plant is important in meeting the requirement of the customers. Equipment running efficiently ensures that production targets will be met. Plant equipment needs to be maintained by technically competent personnel. Hence, there is a need to establish a maintenance personnel competency assessment and strengthening program. The framework will ensure that the output of the technical personnel supports the company’s vision and mission specifically on ensuring asset integrity and reliability and improving work processes.

A Plant Personnel showcasing his knowledge about the process to an External Auditor

A Plant Personnel showcasing his knowledge about the process to an External Auditor

Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a holistic approach that strives for perfect operations (Zero Unplanned Downtime, Zero Defect, Zero Opportunity Loss, and Zero Incident). To achieve the state of perfect operations, there is a need to establish a company-wide maintenance program encompassing preventive, predictive, and improvement maintenance. This means the plant’s maintenance personnel needs to move from “fire fighting mode” to prevention and re-engineering mode. The shift would require the maintenance personnel to have a significant understanding of the maintenance process to enable him to ensure that the root cause and not just symptoms of equipment defects are treated. At the core of TPM, is the "Training Pillar" which focuses on strengthening the technical competency of the plant's maintenance team.

TPM has the following tools that can be used to assess and strengthen the competency of a plant's maintenance personnel:

(1) ONE-POINT LESSON: a simple yet powerful tool used to educate personnel or measure their knowledge. It is a documentation on a specific lesson or topic the maintenance personnel is expected to create.

(1) KAIZEN: A document prepared by the maintenance personnel to document his contribution to the attainment of continual improvement, zero defect, and zero down time targets.

From the TPM concept, we can derive the 5-step Competency Assessment Program which is presented in the following table:

Competency Assessment StepRationale

(1) Ability to create one-point Lesson

This will enable the technician to showcase what he knows in the PM/Process of the plant.

(2) Ability to contribute a Kaizen (Improvement)

This will establish that the technician has sufficient knowledge and concern in the plant to be able to see things that needs improvement

(3) Learning task exam

This will gauge what the technician needs to improve on in terms of strategy. After going through item (1) and (2) the technician will be more confident in handling the exam.

(4) Autonomous Maintenance

This is the hands on part of the evaluation. This will gauge the tactics of the technician.

(5) Commitment to avoidance of breakdown

After being challenged in (3) and (4) the technician will again be given a chance to showcase what he can contribute to the success of the plant.

Sample guide sheet for hands on examination

Sample guide sheet for hands on examination

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Sample form  for documenting KAIZEN (Improvement)

Sample form for documenting KAIZEN (Improvement)

Sample One-Point Lession (OPL) Form

Sample One-Point Lession (OPL) Form

The benefits of the 5-step Competency Assessment Program are as follows:

(1) It promotes a culture of learning;

(2) It focuses on positive reinforcement,

(3) Change of mindset from “Fear of Failure” to “Desire to Succeed”;

(4) Technician will see themselves as “Feedback Providers” rather than as “Audit Samples”;

(5) Individuals will be recognized for their accomplishments (One-Point Lesson and Kaizen created).


The result of the 5-step assessment will be used in designing the training program for the plant's maintenance personnel. Compared with the conventional written examination method, this approach provides a better gauge of the competency of the each maintenance personnel.

© 2018 Paul Balagtas

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