Improvement Technician

Occupation overview

Improvement Technicians are responsible for delivery and coaching of improvement activity within an area of responsibility, often associated with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. They can be found across all industry sectors and functions including automotive, banking, engineering, food products, IT, property, retail, telecoms etc.

Typically, Technicians work as a member of an operational team to resolve problems - preventing re-occurrence, engaging others in issues affecting them and to support the improvement of performance.

Typical activities include:

  • Engaging team members in the identification of improvement opportunities and relevant countermeasures and controls
  • Initiating and facilitating improvement activities through to confirmed resolution
  • Providing local expertise in business improvement methods and basic tools to team members.

There are a variety of job titles associated with the occupation, these include, but are not limited to: Business Improvement Co-ordinator, Continuous Improvement Executive, Process Technician, Operational Excellence/Lean Engineer, Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt and Quality Control Analyst.

Skills

  • Compliance: Work in accordance with organisational controls and statutory regulations
  • Communication: Share improvement progress through appropriate reporting
  • Project management: Plan, manage and implement improvement activities. Identify and support management of risks. Develop the business case for improvement activity and implementation
  • Change management: Engage through communications. Reinforce – positively and negatively. Effectively coach peers
  • Principles and methods: Use a structured method and appropriate improvement tools engaging with subject matter experts to deliver business benefits
  • Project selection and Scoping: Identify and scope improvement projects and establish clear measurable objectives
  • Problem definition: Develop a problem/opportunity statement supported by validated data
  • Voice of the customer: Apply techniques to identify customers, their requirements and translate these to metrics
  • Process mapping & analysis: Apply process mapping tools to visualise processes, analyse process performance establishing key insights for performance improvement
  • Lean tools: Apply techniques such as identification and removal of 8 wastes, 5S (Sort, Shine, Set, Standardise, Sustain), standard work, kaizen, visual displays and controls, error proofing, preventative maintenance
  • Data acquisition for analysis: Develop data collection plan and validated measurement processes to understand performance
  • Basic statistics & measures: Establish patterns and trends in data over time using tally, pie, run/trend and pareto charts
  • Data analysis-statistical methods: Identify common and special cause variation
  • Process capability & performance: Analyse product/process performance using good quality data
  • Root cause analysis: Use cause and effect diagrams, technique of 5 whys and graphical analysis to understand and verify root causes
  • Identification & prioritisation: Identify and prioritise improvement solutions
  • Benchmarking: Recognise the value of sharing best practice
  • Sustainability & control: Create control and reaction plans with detection measures, identify opportunities to embed changes to leverage benefit to the business

Knowledge

  • Compliance: Legislative and customer compliance requirements including health and safety
  • Team formation & leadership: Improvement team roles and responsibilities in a change environment
  • Self-development: Different sources for knowledge development
  • Project management: Project charter, Gantt chart, reporting documentation, Red Amber Green (RAG) status, communication (verbal and non-verbal channels) and implementation plans •Change management: Roles of the manager and leader within change. Influencing, reinforcement and coaching principles
  • Principles & methods: Six Sigma principles per ISO13053 (International Organisation for Standardisation), interim containment actions, Lean principles
  • Project selection & scope: Selection matrix, scoping tree
  • Problem definition: Exploratory data analysis, data collection planning, problem and goal statements
  • Process mapping & analysis: Supplier Input Process Output Customer (SIPOC), process mapping, value and waste analysis, performance metrics - discrete data
  • Data acquisition for analysis: Data stratification, sampling theory, data types, variation types and sources, data collection tools, operational definition and principles of measurement error
  • Basic statistics & measures: Control charts - discrete data
  • Process capability & performance: Capability analysis - continuous data
  • Root cause analysis: Histograms
  • Experimentation: Active analysis versus one factor at a time, Plan Do Check Act
  • Identification & prioritisation: Brainstorming, selection criteria
  • Sustainability & control: Process audits.

Behaviours

  • Drive for results: Clear commitment for identifying opportunities and delivering improvements, pays attention to detail
  • Team-working: Helps when asked, works effectively in a diverse team, considers impact of own actions on others, motivates peers
  • Professionalism: Acts in a moral, legal and socially appropriate manner, aligns behaviours to the organisations values, trusted to working on own when appropriate
  • Continuous development: Acts upon feedback, reflects on performance and has a desire for learning •Safe working: Ensures safety of self and others, challenges safety issues.

Entry Requirements

Individual employers will set their own entry requirements

Duration

Typically 14-18 months.                                                                                                               

Professional Qualifications / Recognition

This is a Level 3 apprenticeship.

Either before or during the apprenticeship, apprentices will be required to achieve level 2 qualifications in English and mathematics prior to taking the end point assessment

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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