Success Stories

Skill Development in Effective Job Training Standardizes Job Breakdowns for Masonite


Masonite owns and operates an agricultural fiber particleboard plant located northwest of Wahpeton, North Dakota. The company was founded as Prime Board in 1995 as the country’s first large‐scale ag‐ fiber particleboard plant.

The particleboard is made of “tree free” wheat and soy fibers combined with an emissions free synthetic resin. This environmentally friendly ag‐fiber panel ‐ introduced by Masonite as DorCor in 2005 ‐ is used as the core material for other Masonite door manufacturing plants.

The company currently employs about 50 people at this Wahpeton, North Dakota facility.

 Human Error During Processes

As with many manufacturers in the southeast region of North Dakota, there is strong competition for talent. In order to better compete for, develop and retain people, Masonite wanted to improve and standardize how jobs were done as well as to improve on the job training that employees received.

Even though the plant is highly automated, there are three shifts of production workers that can have a great impact on productivity if the jobs aren’t carried out in a similar manner. Human error can result in production downtime and an overall reduction in plant output. Production workers are engaged with different lead operators – each with their own approach as to the best way to do a job.

In overall production, they realized that their manufacturing processes were dependent on how well employees learned the best way to do their work and were able to improve on their work. They also wanted to build greater capabilities and skills with their plant’s lead operators – those that could have the greatest impact on developing people. Finally they wanted to ensure that workers not only did the job the best way but the safest way. 

Skill Development in Effective Job Training

In partnership with the North Dakota Petroleum Council and with training scholarships provided by the North Dakota Workforce Safety and Insurance Agency, Impact Dakota provided two day open enrollment workshops on Effective Job Instruction through the state in 2013. These workshops were opportunities for manufacturers and companies in other industries to be introduced to the global best practice of Job Instruction.

Job Instruction trains anyone responsible for developing others in how to provide instruction on the most effective way to do a job – successfully, correctly, consistently and safely. Furthering Job Instruction with North Dakota companies is very important due to the dramatic increase in worker safety incidents and fatalities over the past several years.

Four individuals from Masonite participated in a July 23rd and 24th, 2013 open enrollment workshop in Fargo. The participants included three manufacturing lead operators – foreman, and the human resources generalist – Patti Hansen. Patti is also able to help Masonite facilities in other states.

During the workshop they learned how to effectively ‘break down’ jobs into the important steps of the job, the key points supporting the steps and the reasons for the key points. The also learned how to effectively provide job training using the job break downs and how to build training timetables. The workshop put an emphasis on applying Effective Job Instruction to sample jobs within the company.

Following the workshop, the Masonite participants began their Job Instruction implementation. It was slow at first as they were short‐staffed. But as they began to add to their staff the Job Instruction commitment ramped up.

Breaking down jobs and job training was focused on two major positions: (1) the “down stacker” at the end of the production line handling the finished particleboard product and (2) the “bale breaker” at the front of the production line handling the ag fiber materials.

 Company Standardizes Job Breakdowns Processes 

Since that time, Masonite has completed six major Job Breakdowns, is building more and has achieved a standard in how workers are trained. 

“We have realized improved productivity in our Wahpeton facility with new workers as the learning curve – time needed to learn how best to do a job – has been greatly reduced. These entry level workers are now able to take on additional jobs and responsibilities in more quickly – thus increasing their overall value. Cross‐training for workers and overall flexibility in their workforce are now more possible than in the past.” 

-Patti Hansen

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