one point lesson: tips and tricks

What is a one-point lesson

A one-point lesson is a short instruction created to ensure the proper functioning of a machine or process. The one-point lesson is part of the continuous improvement process. A one-point lesson can also be used to highlight a specific problem and the corresponding improvement.  The one-point lesson is used to quickly update the employee's knowledge.

The one-point lesson should be written on 1 page and contain only 1 topic.

The one-point lesson for quality and safety assurance

It is an ideal document to communicate corrective actions when a quality or safety incident has happened. Often the team is then still in a fire-fighting mode and quick action must be taken.  Due to time constraints, there is no time to modify the Standard Operating Procedure and writing a one-point lesson can provide a solution.

The one-point lesson in this case is used to prevent new quality complaints or accidents in the near future. And gives the team time to define structural actions to ensure that the quality complaint or accident nut can happen again.

The one-point lesson for machine operation

A typical use of the one-point lesson is to describe part of the operation of a machine. for example, how to change paper in a printer, or how to select a different program in a CNC machine. It serves as a reminder to perform operations that are not done often.

The one-point lesson for process improvements

A third possibility for a one-point lesson is that the one-point lesson is used to update workers' knowledge in the broad sense of the word. In this case, it is often about spreading best practices so that variation and waste are reduced.

One-point lesson template

There are numerous templates available for one-point lessons:

Ideally, you should create a template tailored to your area of work. By creating a template, you ensure that it is easy to create a new one-point lesson. Also, the user's interpretation of the one-point lesson is smoother if you use the same layout all the time. The template can be created in excel, PowerPoint, word or any other document software program.

One-point lesson elements

Regardless of the template used, you will often find the following elements in a one-point lesson:

title: a short description of the content of the one-point lesson

author: the name or initials of the author. The author does not have to draft the document all by himself. Best to do it with a team of people who are close to the process. The author does have the final responsibility of the document.

owner: name of the owner of the document. He decides whether the document is approved and may be distributed or not. Often this is the workshop manager where the one-point lesson applies.

owner approval: the document must be approved by the owner. A signature whether or not digital indicates that the document has been approved.

dates: usually you will find two dates on a one-point lesson. The date the one-point lesson was created. This date indicates when the one-point lesson is valid. And a date indicating until when the one-point lesson should hang out. This can be permanent. putting a "valid until" date ensures that the number of one-point lessons remains clear. Anyone may remove a one-point lesson whose "valid until" date has expired. 

location/machine: the location or machine for which the one-point lesson is valid can be written on the document.  This ensures that when the documents need to be distributed, they end up in the right place.  This is especially useful in large companies.

one-point lesson. The core of the one-point lesson is the one point in itself, of course. It is best to work as visually as possible just like SOP. As much as possible use pictures or drawings, symbols. These are easier to remember than text. This makes the one-point lesson easier to understand and can be learned faster. A golden rule is the 80 / 20 rule (not to be confused with the Pareto principle): 80% visual and 20% words. Keep in mind that if you use symbols and colours these are best standardized throughout the different one-point lessons.

training registration: A one-point lesson sometimes also needs to be explained to employees. If this is the case, it is helpful to provide a table in which trained people sign off. The table includes the name of the instructor, the workers who are to receive or have received the training. A signature of both the instructor and the employee and finally the date of the training.

version: Finally, the one-point lesson also contains a version entry. It is not abnormal that based on inputs from the workers, the one-point lesson is updated to clarify the lesson learned further and a new version is created.

one-point lesson process

The person doing the work is also best to create the accompanying one-point lesson. Since everyone has knowledge to share from time to time. This means that everyone should be able to make a one-point lesson. 

Therefore, make sure that a one-point lesson is easy to create. as discussed, a one-point lesson template can help with this. A good one-point lesson answered the 5W1H questions. What, Where, When, Who, Why, and How.

A one-point lesson is best put together with a team. The team consists of people close to the process.

Before putting up the one-point lesson, it is best to test the one-point lesson with the team as well. You know you have created a good one-point lesson if someone who was not involved in creating the one-point lesson can apply the one-point lesson in practice.

Once the one-point lesson has been drafted, it is important that everyone involved in the process has an explanation of the one-point lesson. A sign-off list is often kept on the back of the sheet. This allows you to show that everyone has had the training.

Hang the one-point lesson out for a minimum of 3 weeks, then it is best to keep the one-point lessons in a file folder so you can refer to them later. Agree in advance what to do with one-pointed lessons whose "valid until" date has passed. Make sure the knowledge gained is not lost.

One-Point Lesson versus Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)

A one-point lesson is not a substitute for a standard operating procedure. Therefore, be sure to check whether the one-point lesson should be included in standard operating procedures (SOPs).  This is often the case with safety and quality complaints where a one-point lesson was quickly created as a containment action. However, to secure the complaint over the long term, the knowledge should be included in the standard operating procedures SOPs.

a one-point lesson describes one idea and is used for ongoing training.

an SOP describes a complex action and is used for initial or refresher training.