Skyworks: Using online assessments for compliance with safety and environmental regulations

Background

Skyworks Solutions Inc., a manufacturer of radio solutions and precision analog semiconductors, delivers more than one billion chips per year. Like any manufacturer, it must ensure that its 600 manufacturing employees comply with safety and environmental regulations. It also must thoroughly train them to operate Skyworks’ machines and conduct their manufacturing processes.

Compliance

Skyworks uses Questionmark to complete, track and document its compliance and technical training. To keep its ISO certification -- the auditing process that examines whether manufacturing operations are safe and properly operated -- Skyworks employees must participate in regular training on topics such as hazardous waste management and general safety. Employees take most of this compliance training online, and each module includes an assessment. For example, after employees view an online presentation about hazardous waste management, they must answer all of the questions correctly before they are certified.

The questions are typically multiple-choice, multiple-response, and true/false. But Sholeh Gharib, training manager at Skyworks’ Woburn, Mass. manufacturing facility, says that Questionmark allows Skyworks to easily incorporate other types of questions, such as picture-based questions. “We might show them three pictures of a worker entering a manufacturing area, and ask them to identify the one that shows a safety violation,” said Gharib. “For example, one picture might show the worker with their gown on incorrectly or with their hair out instead of confined.

Technical Competence

ISO audit requirements also examine employees’ knowledge of running manufacturing equipment correctly. Skyworks has nearly 400 machines or manufacturing processes, and manufacturing employees must be certified on a machine or process to be allowed to operate it. After performing the manufacturing process or operating the machine with a supervisor observing, employees must pass a 10-question assessment that shows they understand it. Most of the company’s use of Questionmark is in this area.

Using Jump Blocks

Stacie Anderson, the technical training manager for Skyworks’ Newbury Park, Calif. facility, explains that Questionmark's jump block function helps to protect the validity of individual certifications in machines or processes. Jump blocks allow users to send a participant to another part of an assessment based on the participant’s answer. Anderson says that jump blocks are used to create password protection on assessments. “When the assessments are not protected it makes it that much harder to validate the employee’s proficiency level,” Anderson says.

Documenting Compliance

Employees’ training and assessments are both part of the required documentation for ISO audit tracking, and maintaining records becomes particularly important when employees only have to acknowledge that they have read certain information. For example, Gharib says that Skyworks’ Plateau Learning Management System (LMS) is integrated with Questionmark. Links for regulatory training in the LMS lead to WebEx seminars, content or courses, and the system serves up content that employees must read and acknowledge, such as the Skyworks code of ethics. This is documented with a single question that asks whether they read the information. “We couldn’t verify the acknowledgement without Questionmark's help,” Gharib says. “The system gives them credit as soon as they open the document, and we need that question to document that they read it.”

Automated Training

Gharib adds that Questionmark has made it easier for Skyworks to document that employees are trained properly and know all of the legally required procedures. “Questionmark has automated our compliance and regulatory training,” Gharib says. “Without it, we couldn’t show that everyone has had the training they need, or what they learned from it. With 4,000 employees, we needed a tool that allowed us to track and document our efforts.”