Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions

Glossary terms, history, people and definitions about Lean and Six Sigma

Cross-Training Matrix

A visual template that compares the workers in each work area with the skills needed to be done. Also known as a Skills Matrix. Each worker is evaluated based on the training level and ability to perform and teach others that skill.

Organizations with robust cross-training are more flexible, able to respond more quickly to customer requests, and allow workers to avoid repetitive tasks and boredom. This also gives all workers a better appreciation of the work upstream and downstream of their work, and reduces delays and risks when employees are promoted or leave the organization.

A popular visual depiction for the amount of training or skills obtained by a worker is using round ideograms called Harvey balls.

A typical breakdown of these categories is as follows, but each organization should customize these to meet their specific needs:

  • No experience –No training and cannot complete the job (even with written instructions)
  • Trained (off-site) –Received training away from the work area, can be theoretical or simulated, but not able to perform the work without some assistance
  • Trained (on the job) –Received coaching and mentoring by other workers or experts at the work area using the actual tools, systems and instructions. Can complete the job without assistance
  • Experienced –Proven skills to be able to complete the task per the instructions, with consistently, minimal errors and at the correct pace/speed
  • Can train others –Can teach, coach and mentor others on how to become experienced at the task

Here are the process steps to create a cross-training matrix using this Excel template (free to download):

  1. List names of workers in your work area or department down left side of matrix
  2. List tasks and skills needed to complete all customer requests
  3. Determine who is the “expert” at each skill to set the standard
  4. Assess each worker against each skill, using the Harvey Balls (circles) to show status visually (from 0 – 100%)
  5. Count up number of trained/experienced workers for each skill
  6. Count up number of trained/experienced tasks for each worker
  7. Display matrix in work area and update frequently
  8. Develop plan to address any skills with only 1 person who can do the job (high risk)
  9. Increase the number of trained/experienced skills for each worker, and make it part of their development plan



Skills Matrix