Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Assemblers in this unit group assemble a wide variety of mechanical products such as trucks, buses, snowmobiles, garden tractors, automotive engines, transmissions, outboard motors, gear boxes, hydraulic pumps and sewing machines. Inspectors in this unit group check and inspect subassemblies and finished products to ensure proper quality and product specifications. They are employed by machinery and transportation equipment manufacturers and by other manufacturing companies.
Mechanical Assemblers and Inspectors
- Listen to instructions called out from the other end of the floor. (1)
- Interact with their supervisor to receive work assignments and to troubleshoot assembly and quality problems. (2)
- Communicate with co-workers to co-ordinate work and to exchange information about procedures and technical problems. (2)
- May interact with suppliers to place orders or to discuss problems with supplies, such as bonding adhesives. (2)
- Communicate with seasonal employees and helpers to assign tasks, provide on-the-job training and oversee their work. (2)
- Interact with assemblers to check subassemblies and inspect finished products for proper quality and to discuss quality control problems. (3)
- May run out of parts. They may complete their work by using substitute parts. (1)
- May realize that an assembly drawing is incorrect. They determine whether they have the skill and experience to identify and correct the error, consulting with co-workers or their cell leader if other opinions are required. (2)
- May have a part that will not fit after several adjustments were made. They consider various options to modify the part, such as redrilling or grinding it, and test the part at different stages of modification for the proper fit. (2)
- May ascertain that a hydraulic pump is getting insufficient pressure. They check the oil and pump components, for example, to isolate the cause of the problem. Diagnosing the root cause of the problem is often more complex than implementing the solution, which may be as simple as removing dirt. (3)
- May notice that a hoist creeps down instead of remaining stationary. They perform visual inspections and tests to isolate what may be causing the problem, such as leaks of air or oil in the system, before making the appropriate repairs. (3)
- Decide whether to fix an ill-fitting part or get a replacement, remaining accountable for discarded parts. (1)
- Decide when to substitute a more expensive part when the recommended part is not immediately available to meet a deadline, with approval from their supervisor. (1)
- May decide what supplies to buy, in what quantity and from which supplier. For example, they may decide what gauge of steel to buy based on the kind of trailer a customer wants. The wrong decision would be costly to the company and delay assembly. (2)
- May decide on the allocation of job assignments, considering factors such as work priorities and a worker's competencies. (3)
- May decide whether mechanical products adhere to quality control standards. (3)
Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.
Job Task Planning and Organizing
Most mechanical assemblers and inspectors have some variety in their work activities as they work with different types and models of mechanical products; however, the work may be repetitious. Work priorities and deadlines are usually set by forepersons and supervisors who allocate work at the beginning of each shift. Within this framework, they have considerable scope to plan and organize their job tasks and the choices made in this regard greatly impact efficiency. They co-ordinate their work plans with the work plans of co-workers to schedule access to shared tools and equipment. Inspectors co-ordinate their work plans with assemblers to perform such tasks as checking electrical assemblies and wiring for proper connections. The day's work plan is occasionally disrupted by mechanical and quality problems which must be resolved immediately. (3)
Significant Use of Memory
- Remember the status of jobs in progress including the stage of assembly for each product at a given moment.
- Remember the specifications for products, such as transmissions, so that they may make the necessary adjustments efficiently without looking up information.
- Remember parts numbers for nuts and bolts to reduce the time needed to secure parts for each job.
- Read parts lists and parts catalogues to request materials from the parts depot. (1)
- Ask questions using an electronic service bulletin board, linking dealers across North America, to seek technical advice or to learn about new products and processes. (2)
- Refer to multiple manuals to find and synthesize information needed when troubleshooting technical problems. (3)
Other Essential Skills:
Working with Others
Most mechanical assemblers and inspectors work independently. They sometimes work with a partner to complete large or complex jobs. They may also work alone. Some mechanical assemblers and inspectors work in a team environment under the direction of a cell leader. They co-ordinate with others in the organization, such as co-workers, leadhands and supervisors, to exchange information or troubleshoot problems. Inspectors co-ordinate with assemblers to ensure product quality. Some assemblers participate in meetings, with their cell team or with people across the organization, to discuss such matters as the allocation of work, process improvement and quality issues.
Mechanical assemblers and inspectors have a need for ongoing learning to maintain a current knowledge of equipment technology, electronics and safety. On-the-job training is provided with an emphasis on experienced workers assisting less experienced co-workers. New learning is also acquired through independent reading. Some mechanical assemblers and inspectors participate in off-site training, for example, taking courses at community colleges.