Training Within Industry - How to make Standard Work stick.

TWI - Introduction


Training Within Industry's Job Instruction provides a method for assuring that Standard Work processes are operationalized into the everyday employee work interactions.  Supervisor's are taught how to teach their area's jobs so that the workers can efficiently and predictably execute the work while practicing 5S work habits.

Standard Work Not so Standard

As part of their Lean journey, many companies embark on an effort to deploy their processes so that they are relevant at the most tactical level of their operations.  Lean calls this Standard Work.  The most difficult challenge is not creating Standard Work; it is assuring that Standard Work is followed by the people doing the work.   Having a great idea is good, putting the idea to work is much better!

What is Old is now New (Again)

The Training Within Industry (TWI) service was created by the United States Department of War, running from 1940 to 1945 within the War Manpower Commission.  Its main purpose was to provide consulting services to industries that were critical to the ramp up of the war machine for World War II to assure there were enough trained and skilled personnel necessary to meet the demands of the war.   At the end of its 5 year service record, the TWI program had instructed over 1.6 million workers in 16,500 US plants.

After the war, TWI faded in the US as companies faced little competition and experienced a significant change in workforce.  Meanwhile, TWI spread through Europe and Japan, and was embedded into Toyota Motor Corporation’s implementation of Lean and Just-in-Time principles.

TWI - Job Instruction

TWI features a course called Job Instruction.  It teaches supervisors how to instruct their team members in executing their assigned jobs effectively, as fast as possible.  The program goes well beyond On-The-Job (OJT) training; teaching the supervisors the difference between effective and ineffective instruction.  It provides a very easy to follow method that teaches the supervisor “How to Get Ready to Instruct” and “How to Instruct”.  Well ahead of the academic studies focused on working memory – the TWI creators knew that people can only remember four or five things at a time.  The entire TWI-Job Instruction body of knowledge fits on a 3x5 card. 

The TWI program is elegant in its simplicity.

By providing a simple method for job instruction, Standard Work is operationalized in the everyday instruction and interaction between the supervisor and his/her team.  Effectively, making it much easier to do the right thing because that’s how it’s done.  The method includes training timetables, managed by the supervisor, which systematically defines jobs and job progressions in which each person on the team participates.  The team organizes its work around jobs (common processes) and employees progress in their skills development by mastering new jobs.

Each supervisor is taught how to prepare to instruct by making sure everything is ready and everything is arranged prior to instruction.  In Lean terms, the Job Instruction method reinforces 5S thinking and practice.

A Missing Piece

TWI is an old practice with many new applications.  The method helps to fill in the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies by focusing on tactical execution and personal development.  TWI seems to be a missing element in the current Lean and Six Sigma programs.  And we haven’t even mentioned Job Relations and Job Methods – yet!

Introductory Webinar

Ceptara provides instructor led TWI classes at your location - [contact] us if you'd like to talk about how we can help your organization.