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One of the historical roots of lean — which is still very relevant today
In the early 1940's, the United States government formed the Bureau of Training War Manpower Commission to help industry quickly and reliably re-train workers to ramp up for World War II.
After the war 1, the U.S. government exported their TWI program to Japan to try to help them rebuild their peaceful industrial base (with the goal of preventing World War III). Interestingly, while U.S. companies returned to "business as usual", Japanese companies embraced the TWI teachings in a big way.
Why TWI is still very relevant today
The results were impressive, with almost 100% of participating firms reporting at least 25% increases in production, and 25% decreases in training time, labor hours, and employee grievances.
The Job Methods teachings served as one of the foundations upon which Toyota eventually built the kaizen teachings that have now grown into the legendary Toyota Production System. 2
The Job Relations teachings look a lot like the dozens of popular managerial problem-solving skills teachings of today (which are still all-too-frequently ignored, at great cost, both financial and emotional).
And most impressively — the TWI Job Instruction teachings have survived to this day almost completely unchanged. The pocket card carried around by Toyota supervisors today is almost identical to the original pocket card distributed by the U.S. government in the 1940's.
TWI Poster — from the 1940's
A Supervisor's Five Needs
The Training Within Industry TWI program is all about training and coaching supervisors.
The term supervisor is broadly defined as "anybody in charge of people or who directs the work of others".
They identified the five needs of a supervisor.
As a foundation — every supervisor needs:
These vary so greatly between industries and jobs
that it was believed that they required each company to find their own ways to pass on these two bodies of knowledge.
In recent decades, however, we have made great inroads into standardizing best practices to pass on these types of knowledge.
Front-line not side-line involvement
A huge insight of TWI (that was neglected by Western companies for decades) is the requirement for front-line, not side-line supervisor involvement.
In sharp contrast to the Management By Objective approach espoused by so many MBA programs even today, lean supervisors (and second line supervisors all the way to the top of the executive chain) are required to understand the actual physical work being done by the front-line workers.
How can a supervisor supervise if he or she doesn't understand what the worker is doing?
How can the supervisor help solve problems if he or she doesn't understand what problems the worker faces?
How can the supervisor bring in helpful outside resources if she doesn't understand where the process fits within the value stream?
In a lean organization, the top-level executives roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty — problem-solving and brainstorming shoulder to shoulder with their "subordinates".
The Training Within Industry TWI program focused most of its energy on...
The 3 'J programs' 2
Each of the 3 programs were delivered in 5 consecutive days of training
for 2 hours per day — with ideally a maximum of 8 supervisor participants per class.
The first day or two consisted mostly of instructor training, and the remaining time consisting mostly of coaching the supervisors to use their new skills with their own real-life problems in a 'learn by doing' format.
Today, there are several consulting firms that still teach the time-tested and field-proven TWI methods in formats that range from 1 to 5 days per J program.
Each of the 3 programs was broken down into 4 major steps essentially corresponding to the 4 steps of the scientific method.
|Steps||Job Instruction||Job Methods||Job Relations||Scientific Method|
|1||Prepare the worker||Break down the job||Get the facts||Observe: define the problem|
|2||Present the operation||Question every detail||Weigh and decide||Hypothesize|
|3||Try out performance||Develop the new method||Take action||Test|
|4||Follow up||Apply the new method||Check results||Interpret conclusions|
And each of the 3 programs was boiled down to a small pocket card
that the supervisors could keep handy whenever needed.
Included with the Systems2win Lean Training templates are templates that makes it easy to quickly make your own TWI Pocket Cards.
You can easily personalize your company's TWI Pocket Cards, then print, cut out, laminate, and distribute to your supervisors as part of their TWI training.
Each card is perfectly sized to be the exact same size as a credit card.
There are pocket cards for:
The Sixth Need: Systems
The TWI founders released a Statement of Policy for How to Get Continuing Results from TWI Programs 4, which itemized six fundamental systems that an organization needs to put in place in order to succeed with continuous improvement:
And they noted that it is not enough to just design the systems, but they must be supported, maintained, and continuously improved with adequate staffing (and more today than 70 years ago — IT support).
Not just templates.
Not just training.
But also systems
that you won't outgrow
The Seventh Unspoken Need
Although the TWI founders eventually added a training program and a pocket card for second line supervisors, they never reformulated their pie chart to illustrate this "seventh need" of every supervisor:
So many decades of additional case studies have made it glaringly obvious that this seventh need is actually the most important.
In fact, it is not an overstatement to say that...
If your company does not have an effective Change Agent, then the best you can hope for is "pockets of excellence" with one individual or small group applying best practices within a limited scope
Without an effective Change Agent, your chance of success for organization-wide change is not just close to zero — it is zero
That's how important a Change Agent is.
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