Training within industry
At the beginning of 1940 after Germany had conquered France the US government initiated the TWI (training within industry) program to accelerate production of war munitions within the United States. One of the main issues the US was having was that many of the skilled workers had enlisted in the army, therefore causing a shortfall in those who could support the war in the factories. The TWI program was initiated to “meet the demands of war – maximum production through best use of facilities and talents.” After the war these programs were dropped in the US as many skilled workers returned from the war. However many of those who initiated these program in the US were sent to Japan to help it rebuild itself after the war, and many companies in Japan were taught and accepted these practices. Toyota was one of these and continues to apply these practices today. TWI contains four primary modules: Job instruction, job methods, job rotation and program development.
Job instruction: – Designed to help supervisors “break in” new or unskilled employees. The keys steps are; break down a job into its elements, identify the important elements and teach these elements until success is achieved.
Job Methods: Helps supervisors and employees methodically analyse all aspects of the job and to then question the details of each aspect to determine what is needed and remove waste from the job. It advocates seeking the ideas from the people closest to the job, which also creates buy-in to the changes.
Job Relations: Methods to handle issues for improving working relationships. Topics such as how to give feedback, how to handle employee concerns, communicating and utilising the abilities of each employee.
Program development: Training that was delivered to the person within each plant on how to run the TWI program within their plant. Topics such as identifying specific training needs, develop and implementing a plan, training supervisors and verifying whether it was successful.
Toyota implemented this program, however substantially changed the Job Methods due to not being inline with some of the key Lean principles of flow, pull systems, and takt time. What has made Toyota successful over the years is how it has taken ideas from others and updated and improved them, not been stuck in one idea or practice.
TWI has been a great launching point for Toyota and can also be the foundation of learning for you. If you would like to know more about TWI, I would recommend checking out the following website http://trainingwithinindustry.net/index.html. If you would like more generic Lean training we offer simulation based training where you get to see and apply some lean principles. In this training we also touch on TWI training methods. http://leanit.co.nz/services/lean-training/.