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TWI, or Training Within Industry, focuses on building on frontline leaders’ existing experience by teaching them a systematic process for improving the skill level of their direct report.
The program operates under the logic that effective leaders are determined by a combination of knowledge and skill—that said, TWI only focuses on skills. TWI was designed for experienced employees with deep knowledge of the work, processes, and scope of their responsibilities to help them develop the skills needed to effectively lead their team.
Training Within Industry was developed in 1940 by a group of US planners who realized that going to war would create a massive labor shortage. The US TWI program launched across 600 US manufacturing companies during World War II to rapidly onboard new staff (mostly women with no manufacturing experience) who would be responsible for maintaining safety standards, quality controls, and efficient production processes.
After the war, TWI made its way to Japan to support the country’s rebuilding effort. By 1948, Toyota began improving on Training Within Industry, creating Lean processes for defining standard work and driving continuous, sustained improvements.
TWI helps team leads identify and solve problems faster, quickly and correctly train team members, and spread tribal knowledge throughout the entire organization. Other benefits include:
Boosting employee retention.
Streamlining the training process.
Capturing knowledge from experienced employees.
Establishing and maintaining standardized work.
Creating a safer work environment.
Sustaining improvement efforts.
Job Instruction (JI) is the first installment in the TWI training series; it focuses on getting employees fully trained and contributing to top-line goals in the shortest amount of time, while also preventing the problems that can arise from receiving poor instruction.
JI establishes a single best method for doing a job and allows a trainer to quickly transfer knowledge to a learner while verifying comprehension using a simple four-step method.
Where JI is all about managing the processes themselves, Job Relations (JR) focuses on managing people. Supervisors will learn how to quickly and correctly train employees, establish standardized work, and sustain improvement efforts.
Done right, JR helps frontline leaders avoid problems using proven principles. When problems do arise, JR also provides a four-step process for handling the situation using facts, not emotions, to arrive at a resolution.
Here, the goal is to pass on proven methods for nurturing collaboration and positive interpersonal relations among team members.
Job Methods (JM) focuses on improving work processes aimed at helping organizations produce more high-quality products in less time. Leaders learn how to make the best use of all available resources—people, processes, materials, equipment, etc.
TWI Job Safety develops skills in averting safety risks in things and people. Participants learn to see risks, anticipate and break the chain of causation that leads to accidents, so they can be prevented.
This is not another tedious course about the law, compliance and safety audits, but practical problem solving training. The hands-on skills developed in TWI Job Safety can even be used to improve quality! Companies using TWI JS turbo-charge engagement with their safety program and slash near misses and accidents.
TWI Problem Solving develops skill in solving complex problems involving people and process quickly and sustainably. Participants of TWI PS learn how to analyse direct and indirect causes of problems and how they are connected. They also learn how to develop and implement simple, effective countermeasures to prevent problem recurrence. TWI PS combines the power of TWI Job Instruction, TWI Job Relations and TWI Job Methods. Companies practising this holistic problem solving method achieve rapid improvement in all performance dimensions.
TWI Program Development build the skill in developing training systems with tangible performance impact. Much too often, company training does not deliver ROI. Participants of TWI PD learn how to design and structure a high-impact training program and management system that achieves real results quickly.
TWI PD connects the TWI skills with a solid management framework. Companies practising TWI PD create synergies from the TWI leadership skills and boost operations performance.
While Training Within Industry is a fundamental building block for Lean, putting it into practice comes with some unique challenges.
Here are a few things to consider before rolling out a TWI strategy in your own workplace:
Bring frontline managers up to speed. Before getting started with TWI, you may need to provide some supplemental training to bring frontline leaders up to speed. Frontline supervisors may not be clear on the scope of their role and the ins and outs of the processes they manage.
Get top management to champion TWI. As with any cultural change initiative, TWI works best when there’s a champion driving change from the C-suite. Your champion serves as a unifying force, helping frontline managers avoid resistance from workers who don’t like change.
Consider developing job instructions earlier in the process. Developing job instructions earlier in the process allows you to build a more comprehensive set of instructions that address the full range of challenges you might encounter down the road.