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August 2014
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Improving TWI Part 10

In the previous nine posts I shared some ideas on how to improve TWI Job Instruction,   Job Relations,   and Job Methods for the 21st century. There is nothing wrong per se with the contents however when scrutinized closely I see some honest needs for improvement. Some of the ideas are across the board such as improving the train the trainer experience. Others are specific to the topic such as developing a more proactive form of Job Relations or more advanced tools for Job Methods. In this final post I will simply summarize the situation and reiterate my request for volunteers. I am hopeful that some parties will be interested enough in these topics to take action and develop some new material. I simply do not have the time any more or attachment to TWI materials. I would like to see them improved for the 21st century.

The original situation with the TWI training courses in the United States was pretty clear and fairly universal. World War II took young men out of the factory while volumes doubled or quadrupled etc. New workers flooded into the work force and there were critical skills shortages in virtually every company. The concept was splendid in design as well as implementation. However we can not hide from the fact that the TWI courses virtually disappeared from the face of the planet within a few years of their introduction. The perceived need was reduced and the applicability somehow lost over time. By the 1960′s the last companies in the U.S. were basically finished with TWI and most stopped much earlier than that. The materials continued to exist mainly in national archives and a few university libraries here and there.  Continue reading Improving TWI Part 10

Improving TWI Part 9

In this post I will outline some of what occurred in Toyota Motor Corporation with regards to implementation of Job Methods and why the program was stopped after two years. Also I will outline what I think could be done to improve TWI Job Methods in certain regards.

In terms of history Toyota Motor Corporation rolled out TWI training in Japan in 1951,  1952,  and 1953. Each year a new course was introduced starting with Job Instruction,  then Job Relations,  and then Job Methods. Roughly 300 supervisors were trained on each topic by the education and training department of Toyota. Job Instruction enjoyed a long run with Toyota lasting over 40 years of continued training. Job Relations was taught less often and it survived almost as long. Job Methods however was stopped after a mere two years inside of Toyota by none other than Taiichi Ohno himself for several reasons. Continue reading Improving TWI Part 9

Improving TWI Part 8

In the previous seven posts I outlined some possible ways to improve TWI material for the 21st century. In those first seven posts I dealt with the topics of TWI Job Instruction and Job Relations. In the next three posts I will turn some attention to the topic of improving TWI Job Methods. There seems to be less interest in TWI Job Methods in the U.S. at least compared to Job Instruction and Job Relations. I think that is a shame however I am not surprised when I examine the contents of Job Methods. And I think there are some ways to improve the contents based upon what Toyota Motor Corporation actually did in Japan starting in the mid 1950′s and moving forward. I will explain some of these ideas in two separate posts on the topic.

For starters I will deal with the easy one first and get it out of the way. Just like I believe we can improve the JI and JR train the trainer practice by the creation of Job Breakdown Sheets the same concept applies to JM. So no surprise I would advocate the same practice for Job Methods. This would make it easier to learn how to teach Job Methods and rely less upon starting at the text book. I would still conduct basic ten hour training sessions however in two person teams and make sure one followed along for quality control,  etc. Nothing changes in that regard.

Also in the same fashion I think that Job Methods needs a Session 0 and a Session 6 just like the previous courses. This would explain the basic roles and responsibilities of management and give specific instructions on how to deploy TWI Job Methods after the training sessions have been completed. In that regard I do not have much to add and will simply link to the previous posts for the same concept for improving TWI Job Instruction and TWI Job Relations training.

In the next post however I will explain what is fundamentally weak with regards to TWI Job Methods and what could be done to beef up its shortcomings.

Improving TWI Part 7

In Part 6 of this series I identified what I thought were some weak points and areas for improvement in TWI Job Relations. Mainly my improvement ideas deal with making TWI JR more proactive and less reactive in terms of design and implementation. I fully realize we need both proactive and reactive tools in life however just having a reactive tool seems problematic to me on this particular topic.

In order to make TWI JR more proactive a different worksheet and four step method would need to be developed. However something that would also helped and always bothered me about TWI JR was the lack of a matrix for management and visual control for the supervisor. The TWI JI Matrix when properly used surfaces problems of training needs or depth before they occur. I would like to see some type of similar matrix developed for TWI JR and a way to visually observe the status of working relationships in some simple fashion. Of course this matrix would need to managed carefully and confidentially, etc.  Continue reading Improving TWI Part 7

Improving TWI Part 6

In Part 6 of this series I will continue to look at ways of improving TWI concepts for the 21st century. In Part 5 I switched gears and moved over to improving TWI Job Relations. I will continue on this theme and offer one very specific suggestion about improving the content of TWI Job Relations for today.  I have run across people with the same complaint I have about TWI Job Relations however I have not seen the complaint turn into positive action on the topic. Below I will try and explain the improvement need and opportunity for an interested party.

The fundamental process outlined in Job Relations works however it is not without a pretty major defect in my opinion. By way of comparison I like TWI Job Instruction because 1) it has a training matrix which makes you plan, 2) a simple four step method, and 3) a tool called the Job Breakdown Sheet.  Overall when applied correctly TWI Job Instruction is a fairly proactive method for eliminating problems before they occur. In other words by managing the situation properly you can ensure that you always have enough people trained to do the job to a given standard.

In contrast I have two specific problems with TWI Job Relations in comparison. For starters there is no equivalent matrix for Job Relations which I think is a shame and something that can easily be remedied. I will touch upon that in Part 7 of this series. Here in the remainder of this post I will simply point out the “problem”  I have with JR is that it is employed in virtually every situation I run across as a reactive tool to use once a human relations problem has already occurred.  And in complete fairness this was the design of the original material and it has its uses in that situation as well. Sometimes problems suddenly appear with no warning but others are often in plain site or emerge very slowly over time. I will illustrate what I mean by using the TWI Job Relations Card below for explanation. Continue reading Improving TWI Part 6

Improving TWI Part 5

The first four posts in this series pertained to improving TWI Job Instruction training, execution, and future development. I spent more time on those items as they tend to draw the most interest from various parties and represent the majority of the TWI work going on in companies I visit. In the next three posts I will quickly go over some improvements to the TWI Job Relations training module. I will be briefer on these next three items as some of the main points are already covered.

The first step in improving TWI Job Relations is the same as Part 1 of improving TWI Job Instruction training. It takes quite a while to learn the material and become a proficient traine.  And some people never become comfortable with the material. The first and very easy step is to create Job Breakdown Sheets for instructing Job Relations. An overall Job Breakdown Sheet can be created at a high level for Sessions 1 through 5. Then detailed Job Breakdown Sheets can be make for each section of each session. This will decrease the lead time to learn the material and instruct the class properly. Combined with presentation slides and participant hand outs it becomes easier to teach the course with a higher end result over all.  Continue reading Improving TWI Part 5

Improving TWI Part 4

In three earlier posts I looked at different ways to improve TWI Job Instruction Training based upon observations and problems I run across on my travels. In this post I have one final and more far reaching idea with regards to improving TWI Job Instruction. I refer to this as the TWI JI 2.0 problem and its relevance today for most organizations. This last TWI JI idea is frankly not so simple and let me try to explain. As great at TWI Job Instruction is it has some inherent limits. This will take some explaining and the concept is easily prone to misunderstanding. Bear with me until the end if you will please.

Historically TWI Job Instruction was created to help train people safely,  correctly,  and contentiously in production. I throw in “quickly”  as well since in reality it was helping manufacturing companies in the U.S. develop critical skills more rapidly when the country experienced a critical shortage. As explained in Part 1 of this series lens grinding and shipyard welding were two such famous examples. Both of these are of course production work examples and finding analogous problems today is very easy. This area is where TWI Job Instruction tends to be applied in operational settings for manufacturing,  health care,  service,  and other settings even today.

Of course there are many more ways to think about and creatively use TWI JI training – that is not my contention at all. In fact I have used TWI JI concepts with people in skilled trades (even trouble shooting),  executives (running meetings,  annual planning,  etc. etc.) and even scientists (lab work and test methods,  etc. etc.) in national laboratories. The applications to situations where procedural knowledge and step by step application is a “no brainer”  and your only limit is initiative.

Continue reading Improving TWI Part 4

Improving TWI Part 3

In previous posts I looked at two ways to improve TWI Job Instruction based upon observations and experiences with typical companies and problems I observe. In this post I will add one more item for consideration. I have seen companies practicing JI do some of this next idea and companies not doing JI practice it as well. I will keep this post short and to the point as it is fairly straightforward.

The third improvement idea for TWI Job Instruction relates to the creation of some type of “Training Dojo”  or area for practice. The term Training Dojo comes from martial arts and refers to an area for structured practice under supervision and self learning, etc. Currently all of TWI Job Instruction is done inside of a class room in a ten hour (or more) block of time across five days. Usually there is training time outside of the class as well for breaking down a job,  getting some practice in,  and learning the feel for the method. Of course each person attending the class has to do a 15 minute demonstration of the TWI JI method using a small example. The initial focus is on learning the method and not so much the actual job performed. For example the instructor uses the famous Fire Underwriter’s Knot as a demonstration vehicle.

Continue reading Improving TWI Part 3

Improving TWI Part 2

In Part 1 of this series I looked at how to improve the train the trainer aspect of TWI Job Instruction Training. By applying TWI JI principles to Job Instruction I have had good success in shortening the lead time for instructors to learn the material as well as obtaining better results. The audience evaluation of the instructor was higher as well.

In Part 2 of this series I will also look at two additional improvements to the basic TWI Job Instruction materials. These next two ideas deal more with proper implementation of the Job Instruction program from a management point of view. I am fortunate to visit many different companies which have implemented TWI Job Instruction training. Unfortunately all tend to have the same struggles after creating JI trainers. The problem is that  no management structure is in place to support the training activities as desired. So in most companies the overall program struggles initially and someone has to run around and try to make it work as either an internal or external consultant. Historically I have no doubt the original TWI trainers did some of this as well. And no doubt some developed their own personal way of doing this in a better fashion. However my point is that any such individual tinkering is not part of the standard courses taught today which is part of the problem.

Continue reading Improving TWI Part 2

Improving TWI Part 1

I received an invitation to present at the TWI conference in Nashville Tennessee this year. I think it was my first return visit to this particular conference in at least five years. Also I agreed to speak at the TWI Summit in Denmark in June later this summer. While at the TWI conference in Nashville I spoke to a small group on the topic of improving the TWI material and content. There are aspects of TWI that I would never dream of touching however there are parts which after years of scrutiny I find somewhat lacking. I have run into others with similar thoughts on the matter but I rarely find anything concrete in writing. So as a follow on to the conference I agreed to write up about ten or so of my thoughts on improving TWI Job Instruction,  Job Relations,  and Job Methods. Some ideas are small others are more challenging. Perhaps I can spur someone onto becoming one of the new “Four Horsemen of TWI”  for the 21st century?

Continue reading Improving TWI Part 1