When implementing new lean processes within a business it is essential that the supervisors understand those processes and how to implement them with as little disruption as possible. Supervisors include anyone with in a role that guides or supervisors not just those with the job title. Training Within Industry (TWI) is a method of training steps to help supervisors learn ways in which to standardize processes and understand the importance of doing so. It also helps them encourage and lead their employees to implement the changes and engage them. Overall changing the culture of the businesses.
A quick history lesson – TWI was first introduced during the Second World War when skilled workers joined up and went off to war. Leaving behind an inexperienced workforce left to provide supplies. Industry experts were recruited to provide training to support this green workforce. After the war the US experts used business practices to help rebuild Japan’s industry. Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno recognized the benefits of TWI for the issues associated with production and the workforce his business was facing. From this, the Toyota production line was developed, underpinned with TWI practices. These practices have since been replicated in other businesses to this day.
The experts identified the 5 essential needs every supervisor requires in order to successfully fulfil their role, and guide others. These needs consisted of 2 knowledge-related and 3 skill-related needs, taught in a series of 5 x 2-hour training sessions and then instantly put into practice. The training is provided in small groups of no more than 10 people to be the most beneficial to the attendees.
The knowledge-related needs are:
- The knowledge of work – understanding the work in which needs supervising
- The knowledge of responsibilities – understanding what being a supervisor means
The skills-related needs are:
- Job instruction training (JIT) – teaching skills to help supervisors train and guide others to perform their jobs. In lean practices this can help supervisors establish and train those standards to employees so that everyone is working to the same standards, and same goal. Constant observations allow for the standards to be adapted and improved then re-taught and maintained with ease. Standards outline the what, how and when of process steps.
- Job methods training (JMT) – teaching skills to break down jobs into manageable tasks to improve processes. This therefore reduces the waste in each step of a process and can create a new mindset, or cultural thinking, within the organization. Maintaining the goal of reducing waste long term.
- Job relations training (JRT) – teaching skills to better interact with the work force to empower and engage them. An engaged workforce is a positive and forward thinking workforce, willing to resolve issues themselves. Releasing their creativity.
Each of the 3 J programs are broken down into 4 steps to make it quicker and easier to practice each need – Preparation, Presentation, Application and Observation. Supervisors are provided pocket cards to assist them with their training when it is put into physical practice.
A benefit of the J programs when compared to other programs is the language itself. J programs are in shop talk so they are easily understandable and applicable to the organization itself. They are instantly applied to a current problem in order for supervisors to quickly see the benefit of the training.
Overall TWI is an old training process that is still applicable and used in organizations today in order to integrate lean processes. Teaching supervisors how best to bridge the skills gap within their workforce so they can successfully accomplish the organization’s goal.