Percentage of 600 companies that achieved at least 25% improvement in:
Training Time: 100%
Labor Hours: 88%
If you said Lean, you’d be wrong, or maybe you’d be right; sort of. The program that yields these results is TWI – Training within Industry; the root of the Toyota Production System and what we all know of as Lean today.
TWI was first established in World War II as a means to increase production output to support the war effort by training an influx of “green” workers. Its teachings have been used to support improvement efforts by some of world’s most efficient companies: Toyota, Sanyo, Carrier, Northrop Aircraft, etc. Its methods are so well structured that they haven’t changed in over seven decades. The methods are taught the same today as they were in 1940!
So What? What is so great about TWI?
Because it is an all-encompassing program, TWI inspires profound and lasting cultural change. TWI empowers supervisors and allows them to sustain a culture of continuous improvement.
So why do we need TWI now? Google “Lean Manufacturing” and you’ll see about 4,490,000 results come up. In 2009, that number was 2,140,000. As you can see from these numbers, the interest in imitating the success that Toyota has had with this system has not diminished. Unfortunately, not many companies have been successful in their attempt. What’s missing? TWI supports the culture change that truly allows workers to become not only empowered to improve their workplaces, but also engaged and interested in doing it. In many cases, Lean tools are implemented in a company with some real results. Lean tools do work. The problem is that with each event, instead of sustaining the standards or results, the results or standards slide. When this happens, output and benefit are decreased. I’ve seen this happen to several of my clients. The TWI programs sustain results. Here’s how it works:
The TWI program was built on the premise that every supervisor has five needs; knowledge of work, knowledge of responsibilities, skill in instructing, skill in improving methods, skill in leading. The TWI developers defined a supervisor to include anyone who supervises or guides the work of others, regardless of the authoritative position. The first two needs are types of knowledge. The last three types of needs are skills. Knowledge is something you acquire by reading a book or attending a class or discussion. Skills are learned through practice and repetition. For instance, you can gain knowledge of swimming through reading a book, but only when you actually practice the knowledge will you gain the skill of swimming. The four programs within TWI: Job Instruction, Job Methods, Job Relations, and Program Development, are structured to address each of these needs.
Whether you’re at the beginning of your Lean journey or down the road with less than lasting results, you owe it to your organization to learn more about the program that started it all for Toyota and is the backbone to sustained Lean results.