Saturday, January 27, 2007

Training Within Industry

The Paradigm Network of Central Indiana had the privilege of hosting a Training Within Industry (TWI) presentation by Jim Huntzinger at our monthly meeting held in Indianapolis yesterday morning. Jim did an excellent job of covering the basics of TWI and its link with standard work. In listening to Jim’s discussion points, if you have experienced problems with backsliding or maintaining kaizen gains, TWI may be worth a closer look.

If you have not heard about TWI yet, I highly recommend you learn a little more about the historic program and how it is making its way back to into our understanding of the Toyota way. I say historic with regard that TWI originated in the United States during WWII to address the need of rapidly training our new manufacturing workforce that replaced the men sent off to war. By all accounts, it was a huge success. After the war, TWI was adopted in Japan during their reconstruction effort. Toyota modified TWI into their approach and considers it the foundation in developing standard operations used today.

Briefly, the TWI program is divided into three areas, Job Relations (JI), Job Instructions (JI), and Job Methods (JM). All three are important to maintaining our gains but the job instruction segment hit closer to home for me. In my experience, we do an extremely poor job of training our people in standard work. How many of you use this approach at work? Once an employee reads the work instructions and signs the training log that he has read it, he is now considered trained. This is the same as telling someone to read a book on swimming and then saying they know how to swim. In both cases, true learning is only achieved by doing. You have to actually get in the water and repetitively practice before you can learn to swim well. The TWI program for Job Instruction emphasizes learning by doing with guidance, exactly how Toyota does it today.

Another great point in Jim’s presentation is that “no matter how much knowledge or skill a person has about the work itself, if they do not have the skill in instructing, it will not be possible to pass that knowledge and skill to others.” Amen. We assume a person is properly trained just because someone with the skill taught him. How many times on the shop floor do we tell a new employee to follow an experienced (skilled) employee around to learn the job? Have we every trained our “skilled employee” on how to instruct? Probably not. We need to insure that anyone designated as a trainer gets proper training on how to train.

For more information on TWI you can check out the newly formed TWI Institute or plan on attended the TWI Summit scheduled for June 5-6, 2007. To hear Jim talk about TWI, please go the Lean Blog and listen to Mark Graban's podcast #15 with Jim Huntzinger.

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