Training Within Industry – How to make Standard Work Stick.

Training Within Industry - How to Make Standard Workchris lindstrom Stick

As part of their Lean journey, many companies embark on an effort to deploy their processes so that they are relevant at the most tactical level of their operations.  Lean calls this Standard Work.  The most difficult challenge is not creating Standard Work; it is assuring that Standard Work is followed by the people doing the work. Having a great idea is good, putting the idea to work is much better! Training Within Industry or TWI is an old and new method for helping Standard Work stick. 

What is Old is now New (Again)

TWI is an old practice with many new applications.  The Training Within Industry (TWI) service was created by the United States Department of War, running from 1940 to 1945 within the War Manpower Commission. Its main purpose was to provide consulting services to industries that were critical to the ramp up of the war machine for World War II to ensure there were enough trained and skilled personnel necessary to meet the demands of the war.  At the end of its five year service record, the TWI program had instructed over 1.6 million workers in 16,500 US plants.

After the war, TWI faded in the US as companies faced little competition and experienced a significant change in workforce.  Meanwhile, TWI spread through Europe and Japan, and was embedded into Toyota Motor Corporation’s implementation of Lean and Just-in-Time principles.

Job Instruction

TWI features courses in Job Relations, Job Methods, and Job Instruction. Job Instruction teaches supervisors how to instruct their team members in executing their assigned jobs effectively, as fast as possible.  The program goes well beyond On-The-Job (OJT) training by teaching supervisors how to prepare for instruction and the difference between effective and ineffective instruction.  The TWI creators understood that people can only remember four or five things at a time.  The entire TWI Job Instruction body of knowledge fits on a 3x5 card.  The TWI program is elegant in its simplicity.

In Lean terms, the Job Instruction method reinforces 5S thinking and practice. By providing a simple method for job instruction, Standard Work is operationalized through the everyday instruction and interaction between the supervisor and his/her team.  The method includes training timetables, managed by the supervisor, which systematically defines jobs and job progressions in which each person on the team participates.  The team organizes its work around jobs (common processes) and employees progress in their skills development by mastering new jobs.

A Missing Piece

Many organizations know the benefits of Standard Work, but struggle to put it in place. If Standard Work is not as ‘standard’ as it could be in your organization, TWI may be the solution needed to help make your Standard Work stick.

Author: Chris Lindstrom, CCEC Instructor; Founder & Managing Partner, Ceptara Corporation

About the Author: Chris Lindstrom is the Founder and Managing Partner of Ceptara Corporation – a Lean Six Sigma consulting firm that helps organization bring excellence into focus via professional services, training and products. Chris is an ASQ certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Master Black Belt, who teaches select Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate courses. 

Visit the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate program for more information and to sign up.

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