Improving TWI Part 2

Note: This article is part two of a ten part series written by Art Smalley in conjunction with the 2014 TWI Summit hosted by Lean Frontiers. Art helped facilitate a meeting of TWI thought leaders that is held each year during the Summit. Following this meeting, Smalley composed his thoughts and opinions in a series of papers aimed to support the TWI community’s body of knowledge. Smalley’s website can be found at The annual TWI Summit website can be found

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.

It may sound harsh however I don’t really care what TWI Instructor Mr. XYZ in 1952 might have done in one or two or ten client sites. The reality of the situation is the here and now and there is a problem in 2014. Most companies struggle with linking TWI Job Instruction to management and the required routines to make it work and keep it running effectively. It should be simple but it is not from what I observe. And the standard TWI training material in existence today does not cover this topic at all. For example in conjunction with TWI JI there must be a monthly planning meeting to look at volume changes, hiring additions, personnel assignments, vacation schedules, safety, and quality problems etc. Generally no one person can do all that even if the production manager is the key person for organizing the meeting. There is a role for production control, human resources, quality, and all production supervisors just to name a few in regards to this basic topic.

Just take the topic of quality for a moment. In any organization there is usually some form of a defective corrective action report (call it DCAR for short). The name is not important as dozens of different names exist. Somehow a defect is created and escapes either downstream or to the customer causing a complaint. As part of the process a document has to be created explaining why the problem occurred,  what was the root cause,  what is the countermeasure to prevent recurrence,  and how will this be tracked and validated, etc. etc. Again many different flavors of this exist.

Now how many of these reports have you ever seen which result in 1) some sort of weak root cause analysis which states “operator error”  as the root cause and 2) “training” as the countermeasure? Sadly there are a lot that I run into and have to reject on first principles. If the operator made an error then the question remains what is the root cause and how do your prevent it from ever recurring? That might entail mistake proofing or some form of product or process change. Simple detection devices might be utilized as well. Guess what also should be required when the product or process changes? It is in this instance that TWI Job Instruction is called for to make sure the new recurrence prevention standard is understood and followed. There are of course cases where training might be part of the immediate temporary countermeasure. However simply stating “operator error”  and “training”  is not acceptable for a permanent countermeasure.

Sadly this sort of detail is not in the basic TWI materials for training Job Instruction. And I could create other examples for production control,  staffing changes,  and dozens of other instances. There are lots of ” management triggers”  which should drive the need to for conducting TWI Job Instruction. However in the standard textbooks today the material is only about HOW TO INSTRUCT TWI-JI from the standpoint of the trainer. What I would like to see is a standard set of courses on HOW TO MANAGE TWI-JI properly in today’s environment. Individuals in the past or present might have their pet way of doing this but that is not solving the problem of the average company I observe today. The average site has nothing in this capacity which I am referring to and they have to slowly make it up as they go along. Or in the worst cases the TWI-JI trainers simply sit on the sideline and don’t know how to get involved.

I jokingly refer to this phenomenon as the Session 0 and Session 6 problem of TWI Job Instruction. In reality I think there needs to be a standard 1-2 hour course that explains to management what TWI-JI really is before they start any deployment and what their roles will be in relation to the content. I refer to this as “Session 0”. Also there needs to be a Session 6 after development of trainers which explains to management how they need to interact with the course and make it part of company culture and operating routines. I call this “Session 6”  of the course. What are the regular routines, meetings, and processes by which TWI-JI is embedded into the managerial cadence and standards of the organization? Sadly I sense that everyone either skips this parts or ad hoc pulls if off on their own. I am as guilt of this as anyone and unfortunately I don’t teach TWI-JI often enough to work on this aspect of it with clients. However this represents an opportunity for someone to develop a standard in this area and share it with the outside world. If someone or some organization is up to this task I would like to see it undertaken and presented at an upcoming TWI conference and placed in the public domain.

2 thoughts on “Improving TWI Part 2

  1. Mark Warren says:

    Art, thanks for taking the time to write up these detailed observations on he JI program.
    What it took for an implementation of the TWI programs was developed after about three years of experience but the TWI Service. Unfortunately, it was a “Staff Only” training program for the regional offices and we did not know of it’s existence until a few years ago. The ‘Continuing Use’ program continued to be developed in New Zealand for more than 20 years under the mentoring of Walter Dietz (one of the original 4 Horsemen). This material is available.
    On the Session 0 idea, the TWI Service had what was called an “Appreciation Program” for the top and middle managers. It was to be delivered before they began the 10-hour Sessions.
    The Session 6 idea was tried rather effectively in NZ by having the managers assign a ‘follow on’ project at the end of Session 5 using a “Management by Action” sheet and this required additional interaction between the participant and their manager in the week following the training.

  2. Great content, thanks Art!

    I always considered the Management Contact Manual to be of extreme importance when it comes to getting management acquainted to TWI.

    I never had the opportunity to deliver the MCM content, butthe chance of going JI right away (though, since it lacked support/sponsoring, things turned out awry weeks later, of course).

    Now that I think of it again (thanks!) I would probably craft some slideware in a slidedoc format ( so that management would have a useful document after the presentation…

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