Improving TWI Part 7

Note: This article is part seven 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 6 of this series I identified what I thought were some weak points and areas for improvement in TWI Job Relations. Mainly my improvement ideas deal with making TWI JR more proactive and less reactive in terms of design and implementation. I fully realize we need both proactive and reactive tools in life however just having a reactive tool seems problematic to me on this particular topic.

In order to make TWI JR more proactive a different worksheet and four step method would need to be developed. However something that would also helped and always bothered me about TWI JR was the lack of a matrix for management and visual control for the supervisor. The TWI JI Matrix when properly used surfaces problems of training needs or depth before they occur. I would like to see some type of similar matrix developed for TWI JR and a way to visually observe the status of working relationships in some simple fashion. Of course this matrix would need to be managed carefully and confidentially, etc. 

JI Training Time Table

The TWI JI Training Matrix looks something like the above format. Again multiple versions of this document exist so don’t get too hung up on the format. My particular interest and question in this post is how to make a TWI JR Matrix that is of value to the supervisor (or any person in management) in terms of avoiding relationship problems proactively and establishing some form of visual control.

For example the names will still be listed on the left hand side of the matrix. However the heading across the top would need to change. For example they might include but not be limited to:

  • Attitude towards work
  • Attitude and relationship towards co-workers
  • Attitude and relationship towards management
  • Attitude and relationship towards support groups
  • Attitude towards safety
  • Attitude towards quality
  • Attitude towards kaizen
  • On time to work, breaks, and lunches
  • Ability to work with others
  • Personal growth and development opportunities
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

I admit that I have not put enough thought into the actual headings. Those are just a few off the top of my head and it is only a rough first stab off the top of my head. That is where any interested party reading this post comes into play. What I would like to see is someone take a chop at making something like this and trying it out in their organization and figuring out the actual headings,  etc.

Then for each person under each heading I would propose making some type of simple evaluation mechanism. Preferably I would make it Red, Yellow, and Green. Red would mean a problem already exists and the traditional TWI JR process would be implemented. Yellow would mean some type of friction or perceived emerging problem exists. This case would call for some type of proactive TWI Job Relations to be applied. Some reactive steps might come into play as well as this area is possibly gray in reality. Then for the green areas I would still like some proactive thinking to occur. What proactive development and growth needs to occur for each person on the matrix. In the spirit of Mr. Ohtsuki “What is your plan for every person”?

In essence the matrix would be a sort of “heat map”  for job Relations.  At a glance the supervisor could see what is red and what needed immediate action. Or what is yellow or green and needs some type of proactive work. I don’t have the answer on this topic I just think it is a shame that there is no simple visual management tool for TWI JR like there is for JI. I would encourage any interested party in having a go at this topic.