Training Within Industry (TWI) pt.3

In the interests of context, a brief re-hash from part one and part two:

So what is Training Within Industry? The TWI Service was a program created by the United States Department of War during World War II. The purpose was to train factory workers during the crisis. Consider that era’s reality; most of the factory workers of America were going off to war -depleting labor from factories at precisely the time of greatest need. Who was going to “man” the factories? Why, who else but women? And most of them young ladies and homemakers at that. Production for the war effort was deemed a crisis of unimagined magnitude. Just how could the factories of America be run by women, few of whom had held so much as a screwdriver in the past, much less operated a welder? The solution was the TWI service.

In short, if you’re interested in teaching yourself and others using self-designed systems without benefit of mentoring, TWI is the ticket. For those of us interested, the logjam with TWI implementation has been notes from the field, mostly specific training instruction. In that vein, I got an email from Mark Warren who tells me there’s a new yahoo group for TWI.  He says:

One of the biggest pieces that we have not known about until recently were the support materials for the programs. We are discovering that the mentoring part (coaching) is the key to sustaining the program and it develops middle managers to support the program. Middle management has always been seen as a roadblock to lean implementation, but no one could tell us HOW to solve it. Now we know.

While few of you are middle managers, this material is more helpful in figuring out your training efforts because there’s more application and less theory. He continues:

We …have posted a large number of the revised TWI Manuals in the ‘Files’ section of the group. Most historical accounts of TWI have it ending in 1945 when the government funding was removed. However, the Directors of the TWI Service went on to found the TWI Foundation with the express purpose of continuing their research. They released a number of revisions to the program manuals. In addition to the revised manuals, there are numerous “internal staff use only” documents that add to our understanding of the TWI programs. We now have more than 30 meg of files loaded on this site and most are posted in an open Word format so you can easily edit them. (Most of what we have here is more recent that the work the Bryan Lund posted on the SME site – and the source is the same…US Archives…we talk a lot about what has been uncovered…and what is yet to be found as there are more than 200 boxes of materials saved from the TWI offices. We have indexed almost all of the Washington office materials, but are just beginning to go thru the district office boxes – there are 22 offices and we have only done three.)

In short, a treasure trove of documentation that had been lost is retrieved for dissection and implementation by the next generation.  It’s really tragic when we lose institutional knowledge; thankfully with the internet, it doesn’t have to remain so.

Related: Mr. Fashion-Incubator found a link to a quality control manual (pdf) based on Crosby’s Quality is Free. Intense, I scanned the first 30 pages or so. Crosby -unlike this manual- was an easy (and suggested) read. I buy all the used copies I find of his books to give away to my favorite manufacturers.

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One comment

  1. Hal says:

    The TWI Programs are as relevant today as they were during WWII. We’ve learned from Toyota that their whole system of training is based on TWI Job Instruction. At Toyota, people are trained to be takt time proficient prior to performing the job. Takt time, a production pace that matches the sales rate, governs all work in the factory. For instance, Toyota Corrolas operate to a takt time of about 55 seconds. Every job must be performed within 55 seconds or the pace of production becomes the slowest job on the line. At Toyota, people are trained to perform their job within that 55 seconds. The training method is simple, just 4 steps, and surprising reliable. One TWI trainer says everyone should learn this approach in high school. Imagine being able to teach just about anyone just about anything you know how to do. That is the power of TWI.

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