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A New Take on Training

No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.

– Peter F. Drucker

Imagine you were manufacturing a critical device needed to keep our country safe, when all of a sudden over 80% of your assembly team disappeared and you had to hire new people withno experience. What would you do?

This is exactly what happened during World War II, when most working-age men went off to fight the war. Factories making bombers, tanks, and other critical war equipment—not to mention goods and equipment needed for day-to-day use at home—lost their assembly teams. The wives of the soldiers took their place, but they lacked training or experience.

This shortage of skilled workers led to the adoption of a system known as Training Within Industry, or TWI. TWI was away for companies to develop their workers’ skills through on-thejob training. The U.S. Government War Production Board created the TWI Service to assist companies, and by the end of the war, over 1.6 million people in more than 16,000 factories had been trained and certified.

After the war, TWI was quickly forgotten in the United States. However, in Japan, the government, along with companies such as Toyota, adopted it to help rebuild the country’s post-war manufacturing capability. Toyota leveraged TWI in its continuous improvement efforts, and many believe it played a part in their development of the standard work concept.

Only recently has TWI once again emerged on the Lean scene in the United States, and its use is now expanding into nonmanufacturing organizations in the healthcare, government, and the general service industries.

TWI has three main components: Job Instruction (JI), which teaches instructors how to train employees faster; Job Methods (JM), which teaches employees how to analyze processes and suggest improvements; and Job Relations (JR), which teaches supervisors how to deal with employee issues in a humane and fairway.

Several other components were used sporadically, such as , Program Development (PD), Union Job Relations (UJR), problemsolving (PS), and Discussion Leading (DL). They are not important for our discussion on improvement, so we’ll focus primarily on the first two, Job Instruction (JI) and Job Methods (JM), as those are the two that are generally adopted in a TWI effort.

The purpose of Job Instruction training is to help the instructor understand every detail of the process. To prepare for JI training, instructors:

  1. Break the process into the key steps.
  2. Document the key points for each step.
  3. Document the reasons behind why the step is important.

Once instructors complete this analysis, they start training others, using the following steps:

  1. The instructor demonstrates each step of the process to the student, explaining the key points and reasons for each step.
  2. The student performs the process step by step, with the instructor correcting any mistakes.
  3. The student performs the process step by step again, this time explaining the key points for each one, with the instructor again correcting any mistakes.
  4. The student performs the process step by step a third time, explaining both the key points and the reasons for each step. Once again, the instructor corrects any mistakes. Repeat until the instructor is confident the student understands the process.
  5. The student then demonstrates the process again, the first time silently, the second time explaining the key points, and the third time explaining the key points and reasons.
  6. The student performs the process alone, with a clear understanding that he or she can ask for assistance at any time without retribution. This demonstrates respect for people by creating a supportive, no-fear environment.

As you can see, the key to JI is repetition. Instructors repeat the training until it is clear the employee deeply understands the work process.

Once the worker understands the work, they can move on to Job Methods (JM) training. JM teaches employees how to break down and improve processes. The steps in JM are:

  1. Break down the job into steps on a Job Breakdown Sheet. Include material handling, machine time, and human time.
  2. Question every detail of the job. This often uses the “5 W and1 H” method:
    1. Why is it necessary?
    2. What is its purpose?
    3. Where should it be done?
    4. When should it be done?
    5. Who is qualified to do it?
    6. How is the best way to do it?
  3. Develop the new method by eliminating steps, rearranging steps, and simplifying steps.
  4. Propose the new method to the supervisor, test it, and then celebrate the accomplishment (when it works).

Both JI and JM involve breaking down the processes, although JM goes into more depth. Because of this, many organizations, like my previous company, use JM as one of their kaizen methods.

How could JI or JM change how you train people in your organization? How might they help the new employee onboarding process?