While getting ready to write about Training within Industry, I remember my experience with the lack of this type of instruction. My first day as a team leader was exciting and terrifying. I had no idea how to be a team leader. While my supervisor and I discussed the job description, she highlights a few things. Nevertheless, there was nothing about how to supervise people. When I asked, all the answers refer to instruct people what to do and how, follow-up, and fix problems. Yet, that was not a good enough answer because how do you give instructions, how do you do a follow-up? How do I know everything was all right? Whenever I thought about how I was going to guide the team and ensure we meet our department goals, my brain went into overdrive. The wheels inside my head were turning so hard that I could hear them. In summary, I had no idea how to do my job.
How the Training Within Industry Program started?
Many years before my experience, a leadership development program was created by the U.S. government during World War II. The program provides supervisors and team leaders with the ability to lead, instruct, and improve the methods of their jobs.
The USA Department of War created the Training Within Industry (TWI) in the early 40s. The objective was to help ramp up the production of war materials and equipment. During the occupation period after World War II, the United States Air Force (USAF) initiated, developed, and introduce the Management Training Program (MTP) to Japan. The American occupation forces brought in experts to Japan to help to rebuild their industry. Edward Deming and Joseph Juran were part of the group.
MTP teaches the importance of human relations and employee involvement. It explains how to continuously improve processes and products and the value of practicing CI. The program also explains the scientific method approach (Deming Cycle or PDCA) to manage operations.
What is TWI?
TWI is a group of programs that are intended to be used together for comprehensive workforce development. It introduced three standardized training programs, Job Instruction Training, Job Methods, and Job Relations Training. Each program had a manual and a card summarizing the program, like a memory jogger. The first module, Job instruction training teaches how to prepare and train the “one best way” to do the work, which we now call standard work. The second, Job Methods teach employees how to improve processes by breaking them down into smaller steps questioning each one as a way to generate improvement ideas. Job Relations Training teaches how to solve people’s problems. This training teaches supervisors how to evaluate and take proper actions to handle and to prevent people’s problems.
Although these programs were very successful, their use in the US gradually disappeared over time. But in Japan, they were the foundation for developing the roles, responsibilities, and kills of supervisors at Toyota. Why don’t we use these pieces of training as the baseline to create customized development plans for our supervisors? I have no idea of the answer. But for sure, I would have had a lot fewer headaches if my former company had something like that. In the following posts, I will give more details about each of these programs.