Training Within Industry (TWI) is a Lean approach to training and is focused on small-step work improvement (Kaizen), promotes both hands-on learning and practicing, establishes and maintains standardized work, and solves problems efficiently and effectively. It has been around for decades but is most popular in Japanese and Lean organizations.
The TWI Service was a program developed by the United States during World War II that would eventually go onto to be a significant influence on the Toyota Production System, Lean manufacturing, and is considered the basis of Kaizen.
Before joining the war, the U.S needed to rapidly increase its industrial output at the same time manpower that made up the industrial facilities were being drafted overseas. War-related industries faced a shortage of trained and skilled labor but also needed to produce more than ever before, and thus TWI was developed.
Industry experts were recruited to create a program to effectively train individuals to be able to quickly start the work needed to meet the increase of demand. What resulted was four training modules based on Charles Allen’s 4-point method of Preparation, Presentation, Application, and Testing:
- Job Instruction: A course that taught trainers to train inexperience workers faster.
- Job Methods: A session teaching workers to evaluate the efficiency of their jobs and identify and suggest improvements.
- Job Relations: A training course that taught supervisors to deal with workers effectively and fairly
- Program Development: It was a meta-course for that highlighted solving production problems through training.
The TWI program was a success for U.S. during the war but was a short-lived program that ended after five years with the war ending and men returning to their jobs. The professionals who developed TWI traveled to Japan to share the method of training during post-war rebuilding of the country. Toyota successfully adopted the principles in the Toyota Production System and TWI built a strong foundation for Toyota’s success in continuous improvement and standardized work.