The TWI Institute staff, Bob, Lynne and Steve just returned from the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) conference in Covington Kentucky. (October 19-23) It was a great conference run by people truly dedicated to improving manufacturing. We enjoyed seeing our old friends as well as meeting many new acquaintances from around the world.
The theme for 2009 was “Journey to Greatness” and the keynote speakers all spoke to the theme with one common thread, your journey to greatness is made with the people you bring along. Without building great people, no company can achieve greatness. “Building great people” involves more than charismatic leadership. Inherent in that leadership is building great people through great training. This point was reinforced by Kiyoshi Furuta, Chairman/CEO of Toyota Boshoku America. In his presentation he spoke about the Toyota Production System (TPS) and emphasized the critical importance of a great training system, specifically Job Instruction Training (JI).
The power of JI training was further explored by Esco Corporation in their presentation “TWI – Journey to Successful Implementation”. My take away from that session was: There are no short cuts to building a great workforce. They made the investment in time, energy and money to successfully implement all the pieces of a JI program. The results have been impressive: standard work; job instructions; training timetables; cross training; etc. The immediate returns were less retraining, reduced process variation, and fewer defects. These immediate returns will clearly lead to greater capacity and profits down the road. Congratulations to Esco.
Following their presentation many production managers came to the TWI Institute booth and said, “Wow, do we need JI in our company. What’s the secret?” The secret is – there is no secret. The steps are clear. First, learn about TWI and then formulate a plan to get management support to dedicate the time, energy and money needed for successful implementation. You may have noted money is the last item on the list of the needed resources. That is because the outlay of dollars for TWI training is relatively small, however, the time and energy that must be committed is substantial.
Bob and I attended the TWI Special Interest Session where that point was made and remade. Their benchmarking confirmed that there is a path that must be taken for successful implementation and it has no short cuts. Having said that, in every case, they reported the rewards have also been substantial.
If you want to start or have started on a TWI implementation journey and you need help moving it forward, call or email, we can help.
Finally, our thanks to the great people at AME for a terrific conference experience.
Steve Grossman, Director