The TWI Blog for the Training Within Industry Community of Practice

Archive for August, 2010


A special thank you goes out to all our Certified Trainers who took a few moments to fill out the survey emailed a couple of weeks ago.  A full report can be found on the TWI Institute website:


What follows is a brief summary – please leave comments – we love to know what you think.

Second Annual Survey of the TWI Institute Certified Trainers

In August 2010 we undertook the second annual survey of the TWI Institute Certified trainers.  The purpose of the survey was to find out the following:

  • How many of the TWI certified trainers were still active. If not – why not.
  • How many training classes they taught this year. 
  • How many people were trained?
  • How did this compare to last year?
  • If they plan to train more or less next year than this year.
  • What TWI Institute services they used this year.
  •  If they are interested in information about TWI Problem Solving Training.
  • What they would like to see at the TWI Summit next May.
  • What services they would like to see the TWI Institute provide next year.

The survey was sent via email to 304 Certified Trainers.   The TWI Institute trainers are located in 39 states in the U.S. and eight countries.  These certified trainers work in 100 client companies and 22 MEPs and a small number of private consulting firms. 

The survey was answered by 125 trainers, or 42 percent of the 304 delivered surveys.   The sample was a representative, self selected sample.   

  • Seventy-eight percent, of the respondents reported they were currently delivering training and working with TWI.  The rest provided a variety of reasons they were not active such as being laid off or promoted.  The active respondents averaged about 5 training classes this past year. They averaged 8.5 participants in each class.   About half said they delivered more than the prior year, about one-third delivered the same as last year and the remainder said they had fewer training deliveries.  Forty-one percent said they planned on more deliveries next year, 44 percent planned on the same and 15 percent said they planned on fewer next year. 
  • When asked what TWI Institute Services they used this year they responded as shown on the following table.
a)  Information on the website 79%
b) Information on the phone 35%
c)  Help from Master Trainers 36%
d)  Additional training 13%
e) Additional Train the Trainer 17%
f) Train the trainer for clients N/A Companies
  MEP 26%
g) The TWI Institute  Blog 47%
  •  When asked if they are interested in information about TWI Problem Solving Training 18% said yes, 28% said no, and 54% said they did not know.

The last two questions (8 &9) were open-ended.  Question 8 asked what they would like to see at the TWI Summit next May.  The respondents wanted a greater variety of topics,  metrics related to JI success, class delivery tips, on-site plant tours, round tables, TWI Problem Solving,  healthcare, Lean and job breakdown creation.

Question 9 asked what services they would like to see the TWI Institute provide next year. The respondents asked for access documents online, roll out strategy, Problem Solving Training, information on any updates or modifications made to materials, information about what other companies are doing, on-site consulting services allowing the TWI Trainer or Master Trainer to “coach” the TWI trainees, management training, Network of TWI trainers on the webpage, TWI materials in Spanish as part of the disk, and replacement wire sets that are the same as my original set.

The ability to generalize to the entire population is limited because the sampling was self selected from the pool of possible respondents. Having said that, we believe the survey revealed the average active Certified Trainer works in a company or MEP, holds about one class every two months which has 9 participants, plus observers, conducted about the same number of classes this past year as the year before and predicts the same for next year.   In addition, he or she uses the TWI Institute website, reads the blog, and doesn’t know enough about PS to make an informed decision. 

  The results of this years’ survey will inform planning for the rest of this year and next year, including plans to:

  • Run a webinar on pushing through corporate roadblocks when TWI projects get pushed to the side
  • Run a webinar on sustaining the TWI program (training is the beginning – not the end)
  • Run another webinar in TWI Problem Solving.
  • Develop more metrics for the impact of JI and JM
  • Update the Certified Trainer Data to insure continued accurate contact information. 
  • Continue to improve features and usefulness of the TWI Institute website.
  • Broaden the audience and authors on the TWI Institute blog.
  • Expand the post training coaching for Certified Trainers.
  • Continue to work with MEP trainers to increase the referrals for Train the Trainer
  • Give Certified Trainers more information on other than training TWI maintenance activities necessary to sustain the program. 
  • Update the breakout sessions at the TWI Summit to appeal to a more experienced audience.
  • Follow –up on TWI Institute service requests.
  • Continue to increase the TWI Healthcare data base
  • Create a network of trainers
  • Follow-up with another survey next August updated to eliminate confusing wording, ask more questions about TWI Institute services and Certified Trainers job descriptions. 

Steve Grossman – Director

A Visit to Toyota

Recently, Bob Wrona and I made a presentation to a continuous improvement group from an international company at their annual CI conference.  The day before our presentation they invited us along on a tour they were taking of the Toyota, Georgetown  Kentucky complex. I’m sure many of you have been there.  I wonder if, like me, you were in awe of the size and complexity of this operation?      

Unlike the general public, following the standard tour, we had the opportunity to meet with an Operations Manager.  He spoke to us about the Toyota Production System (TPS).   He talked about the role of the team leader and identified two key components. First, treat the team members with respect and second  keep the workers from needing to do anything “abnormal” (his word.)   Of course the second component got people’s attention. What did he mean by “abnormal”?  He explained that the workers were trained to follow standardized work and complete their tasks in a prescribed manner and timeframe. If they were busy  solving problems and/or looking for the causes of those problems; they are not doing their standardized work and therefore doing something out of the ordinary or “abnormal”.  The team leader’s job is to  take this burden from  the team member whenever a problem is identified  and get them back to “normal” as soon as possible.    

How do they get back to “normal”?  Through standardized work which, once codified, must be trained to and followed with care.  On the toyotageorgetown website Teruyuki Minoura says: “It’s important to create a climate in which people are trained to follow rules and standards as if they were second nature  … This kind of reflexive response is a hallmark of Toyota’s monozukuri.”  (process of making things)

The website goes on to define standardized work. It consists of three elements: Takt-Time, Working Sequence, and Standard In-Process Stock.  “Takt-Time” is the time which should be taken to produce a component on one vehicle. This timing mechanism is based on the monthly production schedule. Daily total operating time is figured on the basis of all machinery operating at 100% efficiency during regular working hours. The takt time allows us to produce many parts of many different types for use in vehicles on the production schedule and to supply those parts to each process on the assembly line at the proper time. This keeps production on schedule and permits a flexible response to a change in sales.  Working Sequence refers to the sequence of operations in a single process which leads a floor worker to produce quality goods efficiently and in a manner which reduces overburden and minimizes the threat of injury or illness. Standard In-Process Stock is the minimum quantity of parts always on hand for processing on and between sub-processes. It allows the worker to do his job continuously in a set sequence of sub-processes, repeating the same operation over and over in the same order.”  (

 Reading between the lines we see the indelible outline of Job Instruction (JI).  People must be trained to follow  a process that leads a floor worker to do their job correctly,  safely, and conscientiously; with a  set sequence of steps repeated over and over, in the same order.  

When the manager was asked about how they do problem solving, he replied: “The tendency is to jump to a solution before getting to the root of the problem”. He talked about the need to return to the standardized work to make sure the problem is not imbedded in it.  So, he said, we ask the team member to go through the job step by step and recite the key points to us. Sound familiar?  The assumption is they have been trained and know the Important Steps and Key Points (and, I assume, the reasons why).  We didn’t have time to talk about their entire training program, which is quite extensive,  but clearly JI is in there.  

It’s one thing to read about Toyota (TPS)  and how they do things and quite another to see it for yourself. I recommend it.   


Tag Cloud