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Archive for September, 2010

TWI JI Off to a Fast Start in a Shipyard Deployment

Major shipyards from coast to coast are rediscovering the power of Training Within Industry Job Instruction (TWI JI) training. We say rediscovering because one of the major deployments of TWI JI during WWII was in shipbuilding.  Walter Dietz in his history of TWI, Learn by Doing: The Story of Training Within Industry (1970) recounted the remarkable results yielded by TWI during the wartime national emergency.  He wrote: “Many ship yard managements felt that Job Methods and Job Relations were material factors in the country-wide spectacular reductions of work days from laying of the hull to the commissioning of the ship.  Savings in shipyards, as a result of a single Job Methods improvement, frequently ran into sizable sums.  More Important was the ability of Job Instruction training to equip green workers to learn, in very short time, an essential job in the production effort.TWI programming covered shipyards on all three coasts as well as the inland yards and all the “J” programs effected the usual measurable results.” (pg.41)  

Then, after the war ended, TWI all but disappeared in the United States save for a few consultants, like Dietz, who had worked during the war with C.R. Dooley in the TWI Service. By the 1970’s it was a part of history. In the past ten years, as concerns for U.S. competitiveness in the global marketplace continued to grow, a renaissance in interest in TWI has occurred.  TWI is making history once more and shipyards are again on the forefront. One west coast shipyard Superintendent, now working with TWI Institute Senior Master Trainer Patrick Graupp, is seeing the immediate results of Job Instruction Training in the shipyard. He reported the following to Patrick in a recent communication about the results of his action research.

“Today I am gathering the pilot group to go over TWI outputs so far. We are making good progress… The table below cites the differences we have observed so far when comparing TWI and traditional training methods. It is clear that a large gap is now beginning to form as we continue to compare both methods in the field with our mechanics. TWI, it would appear, is emerging as a clear winner in this comparison.”

The experiment was designed to compare the performance of workers trained in the yard’s traditional way to workers trained using TWI JI training methods. The variables observed were: Safety, Quality, Efficiency, and Knowledge.  They were checked by direct observation by a expert observer.  The observed number of unsafe actions in the tradional group was 10 out of 120 times conducted while the observed number of unsafe actions in the TWI  group was just 2 of 315 times conducted. Quality issues observed in the tradtional group were 57 of 80 times conducted while quality issues observed in the TWI group were a mere 3 of 210.  The efficiency metrics in the tradtional group  was 71% and in the TWI group 119%, an improvement of 48%. Finally, knowledge retention, as measured by the workers’ ability to restate the important steps and key points in a job, in the traditional group was 61% and in the TWI group 92%, an improvement of 31%.   


Attribute Traditional Method TWI Method Delta
Safety Times Conducted Safely Unsafe Times Conducted Safely Unsafe  
Employee performed all tasks safely? 40 37 3 105 104 1
Employee used proper body positioning? 40 37 3 105 104 1
Employee used tools properly? 40 36 4 105 105 1
Total 120 110 10 315 313 2 8
Quality Times Conducted Without Issues With Issues Times Conducted Without Issues With Issues  
Employee performed tasks to meet quality standards? 40 23 17 105 103 2
Employee performed self inspection of completed task? 40 0 40 105 104 1
Total 80 23 57 210 207 3 54
Efficiency (minutes) Time Allotted Time Spent Efficiency Time Allotted Time Spent Efficiency  
Employee performed the task in allotted time? 27 38 71% 31 26 119% 48%
Knowledge Retention Instructor Steps Trainee Steps % Steps Retained Instructor Steps Trainee Steps % Steps Retained  
Number of Important Steps 17 15 88% 19 19 100%
Number of Key Points 30 14 47% 33 33 88%
Number of Reason for Key Points 12 7 58% 24 22 92%
Total 59 36 61% 76 70 92% 31%

That is a fast start by any measure!  This kind of simple research can serve as model to others implementing TWI who want to measure immediate impacts of the training through the comparison of selected performance indicators between those  trained in the old  way and those  trained using TWI JI.    

Patrick Graupp – TWI Institute Senior Master Trainer

Steve Grossman – TWI Institute Director

A “Sneak Peek” at Implementing TWI


Productivity Press will be releasing the new book by Pat Graupp and Robert Wrona in December.  In Implementing TWI: Creating and Managing a Skills Based Culture, they present a compendium of exemplary TWI program implementations and argue for the need to gain active involvement of the entire enterprise to insure success.  

The best way to energize people is to provide them with the tools they need to get their jobs done in the most effective way. For the most part, people want to be proud of their work, and they want to be rewarded for the good job they do. The best way to channel that energy into positive workplace relationships is to provide supervisors with the skills they need to lead people just like TWI did during WWII, like Toyota has done since adopting TWI in 1951, and as you will learn from the case studies in this book.

The book contains case studies with contributions from the people who were there and lived the experience.  Two examples are presented below.

  Nixon Gear President Dean Burrows

Many companies approach economic downturns with the focus to reduce costs, reduce investment, and “hunker-down” for the impending storm. At Nixon Gear we used this as an opportunity to invest in the future of our company, employees, and customers. We weathered this storm with smart investment, strong cash management, and self-funding the improvements. Through the acceleration of Lean and the resurging use of TWI, we exit the recession with a stronger balance sheet than when we entered it. Although our volumes were down 40%, our stock value dipped only 5%. The improvements that were driven during this downturn, through Lean and TWI, allowed us to double our cash on hand, reduce our inventories by 43%, reduce lead times by 50%, while improving our margins. As we exit this recession, we find ourselves better positioned to exceed our customers’ expectations and to capitalize on business opportunities.

By dedicating the resources required, and committing the organization to implement the vision, success is inevitable. We may be busy, but we are never too busy to improve. We plan two to three kaizen events each month. As the improvements are implemented, they are locked-in and sustained with JI. In between our planned kaizen events, we coach employees on how to use JM to further drive the organization forward. Having a company resource and a well-trained workforce on TWI has made a measureable difference and distinction in our business. If you do not dedicate the time to improve, you will always find an excuse not to do it. You will be too busy, not have enough people, or create another excuse. As we improved our processes and freed up resources, thanks in good part to TWI, those resources were then used to improve other processes. It is a self-funding process.

 Albany International Plant Manager Scott Curtis

As the global downturn hit bottom, Albany International was dealing with many tough decisions, one of those being how to further reduce raw material costs. Faced with several suppliers running at less than full capacities and looking for opportunities to reduce costs through increased volume, we had to make some tough choices. One of those choices hinged on our ability to quickly absorb more volume without an interruption in service levels or quality. Based on the gains experienced over the last three years, in large part due to the TWI and Lean methodologies implemented, AIMP was fortunate enough to gain the market share to become the key monofilament supplier to the company. This decision did, however, result in the plant closure of another supplier. This could have been a different outcome for AIMP had we not experienced the improvements we had over the last three years. Moving forward, AIMP is in a much better position to react. The plant now has the training infrastructure and an improved ability to quickly respond to a rapidly changing world.

 Look for the book coming in December for the rest of the story!

Steven Grossman – Director TWI Institute

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