The TWI Blog for the Training Within Industry Community of Practice


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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