The TWI Blog for the Training Within Industry Community of Practice

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

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