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Archive for October, 2010

The necessity for a support structure for TWI

Our own Richard Abercrombie was having lunch with a manager in one of our largest companies deploying TWI.  Richard and the manager discussed  the critical need for support for TWI at each site.  Richard paraphrases his converation below so we can all benefit from his expertise.

TWI Job Instruction (JI) focuses on that part of the line organization closest to the work.  In your company who would that be? Who are the people responsible for what happens “out on the genba.”  Examples are: Managers, Group Leaders, Team Leaders and Team Members.

 All of these people have a critical role to play in the implementation of TWI.  The Operators, of course, do the work and it’s the responsibility of management to see that they are well-trained.  Therefore, the Team Leader’s role is to USE Job Instruction.  The Group Leader’s role is to GET IT USED.  And the Manager’s role is to PRODUCE RESULTS from JI.

To fulfill each of these roles, some type of training is usually necessary.  First of all, it is necessary to complete the 10-hour sessions in Job Instruction.  In particular, the Manager and Group Leader(s) should participate fully in the 10-hour sessions so they have a concrete knowledge of the JI plan and how to make it work on the production floor.  The Manager is a bridge to middle and upper management and is in a position to understand how to translate company objectives into specific action plans for Job Instruction with the Group Leader(s).  On that basis, the Group Leaders can direct and guide the Team Leaders in the use of Job Instruction in support of these company objectives. 

Without the active and ongoing interest by the Manager and Group Leader, there will be no traction for Job Instruction on the production floor.  Active interest does not mean that they just talk about how good it is.  They must use Job Instruction as a production tool the same as any other production tool currently in place.

After being trained in Job Instruction, the Manager and Group Leader(s) need to be trained in how to coach their subordinates.  The coaching consists of helping Team Leaders understand the importance training according to a plan and making sure they develop and maintain a Training Timetable.  It also involves helping them improve their skill of breaking down jobs in preparation for instruction, and then encouraging them in the use the 4-Step Method while training a Team Members on specific jobs.  To accomplish this type of coaching, the Group Leader has to fully develop their own Job Instruction skills.

To provide this training and development, sometimes staff personnel, for example, the Training Department, Quality Control, or Continuous Improvement are utilized for this purpose.  But the appropriate Manager must first lay out just how the staff resources will assist the Group Leader to gain the skill of Job Instruction and the ability to coach Team Leaders. 

Staff people are most qualified to fulfill this role when they have completed the 40-hour Job Instruction train-the-trainer.  In other words, while they will be active in delivering the 10-hour sessions to Job Instruction trainers, they have another role, which, for want of a better term, might be called a TWI follow-up coach to the line organization.

The reason behind the necessity for such a support structure is the notion that “you and I are interested in what the boss is interested in.”  Therefore, to make Job Instruction “the way we do business on the production floor ” and not a casual, once-in-a-while project, the boss must be visibly and concretely driving the process.

Richard Abercrombie, TWI Institute Master Trainer

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