The TWI Blog for the Training Within Industry Community of Practice

Archive for March, 2011

AME’s Target: Read It

If you are not a member of AME, you should be, if only to get the Target Magazine.   I read the first issue of Target for 2011 with greater interest than usual because this issue contained a number of articles and features of special meaning to us at the TWI Institute. The first  was an article about Currier Plastics’ disciplined approach to lean accounting.  We are very familiar with Currier and I read with great interest as our friend Alan Gross, VP of Operations said: “We are continuing to work on gaining maturity in this area [Realignment of Resources] and on cross training all manufacturing personnel to enable this. To that end, we use the TWI (Training Within Industry) JI (Job Instruction) process to establish and perfect standard work.”   

We have worked over a number of years with Alan and the folks at Currier Plastics and are happy to see them get the recognition they so richly deserve.     

As I continued reading I came to the interview by Lea Tonkin with another friend, Sherrie Ford, multifaceted Chairperson of the Board and VP of Culture at Power Partners Inc.  When asked what “lesson learned” she can share about leadership and cultural change she said: “Through all the changes and challenges we have continued to work on lean.   We have also kept our link with the union strong. We have chartered teams – teams that stay in place for at least one year – in communications, wellness, charities, sustainability, behavior based quality.   We have launched Training Within Industry, plant-wide, in a way that every employee will understand the process and the value of standard work.” 

We’ve appreciated the opportunity to be a part of their great progress in such a relatively short period of time.    

Then, I got to the “Resources” section where Glenn Marshall writes about his picks for the best books on developing and sustaining standard work with an emphasis on – you guessed it – TWI.  In the article Glenn thanks our Executive Director Robert Wrona for his assistance. Finally, on the last page, I see Doc Hall’s review of Patrick Graupp and Robert Wrona’s new book (Implementing TWI) .  I’ll let you read the review or better yet the book.  Needless to say; Doc liked it. 

 So, you can see why, on the eve of the second decade of the TWI Institute, I was so gratified to read, in this issue of Target Magazine, the many references about how TWI contributes to success in organizations.          

Steven Grossman, Director

Getting All Your JIBs in a Row.

One of our newly minted Certified Trainers raised the issue of how to provide notes for a number trainers instructing on a number of the same  JIBs provided to them.  Pat answers by focusing on the issue of the number of JIBs developed before the training occurred. He suggests a more developmental approach.  Please comment if you have some good ideas.

The Questions:

 I attended the 40 hr JI class back in December.  We are currently re-implementing JI here after a failed attempt last year.  There are 2 questions I was hoping to get some help with.  The first is, in our machining operation, we will be training somewhere near 100 JIBs per operator.  This will be spread out over several weeks.  We are currently trying to establish some documentation on how to communicate to instructors on what order the JIBs should be taught (an Operator training Plan).  I was wondering if anyone in the TWI community has encounter a similar issue and may have developed an effective way to establish and maintain a training plan such as this?

 Second, because we are trying to establish and maintain Standardized Work, and we will be using several different trainers to conduct the training on the same operation, we are going to be making 1 standard set of JIBs for each operation.  The problem we have come across is how do we provide “Instructor Notes” within a jib without complicating the JIBs or confusing the instructor?

I’m sure I’m not the first person to encounter these types of problems and was hoping the TWI community could provide some help based on other’s experiences.

Thank you very much.

Patrick Graupp Responded:
Hi.  This is Pat and I hope you’re doing well. BTW, our Danish friends are doing well and training a lot of JI classes.

My first impression was that 100 breakdowns in a few weeks seem like “biting off more than they can chew at one time.” In particular, that’s a lot of breakdowns to “road test” all at once. In other words, you have to learn from the breakdowns you make by trying them out and then fine tuning and improving them. Then the breakdowns you make thereafter will be better and better. It’s a development process. You can see from the Albany International case study how they learned to make breakdowns which was critical to their training success.

But you still need to make progress. So I think it’s better to select a smaller set of the jobs (not ALL of them) and focus on getting those trained and stabilized. That will be much more realistic for your machine operators to learn and master. If you’ve selected the right jobs (based on criteria you choose) then you will get the most “bang for your buck” and that will create momentum for moving on to the next set of jobs and so on. Better to move one strong step forward at a time rather than try to do it all in one swoop.

As for having several trainers using a common set of breakdowns, I think that is quite alright. That’s what LEGO did when they standardized jobs in a pilot project last year across three plants in Denmark, Hungary and Mexico. They had their “global trainers” create a common set of breakdowns and then let their “local trainers” teach using these breakdowns that crossed countries, languages, and cultures.

Let us know what other questions you have moving forward. Whatever you do, keep in touch so we can all learn from your experiences. Good luck with the project.

Best regards, Patrick Graupp

TWI JR: How Do I Elevate The Benefits in My Organization?

TWI Institute Certified Trainers continue to ask excellent questions. Here is one on elevating JR up the ladder in an organization to maintain support at the C level.  Richard Abercrombie was asked this question a few days ago. 

Hi Rich,

 TWI has been a source of discussion and since I returned from the training back in September and I have been working hard to promote Job Relations. JI supports work standardisation and fits in well with business requirements  as there seem to be an immediate and obvious performance change. Everyone seems to be interested in this! I advise people that in order to support the possible changes to culture of using JI and work towards sustaining the change, Job Relations should be taught first, as advised by the TWI institute. As any soft skill, this is more difficult to measure a tangible change and I’m finding it difficult to get people to buy into this.  I’m really eager to continue with the JR training and would appreciate some advice on how I can promote it to work alongside JI and ensure that people recognise its value as much as JI and JM. Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Diolch yn fawr (Thank you very much),


 Hi, Elin,

It’s nice to hear from you.  You ask a very good question and are not the only person I’ve heard this from.  There are many like you who see the advantages and benefits of JR, how it links into not only the other “J” programs but many other things that are important to the company, only to have management show interest but then they don’t “get it.”  Here are a couple of things to consider:

  • If your management doesn’t see a problem that will be reduced or solved by JR, they won’t put it into an action plan.  So, one approach is to help them to see the problem.  In other words, instead of talking about how wonderful JR is, bring out the issues that represent barriers or threats to objectives that are already given priority by management.  For example, if JI is being used to establish standard work and improve quality but people are struggling with the degree of collaboration and teamwork necessary to agree on and support the standards, then management is not going to see the intended outcomes of standard work.  Continuing with my example, if you can show the evidence of this problem using examples of conflicts and disagreements, head-butting and brick walls, delays to progress, slowdowns to production, etc. then your management will likely be interested in what should be done.  At this point, JR can be offered as a specific and concrete countermeasure to these barriers.
  • Another approach is to identify someone in management who agrees with you about the potential of JR and is willing to promote or champion the idea.  Or perhaps you can find a supervisor who wants to use JR in their area of responsibility and they don’t have to ask permission.

 I hope this stimulates your thinking because you may need to get creative.  It may take a while to turn the course of the ship.

Best Regards,

 Rich Abercrombie

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