The purpose of the Job Relations (JR) component of TWI is to:
- Increase Quality
- Increase Production
- Reduce Cost
- Reduce accidents
So, how does JR help do that?
The following story was told by a 1st line Supervisor from a large manufacturing facility that recently attended a JR class that sheds some light on how JR does in fact “help do that”.
The business was experiencing a high demand for their product and for many months had been meeting this demand by mandating that employees work overtime hours each week. It happened that on the upcoming weekend there was to be a popular community event in which several of the work group, along with their families, had long planned to participate in. Early in that particular week the Supervisor was told by his boss that, in order to meet the ship schedule to customers, he should once again mandate that his work group put in weekend overtime hours. When the Supervisor told the work group, they were not happy and appealed to his sense of fairness. The supervisor explained to the work group that the business must be able to meet the commitments to the customers but offered this possibility: If the group could get all of the product completed within the regular 40-hour work week, and it must be high quality product, they could have the weekend off. The work group agreed to these terms and everything was done by Friday. The results were that; a) the required amount of good product was shipped on time, b) no dollars were wasted on overtime, and c) the workers were happy to have the weekend off.
The point here is not whether this approach would work in any other company. The point is that people can, and quite often will, figure out how to get something done if they really want to do it.
So, in order to increase Quality, increase Production and reduce Cost, we want people to “really want to do it”. It is in getting people’s heads in the game, in “really wanting to do it”, that JR is extremely effective. Notice that in this really-happened example the Supervisor did not just give in. The work group still had to meet PRODUCTION requirements and meet QUALITY standards in order to be able to have their weekend off; moreover, they reduced COST! That’s what is meant by getting people’s heads in the game. JR is not about taking everyone to Disneyland each day. JR is about treating people with respect, while keeping them focused on the job.
Some recent comments from JR practitioners:
a) “The Job Relations module within TWI is the simplest, most practical and single most effective ‘people skills’ tool I have seen – ever.
I am practicing what I have learnt every day and it is adding value, and I believe will continue to do so.”
b) In a recent JR class, one of the participants practiced using the 4-step “How to Handle a Problem” process using a situation that was currently before him. A valued employee was upset because they felt that they had not been awarded their 25-year service pin at the anniversary date. It seems that there was uncertainty as to the exact date due to a change of the way records were handled when the company changed hands many years earlier. This is what the supervisor said he decided to do and how he decided to do it:
“In the case that I presented to the class, I am proceeding with giving the employee her pin. I spoke with a few more of the older hands and they can’t nail the exact date but its close enough. My plan now is to wait until I have an executive visit the site and make a big deal out of the presentation.
Thank you for making this process so clear and concise, I was impressed with your ability to keep the program focused and moving forward, well done.”