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What is the purpose of TWI Job Relations (JR)?

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.”

How do we motivate workers to take ownership for quality?

Robert from the Dallas area asked a question on the Linked In / AME Group, 

What are the best ways to motivate workers to take ownership for quality in their processes?   (LINK)

He further inquired: “Assuming that the workers do actually know how to make a good product, what are some activities or methods of helping them to “take over” responsibility of the outputs of their respective processes?”

The comments that followed were insightful and well written such as the sample of excerpts that follow without attribution.

 “We must make sure that the process and product is clearly defined first and workable standards are in place and understood. Too often this is not the case and quality fails as much through ignorance than lack of engagement the Operators to feel ownership for the process is the best way to motivate.”

“As said before, most of the quality issues are caused by the process. In order to motivate people to take ownership for the quality of their products you should listen to what they say about the quality issues they encounter every day. But listening is not enough, you need also to show them that you understood what they say, by starting fixing the problems.”

 “Give them the opportunity to propose solutions and, if possible, give them even the chance to implement and test their own solutions (the QCC circles are a good example of people’s involvement in solving quality issues).”
“Still too many comments focus on “them” the workers. The “them” must be everyone in the organization. Good process and tools first, then good training, people support systems installed and top management taking an active role in the quality system.”

All these comments circled around TWI but no one mentioned it so, of course, I had to and contributed the following: “TWI JI or Training Within Industry Job Instruction – it seems to me – offers a formalized system for involving all levels in production in the ownership of the quality of the product. First the system asks the operators how they do their work. The resulting, agreed upon “best way” Job Instructions are then used to train everyone who does that job. This involves the operator (ownership) and removes variability from the process.”

 As I continued to read the comments I couldn’t help but be amazed that so few offered any concrete suggestions for activities or methods, most offered platitudes. I don’t mean to be critical but maybe that’s a reason why we continue to ask questions like Robert’s.

Steve Grossman,  Director

 

Job Relations: Effective Leadership Transformation

I was looking through a catalogue of training for business professionals and saw a number of classes on leadership skills and conflict resolution for supervisors and new managers. The courses are known to be very good and all the trainers are outstanding. The costs are what you would expect for this quality of program.  The reason I bring this up is: I wondered if these classes, in spite of their inherent value to the individuals taking them, have any probability whatsoever of transforming the organizations that participate in them? Participants almost always enjoy these training programs and come back raving about how wonderful the content was. But how often have you seen a person return from one of these classes and make a big difference in the way?  I’ll let you answer that.

It seems to me that if an organization really wants to affect their supervisors’ leadership skills and improve conflict resolution they would be better served by training supervisors and floor managers in Job Relations. 

When we talk to companies they usually tell us that their folks are all getting along just fine, thank you, and that they don’t need Job Relations. But then when we actually deliver JR to an organization, the line supervisors almost always rate this program as the one they need the most. The simple fact that there are scores of classes in conflict resolution, leadership skills, and dealing with change proves the need supervisors have for these skills.

You know, as I looked at the course outlines I was struck by the similarities between the content of many of these courses and Job Relations (JR). 

The difference is JR operationalizes the content taught in many of these courses.

1. JR teaches the supervisor how to see a problem, make a decision on whether to seek help or handle it on their own, and take action.

2. JR teaches the supervisor how to first determine the objective and to evaluate the results of their actions based on the degree to which they achieved the objective.

3.  JR teaches the supervisor how to get the facts, weigh and decide what to do based on those facts, and to take action.     

The class not only teaches the skill of how to do these things, but lets the participant practice the skills on relevant problems in their own experience and workplace.  In that way, they go back to their jobs not just with a head full of fancy ideas but with the ability to put into effect what they have learned and make a real change in how they fulfill their responsibilities.  So, let’s take a fresh look at JR.  Instead of sending a few people out for a few days, why not bring those skills into the organization, for all the supervisors, and thereby transform them and the organization.  

Steve G.

TWI Institute Survey Results

 Summary

In August 2011 the Training Within Industry (TWI) Institute undertook the third annual TWI Institute Survey.   This year the survey was expanded beyond certified trainers to include those who have attended TWI related events, ten hour classes and other consulting activities.  The purpose of the survey was to find out the following:

  • How much J training did certified trainers in companies and in consulting firms do last year?
  • Have the activities of certified trainers changed over the past year?
  • For those who use TWI in companies: What year is their TWI implementation in?
  • What TWI Institute services were used in the past year?
  • In companies: How would the respondent rate the implementation of one or more TWI programs?
  • How important is the TWI Summit to the respondent?
  •  What features of the TWI Summit are important to encourage attendance?
  • What new services would they like to see the TWI Institute provide next year?

The survey was sent via email to the 751 individuals on our contact lists.  Seven hundred and twenty-one were received. The survey was answered by 94 respondents (13 percent response rate).   The sample was a non-representative, self selected sample.    

The findings follow.

Question 1.   Over the past 12 months about how many times did you deliver a J class in your company or to your clients?

In the past year 91 percent of consultants were active.  In fact 43 percent had delivered 10 or more classes in the past year. Ninety-three percent of company trainers were also active. In the past year 68 percent had delivered 1 to 5 classes. 

Question 2.  Do your TWI activities change year to year?

Over half the consultants anticipated the same number of deliveries next year as this past year. Over a third predicted they will do more coaching and mentoring as well. Almost half of the company trainers anticipated an increase in coaching and mentoring.  Only 13 percent of the trainers (consulting and company) anticipated spending more time on logistics and management. 

 Question 3. In my company, implementation of one or more TWI processes (JI, JR, JM, JS) has: not started, is in year one, year two or year three or more.

We eliminated the responses of the consultants as they would all answer N/A. The distribution of responses among the not certified individuals and certified trainers in companies were similar. Forty-seven percent of Not Certified were first year, 35 percent were second year.  Thirty-five percent of the Certified Company group were first year, twenty three percent were second year and 29 percent third year.   Over 85 percent in both groups were first, second or third year.

Question 4.  TWI Institute exists to support the implementation of TWI. On the list below check all that apply.   In the past year which of the following have you used?

In this question all three groups responded.   The highest ranked service was the website as source of information (Average 62 percent). The second ranked service was information on the blog (48 percent). The third ranked service was information from the master trainers which tied with J classes at 39 percent.  The train the trainer came in fifth (the responses of not certified were not averaged in as, by definition, they had not used that service).   While information on the telephone came in at sixth (28 percent)  it is important to note the not certified individuals and consultants reported much greater use of the telephone for information than the certified company trainers. Finally, coaching was the least used service by respondents averaging 21 percent). 

Question 5.  In my company the implementation of one or more TWI processes has is going better than anticipated, going well, going slow, at a stand still.

Those in companies who were not certified and those who were certified had similar distributions of responses when asked how TWI processes were progressing.  On average just under 80 percent responded “well” and “slow”. Few said: “Better than anticipated” and even fewer said their project was at a “standstill”.

 Question 6.  I think the TWI Summit in May is:

 Almost everyone who responded indicated they felt the TWI Summit was important or very important: The not certified individuals responded 100 percent; the certified consultants responded 95 percent; and the certified company responded 86 percent. 

 Question 7.  I will be more likely to attend the TWI Summit next May if it features: (Check top three)

The most highly ranked feature influencing attendance decisions was “good case studies”. The second was more emphasis on management and deployment. The third was TWI and Lean. The keynote speaker ranked 4 out of 8.  A workshop for certified trainers ranked 5th. J classes, JIB writing and Basics (TWI 101) were the last three with an average of under 20 percent.

Question 8.  What new service would you like to see the TWI Institute provide next year?

Thirteen services were suggested by respondents (see the full report for the list). 

Limitations

The sample, while somewhat representative, was not random and self selected.   Therefore, the ability to generalize to the entire population is limited.    

 Conclusions and Planning

The following conclusions can be drawn from the information collected.

 1. Certified trainers who responded to the survey are actively training the use of TWI for their clients and in their companies.

  2. Next year, the activity level of certified trainers should remain the same or increase based on the survey data.  

 3. The consultants and company trainers will be increasing the amount of coaching activity they engage in. 

 4. Seventy-two percent of the company respondents had not started or were in their first and second years of their TWI work.

 5. About half of the respondents indicated that their progress was going well or better than anticipated. Over one third said Slow and six percent said at a “standstill”.  

 6. TWI Institute services outside of training continue to be used. This is the value added by using the Institute.  The “hidden” use of the TWI Institute is the TWI Institute’s web site. 

 7. The blog has the potential to be an increasingly important piece of the overall services, with over 8,000 views in the past year.

 8. Master Trainers continue to provide be an important service for all groups by answering questions, making presentations and appearing at events such as the TWI Summit.

 9. Train the trainer and J classes (Initial deliveries) were used by about one third of the respondents in the past year. These continue to be the sustaining services of the TWI Institute without which the other services would not be possible.

 10. Phone information and coaching were reported as the least used services at 28 and 21 percent respectively. However, to put this in context, we do most of the telephone work at the beginning of the contact with the company or consultant and the coaching occurs after the initial delivery of training and sometimes after the Train the trainers is completed.

 11. The new services suggested by thirteen of the respondents can be grouped into three categories:

  • Classes
  • Community of Practice (CoP)
  •  Coaching

 12. This year the survey included a section on the TWI Summit upcoming in May 2012.   Ninety percent (90%)  of the respondents rated the TWI Summit as Important or Very Important.  They were asked what they thought were features of the TWI Summit that would influence their decision to attend. The most highly rated item on the list was “good case studies”. The second was how manage a deployment, and the third, TWI and Lean.  This year we will endeavor to make these three features are prominent in the program.

 The results of this years’ survey will inform planning for the rest of this year and next year, including plans to:

  • Continue to improve and refine the delivery of the TWI Institute core classes  and programs.
  • Continue to increase the amount of follow up and coaching services provided to ongoing projects in companies.
  • Focus assistance services to clients who are in the start-up and first two years of a project .
  • Accelerate improvements to features and usefulness of the TWI Institute website.
  • Blog bi-weekly, improve interaction on the blog, and improve linkages to other blogs
  • Run a least two webinars that are panel discussions on topics of broad interest to the community of practice.
  • Improve the quality of the TWI Summit breakout sessions to include good case studies, including sessions on how to best  manage a TWI deployment and the synergy between TWI and Lean

 For the full report go to www.twi-institute.org

TWI Summit Planning Begins! (May 16-17, 2012)

The TWI Institue and Lean Frontiers started working in earnest on the 2012 TWI Summit  http://www.twisummit.com/index.html.  This  Summit promises to be the best ever. We will have a mix of case studies with from 1 to 4 or more  years of implementation experience.    The Summit will offer pre-conference workshops, and  the ten hour classes of Job Instruction and Job Relations immediately following the Summit – Wednesday through Friday.     

The keynotes will also be outstanding (to be announced later) and the location is second to none. (Gaylord Palms, Orlando http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-palms/

This is the earliest we have been at this point in the planning for an upcoming Summit, so if you have any suggestions let Steve Grossman or Jim Huntzinger know (while we still have time ) at:  sgrossman@twi-institute.org  or jim@leanfront.com

Save the date!!

Good questions from Barcelona!

Agata Pawlukojc a training consultant in Spain who participated in TWI Institute Training had some questions for Richard Abercrombie.  They are presented here in question answer format. Do you have questions? Leave them as comments and we’ll get a discussion going.

 Q.  I wonder about the JR Problem Analysis Sheet.  I cannot find any mention about this sheet in the instructor manual. What is it used for?  May the participants can use it for preparing their cases?   Is it for the instructor to take notes?

The general comment during the whole manual is that all the information is confidential, so it is important to understand the role of the Problem Analysis Sheet.

 A.  The JR Problem Analysis Sheet is something that Patrick brought with him from Sanyo.  It isn’t part of the original material.  The reasoning behind the form is that there are breakdown sheets for JI and breakdown sheets for JM so why not have a breakdown sheet for JR?

 But, because we advise JR participants to not write down anything about their problems because they are confidential, the form isn’t handed out in the 10 hour sessions.  As a trainer, though, you get the form so that you can introduce it to management as a useful tool they may consider using when there is a problem that actually needs to be solved.  It is a useful worksheet to work through the process with someone who is trying to decide how to handle a person problem.  It also can be used as a way of documenting exactly what process was followed and what options were considered in making an important decision about how to treat an employee.  In any case, it is up to the company management to decide whether to use the form and how to make sure its use is consistent with company human relations policies.

 Q.  For companies that already work with Lean and Kaizen, how can I explain the benefits of JM? I personally see benefits as:

  • involving the supervisor and the operator in the improvements·      
  • an easy method for looking for improvement
  • a tool to capture the actual status and to describe the proposed on to present the proposal

However, if the company already has their kaizen events will JM be useful for them? Can it be implemented together with Kaizen?

 A. Companies that have a Lean Program don’t necessarily have a continuous improvement program.  A Value Stream Map and a plan and schedule of kaizen workshops to implement Toyota Production System concepts and techniques is certainly a good idea.  But it is done by certain members of management and some improvement specialists who represent a small percentage of the total number of people working in the plant.  Almost everyone else is going about their daily routines and they are affected by or participate directly in the Lean Program infrequently.

Lean Program carries as its basic premise the thinking that the current conditions are “unacceptable” and must be re-made to eliminate large amounts of waste.  On the other hand, the basic premise of continuous improvement is that conditions are as they are, but what can be done to make them just a little better?  For example, I once visited an operator who had been in a kaizen workshop years before.  He still remembered it as an enjoyable experience, even though it was a long time ago.  Then he showed me how he had taken some tape and cardboard and made a few places on his work bench and machine to hold small tools he used frequently.  Of course I was impressed with his “just go do it” attitude.  But what impressed me even more was that this operator demonstrated the willingness to look critically at the current conditions of his own work and search for better ways as a result.  And he didn’t just think about it and perhaps mention it to his supervisor to get the go ahead first.  He took action.  That’s the crucial part.  He exhibited a higher level of engagement and initiative, the key to continuous improvement and bottom up management.

 Q.  In a company I work with workers are very qualified as they operate complex machines. We found out that apart of all the tasks that they do on the machine they also need a lot of knowledge. The trainee needs this knowledge before he/she can start on job training with JI.

The Continuous Improvement engineer from this company (with strong work knowledge as he was machine operator when finishing engineering), created another sheet (based on the JI breakdown sheet) where, together with the operator, he captures the knowledge. Then they use this sheet to teach the trainee the knowledge first, and then they start to train him how to operate the machine with JIBS and the 4 step method. Their manager is asking if it is OK.

For me it has logic. In Toyota Talent Jeff Liker writes about the learning process, but he is not mentioning the supporting materials for knowledge teaching. Mike Hoseus confirms in Toyota Culture that Toyota uses a lot of class training to teach the knowledge part of the job.

I wonder if you have any similar experience with a job that has a lot of knowledge involved and how a company can do to capture this knowledge.

 A. Job Methods teaches how to make the best use of the people, machines and materials now available.  Keep in mind that after a Lean kaizen event has eliminated a lot of waste, the new standard is now the “current conditions” and should continue to be improved in small, incremental ways by the people supervising and doing that work.  But usually, the supervisor and people in the area try to adjust themselves to these conditions as best they can, and pretty much leave it that way (hopefully) until the next kaizen event.

Job Methods is the knowledge and skill development of people supervising and doing the work that is necessary for the control of waste in the daily use of manpower, materials, time, costs, output, safety, methods, etc., and to inspire and encourage suggestions for improvement.  It is the spirit of kaizen and is essential for the long term success of a lean production system.

As for your second question, I think you’ve answered it for yourself.  Knowledge and skill are both needed.  JI is an excellent methodology for training to develop skill. When the objective is to develop knowledge there are many other ways, as well.  I sure a good list could be made from things like classroom training, reading manuals and books, discussing technical matters with other operators and specialists, attending conferences, going to the manufacturer of the equipment, talking to engineers, working in the maintenance department, etc.

You can give assurances to the manager at your client that ideas for knowledge development that come from making breakdowns of jobs for instruction should be encouraged.  Just make sure that the Job Instruction Breakdowns don’t become detailed procedures and the distinction between skill development and knowledge development are kept clear.

A trainer’s dilemma

Have you ever thought: Is there some way to make TWI JI better, faster, more up to date with technology?

Here is a trainer with a dilemma and Patrick Graupp’s  response.  

Trainer: 

The program I am working on today requires to train hundreds of people worldwide on new processes and software. I would like take the advantage of the TWI methodology to boost the speed and the quality of the training that is a bottle neck for us regarding the available resources.

I do not know if it has been tried before but for learning software could you effectively follow the 4-step method in a classroom environment (no more than 10 people)?

Step 1 – the instructor performs a general presentation:

–          Explain the objective

–          Ask each person within the group what they know

–          U shape room is used to ensure everyone can see the software on a screen

Step 2 – Instructor presents the software

–          Go through each important step on the screen

–          Do it again stressing Key Points

–          Do it again stating reasons for Key Points

Step 3 – Try out performance with each person in the group

–          Each person within the group would do the job – correcting each error

–          Each person would explain each important step

–          Each person would explain each Key point as they do it again

–          Each person would explain each reason for Key points as they do it again

Step 4 – Follow up

–          Put the group on their own by giving them 2 or three exercises to do. Instructor remains in classroom but only helps when help is needed

–          Encourage questions

 I realize it is somewhat of a compromise but it does have some advantages like having heard and seen the learning process many more times than one on one instruction. Please let us know your thoughts and experience.

 Patrick said:

TWI is a very good tool for teaching software routines. Since there are so many functions available, it is always confusing to learn to do specific things using software. So when we “break it down” and give specific instructions, we can isolate the tasks and ensure a correct performance. Be careful with the breakdowns: the Important Steps should be large segments and not too detailed (e.g. “Log in,” “Open file,” “Select correct customer,” “Input data,” etc.). Then the Key Points can be shortcuts or techniques, but only those points where things go wrong. You do NOT need to instruct them on things they know from their experience like “hit enter key.” A good example of a Key Point might be the best “path” to get to a certain screen like “Format -> Options -> Files -> Customers.”

 So, about the instruction of large groups of people, your suggestions can work if they are done thoughtfully and with care but keep in mind that, at some point, it will actually be FASTER to teach them one at a time. If it takes 30 minutes, say, to teach the job you could get 10 people trained in less than a day without having to go through all the logistics of setting up the classes. This is the most effective way because each person can have the training adjusted to their level of experience and knowledge. Any time you get away from the ideal method, the quality of the training effort goes down. Of course, this is a big effort—see Chapter 9 of the Implementing TWI book where they set up individual training for 467 nurses and nurses assistants.

 Having said that, there is always a place for classroom training. TWI does not change that. Especially with software applications where you are not teaching “on the line” where machines are moving and product is in motion, you can sit people down in a class and go through the instruction where everyone can see (on a big screen) and you can pace the instruction to the needs of the group.

 Actually, going over your suggestions I thought of yet a third option you can consider:

 Step 1 and Step 2 are done with a group of 10 people in a training room setting

–          In Step 1, go around the room and quiz each person on their backgrounds one at a time. Use this information to get the whole group “interested in learning the job” making sure you don’t leave anybody behind. Different people have different motivations.

–          In Step 2, adjust the presentation to the “lowest level” of experience/skill in the group. The more advance people will have to be patient, but you don’t want to leave anyone behind by going too fast or too complicated.

Step 3 and Step 4 are done individually at their own work stations  

–          Disperse the group and have the trainer visit them at their desks/work stations one at a time and confirm that they can do the job and remember all the Important Steps, Key Points and reasons

–          Here, tell them the Step 4 items, pointing out when you will come back to check on them. Remember, this is the follow-up which means that the trainer then must go back and check up on the people one by one. In other words, you don’t just tell them you are coming back but actually go back and make sure they are using the method.

 There is indeed a lot of work to do proper training. But the goal is to have each person be able to perform the job correctly and following the standard. When you bring a group of people together and try to teach it at one time, you cannot assure that each and every person “gets it” so one-on-one attentions is critical. That’s why when we train more “supervisors” (trainers) how to do the method in the 10-hour class, you can have more coverage for this one-on-one effort.

What do you think?

Steve G

 

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