Training Within Industry (TWI) is a method with quite a long history. TWI saw the light of day when the U.S. steel mills in World War II needed a good method for quickly inducting new employees. The demand for armament was high, while the war effort was causing many workers to be sent to the front.
In the twenty-first century, TWI is still alive and well. The reason? Every company naturally wants its employees to work flawlessly. And let the TWI method be just the thing for this! TWI traditionally consists of four modules: Job Instruction, Job Method, Job Relations and Job Safety. While all four are important, in many ways Job Instruction is the core and foundation of the TWI methodology. In this blog article, you’ll read all about Job Instruction and we’ll show you how to use this part of the TWI methodology in a targeted way to get employees to work error-free.
The purpose of Job Instruction
The Job Instruction module is both the starting point and the foundation of TWI. It is a module with one crystal clear goal: to train employees in a standardized way that makes it possible to work without errors.
In doing so, the training runs along two axes:
- learning the task and standardizing
- optimizing the way of training.
Job Instruction is thus an effective medicine against a persistent practical problem: different employees often use different working methods for the same task. Work standards are lacking, which often has a negative effect on productivity, safety and quality of processes.
The intended end result is that you define a task or process in a specific and unambiguous way and then translate it into a work standard that everyone on the shop floor understands. The thinking behind Job Instruction places a strong emphasis on the why by always asking the following question, “What does it add if I learned this?”
Understanding the why behind a work standard reduces the likelihood that people will fall back into old (and often bad) ways of working over time.
“Go figure it out for yourself: how much of the material from thick textbooks or manuals you read in a short period of time a few months back actually stuck?”
Job Instruction in Practice
But how do you apply the theory behind Job Instruction in practice? What concrete form does the module take in the modern workplace?
First of all, Job Instruction breaks down tasks into a number of important steps. Breaking down a task into small pieces ensures, especially in the case of complex operations, that everything remains clear and that you learn cumulatively and quickly.
Check it out for yourself: how much of the material in thick textbooks or manuals that you read in a short period of time a few months ago has actually stuck?
Presumably not all of it. That’s because in such a case there is an “information overkill” lurking: your brain is bombarded in a short time with an enormous amount of theoretical information.
By breaking down the information into smaller, bite-sized chunks and also applying the power of repetition, task instructions, best practices and work routines stick much better.
Away with ballast
Another strength of Job Instruction is that the method throws out unnecessary ballast.
This is because TWI starts from three critical criteria when training and setting up work standards:
Is a component of a task not essential to one of these three critical criteria? Then we don’t include it in the work standard.
So we reduce tasks and processes to their essence, making the learning curve less steep and making it easier for employees to master a particular way of working. This not only offers advantages to employees already in service, but also makes it a lot easier to get new people properly and quickly acclimatized. You can immediately create a good and uniform training plan for newcomers without the theoretical ballast that you often find in work instructions.
By reducing training standards to the essence, you ensure that employees learn tasks quickly and correctly in one go according to the agreed best work method. Moreover, they will not easily forget the best practices learned.
The practical backbone of Job Instruction is actually training a task. To do that in the best possible way, we standardize not only the task, but also the training methods. This means that every TWI trainer explains and demonstrates the task in the same way. This way, every trainer ends up being your best trainer.
The trainers demonstrate how to carry out steps and what the most important points of attention are, after which employees then take on sub-tasks independently. In the TWI training method, the training process takes place entirely on the shop floor. The strength of the TWI method is that the trainer demonstrates the task three times and explains constructively how and why the task must be carried out.
The first time, he only deals with the most important steps: the ‘what’. The second time, he also explains how to perform the task. And the third time, the ‘why’ is also discussed. In this way a gradual accumulation of knowledge is created. Then the employee repeats the task 4 times. The trainer has now directly tested in practice whether the employee can work independently, safely and without errors.
We can divide Job Instruction into four phases.
- Prepare: the trainer prepares the operator for something he is going to learn, for example by making the link with known principles and components of a task or process. In addition, the trainer puts the operator at ease, and tries to find out what the employee already knows by asking specific questions.
- Present: the trainer demonstrates step by step how the employee performs a task optimally. He does this by going through the predefined steps one by one and emphasizing the how and why of each step.
- Try out: the operator independently performs a (partial) task and repeats the why of the most important key points in terms of quality, safety and productivity. The trainer makes sure that the operator has mastered the material and can correct mistakes himself.
- Follow-up: the trainer checks that the operator can perform all tasks independently and without error. He also encourages the operator to ask questions. In addition, the trainer establishes who the operator can turn to if he needs help or additional explanations.
What does Job Instruction deliver in concrete terms?The proper and consistent application of Job Instruction delivers various benefits to organizations and employees. You improve processes by creating better work standards and fully focus on the core elements of each task: quality, safety and productivity. By standardizing both the task and the training, you prevent people from putting their own (erroneous) spin on a task or looking for personal workarounds to problems.
Last but not least: by including task experts in Job Instruction, they themselves recognize the advantages of cutting a task into pieces. Many of them eventually develop into excellent TWI trainers as well.
Job Instruction and TWI CompanyIn the original TWI method, Job Instruction, Job Methods and Job Relations are three separate modules. At TWI Company, we have merged them into a unified whole that makes the most of all the principles behind TWI.
Would you also like to be introduced to the power of Job Instruction and TWI? Then you’ve come to the right place. TWI Company has extensive knowledge of and experience with continuous process improvement and practical application of TWI principles. We have over 20 years of experience and have already carried out more then 300 TWI implementations in the Netherlands and Belgium. Want to know more? Feel free to take a look at our website or contact us without any obligations. We would love to get to know you!