The knowledge and experience of employees build the most important working capital a company possesses. Human actions largely determine what goes right and wrong on the workfloor.
The ideal scenario: a method that not only ensures uniform and standardized working practices and a way of working supported by the entire organization, but also minimizes the chance of errors and enables operators to perform the work flawlessly.
Fortunately, finding such a method is not some far-fetched utopia. Training Within Industry (TWI) is a model that uses the principles of standardization and practice-oriented training to continuously control and improve business and production processes. What exactly is TWI? And how do you apply the method as a framework for practice-oriented training? Read all about it in this article.
TWI: a short history
The concept of Training Within Industry originated in the United States of America. Originally created by the United States Department of War, it was intended to maintain industrial production during the American participation in World War II. Many young men entered the army, while the demand for war material and everyday utensils remained high.
TWI provided for the rapid, effective and practical training of professionals, allowing continued industrial mass production. The method served two major goals:
- Training new (professional) workers as quickly as possible to take the place of the people who were sent to the front.
- Generating the largest possible output with as few people as possible, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
An important feature of the TWI program was the cumulative knowledge aspect. People with a wealth of experience trained team leaders. These newly trained professionals in turn passed the torch to other team leaders, ensuring that important knowledge became part of a company’s DNA.
This method, known as “train the trainer”, was implemented throughout the entire organization, making TWI a striking success: within a few years, no fewer than 1.6 million people in the US had a (partial) TWI certificate.
After the war, the TWI concept was also eagerly accepted in other parts of the world. Especially Japanese companies, including prominent car manufacturer Toyota, revived the concept under the name Kaizen. In addition, the Japanese perfected the American blueprint to enable the rapid reconstruction of their war-ravaged country.
What is TWI?
Training Within Industry originally consists of four components. In the original American model, every module of the model was a 10-hour training session that quickly and adequately prepared an employee for a task or role. Time to take a quick look at the four components of the original TWI model.
Job Instruction is the first building block of TWI training. During this first step, supervisors and experienced employees learn how to optimally transfer their knowledge and skills to less experienced colleagues.
The Job Methods section focuses on creating self-knowledge. You teach employees to analyze and evaluate the efficiency of work routines. The goal: detecting possible improvements faster and in a more efficient manner.
TWI is a method that gives people center stage. After all, the human workforce still performs most of the core tasks within an organization. This third part of the TWI model is therefore mainly aimed at improving working relationships. The module Job Relations focuses on two important questions:
- How should I approach employees if I want to create a pleasant and productive working environment?
- How do I get the most out of peoples’ qualities, knowledge and skills?
Job Safety focuses on health and safety. This part of the TWI training program provides a powerful framework for operators to identify and eliminate potential hazards and safety issues.
Merge of the modules
TWI Company has successfully merged all the modules of the original method. As a result, we are able to prepare all TWI trainers in two and a half days for the first training sessions on the floor. The starting point? The job always has to be performed safely and must be carried out according to the highest possible quality standards and a clearly established working standard.
TWI Company has unified Job Relations with the focus areas of attitude, behavior and communication, and effective leadership, leading to an approach that is predominantly focused on educating executives and less on job training on the production line.
TWI equals hands-on practical training
Compared to seventy years ago, the world has changed spectacularly. For example, the hierarchical structure of companies today hugely differs from the default situation seven decades ago. Excellent didactic skills are therefore crucial when you train people in our modern day and age. This didactic aspect of training is an essential component of our approach towards on-the-job training. It’s what sets us apart from many other TWI providers.
We are not consultants in flashy pinstripe suits, but advisors and trainers whose approach and methods are deeply rooted in practical, real-life experience gained on the workfloor.
Both the training and learning processes do not take place in a classroom, but directly in the workplace. This gives employees the opportunity to immediately use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to improve their daily work routines. Practical training is important in an era where knowledge is becoming obsolete faster and faster and yesterday’s best practices are often overtaken by today’s reality. Practical training works best if you do it one-on-one.
At TWI Company we have developed a clear method to maximize the efficiency of one-on-one training. The trainer demonstrates an action three times, after which the employee imitates it four times. Step by step we go through the what (which action), the how (the critical points) and the why (the reasons behind those critical points) of each action. Does an employee demonstrate that he can perform the task flawlessly? Great, then he or she can quickly get started independently!
Is an employee unable to figure it out? Then we do not put the blame on that person, but acknowledge that the responsibility lies with the trainer. Our philosophy about practical, on-the-job training?
If the employee doesn’t understand a task, the trainer didn’t train it properly.
TWI combines practical training with standardization. Work processes are set up in such a way that every operator knows exactly what is expected of him or her. It is crystal clear how he or she should do the work and why a job or task should be done in a certain way. This approach ensures that people perform their tasks more consciously.
Standardization also minimizes the chance of errors because you clearly record rules and best practices and embed them in the DNA of your organization. Instead of 25 employees with 25 different working methods, TWI gives you 25 employees and one optimal working method.
This improves efficiency and reduces the amount of errors.
In addition, TWI not only standardizes the process behind, but also the quality of your training. You want to prevent the quality level of your training sessions from being dependent on your (best) trainer. Because every TWI trainer trains in the same way, everyone eventually becomes your ‘best’ trainer.
The benefits of Training Within Industry
Practice-oriented training with TWI has various advantages over traditional training, both for employees and organizations. Let us take a quick look at the most important TWI benefits.
- Training Within Industry focuses on standardizing work processes and training methods. This often leads to more peace and stability within a company, which increases the quality and productivity of both individual employees and the organization as a whole.
- Due to the emphasis on practice-oriented training, new employees can be deployed more quickly, allowing you to improve the effectiveness of the induction process. Take Johma, where a good and efficient induction program ensures that a new employee is authorized for a task and can perform his or her work flawlessly after only an hour of training.
- With TWI you make improvement processes faster and easier. Moreover, an organization can actually guarantee improvement with the TWI method.
- Because TWI is people-oriented, the methodology is extremely suitable for improving relationships and increasing human involvement within a company.
- TWI training reduces the burden of human error by over 90 percent.
- Competencies become transparent per employee.
- The lead time of practical training becomes more predictable. You know up front how much time it will take before a (new) employee is trained to properly and safely perform his tasks in the workplace.
- Reduce training time with 60 to 80%
- Reduce errors with 90% (quality and efficiency)
- Improve workplace safety (for product and employee)
- Improve the efficiency of the training period
- Make competencies per employee visible
- The duration and lead time of a training course becomes predictable
Differences from traditional training methods
TWI uses a clear sequence to teach tasks: one task at a time and a build-up from relatively simple to more complex tasks. Traditional training courses often provide an information overload and teach tasks based on work to be performed. In traditional training, the dangers of performing a task incorrectly are often not clear. When you use TWI, the risk class is transparent per task.
Traditional training courses often suffer from the shortcoming that each employee instructs people in his own way. At TWI, all trainers use one standardized training and working method. TWI training always contains a what, how and why. The why is usually absent in standard training formats.
Traditional training courses don’t give trainers any insight into the training and potential of employees. TWI works with a competency matrix (four stages) and several checks. These test whether an employee works according to the agreed standard.
Practical training with TWI
Would you also like to get acquainted with the principles of Training Within Industry? Then you have come to the right place at TWI Company. We provide practical and people-centric training programs to guide you in applying the TWI methodology within your organization. We have more than twelve years of experience and have already provided more than 180 TWI implementations in the Netherlands and Belgium. Would you like to know more? Check out our website and feel free to contact us.