Taking Lean to the Next Level

TWI is an essential element in sustaining lean initiatives in manufacturing, healthcare and government. It provides frontline personnel with the skillset to establish a culture for change, process to achieve standard work, framework for continuous improvement, and easy-to-apply methods to achieve results. TWI is the lynchpin required for a sustainable Lean infrastructure.

TWI Lean Integration

Standard Work

A successful Lean journey requires organizations to achieve stability in methods and processes through Standardized Work, a fundamental element in the Toyota Production System.  JI (Job Instruction) is the cornerstone for Standard Work.

When asked about TWI and its impact on TPS, Isao Kato, father of standardized work and kaizen training courses at Toyota, replied:

“The JI thinking is really critical and somewhat under-appreciated in TPS formulation. The capability to breakdown a job is fundamental in terms of helping create a standard for teaching others. It is much easier and smaller step than to create the three elements of Standardized Work (takt time, work sequence, and standard amounts of work-in-process) after JI is in place. Plus when you change takt time and move work around JI is the perfect vehicle to train people. For this reason I believe and I think that Mr. Ohno would agree that JI had by far the biggest impact on TPS formulation.”

Lean & TWI: Common Roots, Critical Connections

Toyota embraced TWI in 1951, trained employees using TWI during the development of the Toyota Production System in the 1960’s, and is using TWI to this day because it:

  • Indoctrinates employees into an “improvement” culture
  • Teaches people how to identify, communicate, and implement opportunities for improving their jobs
  • Creates motivation for people to maintain standard work

Since 2001, when TWI was reintroduced to the U.S. and integrated with Lean Manufacturing efforts, it has helped companies sustain the gains from Lean to create a true continuous improvement culture. With the essential skills gained through the TWI program, today’s supervisors:

  • Lead process improvement efforts
  • Communicate effectively, motivate others, and resolve disputes
  • Develop teams to involve their people
  • Quickly and effectively train new employees

Lean and TWI case study

When Nixon Gear, a manufacturer of high precision gears, found their Lean Manufacturing program had stalled, they turned to TWI to fill the gaps and get it back on track. View the video of interviews with Nixon Gear employees involved with the turnaround. Learn how they applied TWI and what expected and unexpected benefits were gained.