The TWI Programs -- Who Needs a Trainer?

Donald Dinero, author of two books on the topic of Training Within Industry (TWI) -- Training Within Industry: The Foundation of Lean and TWI Case Studies: Standard Work, Continuous Improvement, and Teamwork -- spoke at the recent TWI Summit in Florida. After his presentations, I mentioned to him in an email: "The TWI Programs appear to be very simple. Does one really need a trainer to start?" I decided to reprint his entire response here:

"Because the TWI programs are skill based, there never will be a 'how to' book for them. You can read and absorb as much as you want about the TWI programs but, as Walter Dietz says in Learn by Doing
, 'One must learn by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try it.' In my books, I've tried to pass on some of that knowledge from lessons learned by others. However, it cannot be emphasized too much that a short time spent with an experienced, competent trainer will save countless hours. You should know that the TWI programs will work for you no matter what organization you are part of. If you find that they do not work, it is because you are not using them properly. Back up, analyze the situation, and try again. When used correctly, they will yield benefits beyond what you have expected.

An experienced trainer is required if you want to be as good as you can as quickly as you can. Without a qualified trainer, you will experience much trial and error and may never achieve optimum results. As with learning any skill, there are many nuances that can cause one to succeed or fail. If these nuances were the same for everyone in every organization, they could be documented. Because every person is an individual and every organization has its own culture, we must rely on a knowledgeable person to coach us initially. The programs are standard and will apply to all organizations, but they must be implemented on an individual basis because each organization has its own culture."

Have any readers embraced the TWI programs within their organizations? Did you employ a trainer right from the start? What were the cultural hurdles?


Tom said...

I completely agree with Don on the need to learn from an experienced trainer.

I had been aware of the TWI programs for a few years but did not fully understand them until learning from Don. Two years and 300+ participants later I'm finally starting to "get it" (I think!).

The main hurdle that I've run in to is from people who are convinced that they're effective trainers and who insist that those who they've "trained" but don't perform the job properly are incompetent, lazy or deliberately screwing up. I've had to bite my tongue on more than one occasion.

John W. Davis said...

I agree. However, it goes even further. Many firms bring in a qualified trainer and after a round or two of essential training, decide they have enough knowledge to do things entirely on the their own. This can unfortunately result in being penny wise and pound foolish, and falling short of the intended goal.

Supply Chain said...
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