The Training Within Industry (TWI) Programs -- Are You Using Them Correctly?

An important new book by Donald Dinero just recently hit the streets titled The TWI Facilitator's Guide: How to Use the TWI Programs Successfully. In it, Don explains how practitioners of TWI (Training Within Industry) often alter the programs without understanding the underlying principles. These changes, he contends, have made the programs less effective. During a recent conversation with Don, I asked him specifically: "How have the TWI Programs been recently misused?" Here is his complete answer:

The TWI “J” Programs have many success stories -- those recorded both in the initial period of 1940-1945 and also in the contemporary period after they had been re-introduced. On the other hand, there have been instances in which the TWI Programs have not achieved their intended objectives giving people the idea that “TWI won’t work in our facility because we’re different.” If the TWI Programs are not yielding the intended results, they are not being used properly. Here are some ideas about how these programs are misused which subsequently leads to their being ineffective.

Each of the TWI Programs teaches a skill and each skill is learned for a specific purpose. Just in Time (JIT) teaches us how to transfer knowledge. Job Methods Training (JMT) teaches us how to see waste and improve a process. Job Relations Training (JRT) teaches us how to effectively prevent and deal with personnel issues. For a given program to be seen as useful, the problem that it addresses must first be identified, defined, and quantified. If this is not done, we won’t know whether or not we have achieved what we set out to achieve.

Another area of misuse is when people underestimate the effort and time required to master the skill necessary for the program’s proper use. Outwardly, each program is simple because it is represented by a four-step method. Many practitioners do not realize that it usually takes many hours to fully understand and get a “feel” for how to use each program. Attending a 10-hour session will introduce you to the concepts and methods of each program, but it takes many hours afterward to gain mastery of each program.

A third area of misuse is when practitioners attempt to change a program either to improve it or to have it fit a time schedule or some other parameter. The programs were designed to fit people’s needs and as those needs change, the founders believed the programs should also change. A key point here is that there are some principles in the programs that should not be changed unless society’s behavior changes. Ignoring these principles leads to their being ineffective.

What do you think of Don's thoughts on the misuse of the TWI programs? What have been your experiences when implementing TWI?