Posted by: Knightbird | May 23, 2010

Chugachmiut and Training Within Industry

A couple of years ago, we realized that continuously developing the skills of our employees would be critical for our success in sustaining Chugachmiut’s Lean Initiative. I asked our HR Manager if she and our Lean Champion would explore a training methodology for teaching our employees the core skills that they would need to be competent at in order to be successful as an employee. They convened a team to explore the issue. After surveying employees about their needs, a plan was put together. Unfortunately, I had not clearly stated my expectations, and we had to redo some of the work. I steered the team towards Training Within Industry (TWI), and as a result we developed and implemented our Employee Core Competency Training Program.

Wanting to know more about TWI, I brought 2 of my staff to the 2009 TWI Summit in Mason, Ohio. Were we ever impressed with the results reported by the presenters. One memorable report was the use of Job Instruction (JI) by the Virginia Mason Medical Center to teach hand washing. It was estimated that 30,000 deaths occurred in hospitals in the United States from infection caused by failure to wash hands properly. Virginia Mason’s commitment to their patients makes hand washing a high priority. Another impressive result was achieved by Marvin Doors and Windows. JI reduced their new employee training time from 120 to 60 hours, and improved employee retention of the new skills from slightly under 75% to over 99%.

During the 2010 TWI Summit held May 11-14, 2010 in Henderson, NV, we sent a team of 5 employees to become certified in 3 TWI disciplines-JI (2 employees including myself), Job Relations (1 employee) and Job Methods (2 employees). Terry Cox, Senior Business Advisor with Dakota MEP trained me in JI and did a wonderful job. After instructing us on how to do a proper Job Breakdown Sheet (JBS), we were taught how to present to one of our fellow trainees. My JBS covered Chugachmiut’s Travel Request. Using the JI method, my victim was able to perform flawlessly after instruction.

JI and employee development are critical to advancing Lean Management at Chugachmiut, and I encourage anyone interested in Lean to explore TWI. A couple of outstanding web sites provide valuable information, including the TWI Institute ( and the Training Within Industry Service (

It was interesting for me to note that TWI was developed by the United States Government during World War I, but not utilized until we entered World War II. TWI was responsible for the huge productivity gains required for the war effort. THe use of TWI was not continued or taught to American Industry after the War. Fortunately, Toyota found the method and incorporated it into their Production System. TWI is gradually being reintroduced to the United States by a dedicated cadre of researchers and consultants. After sitting through 2 TWI Summits with many of these dedicated consultants, I have become as passionate advocate of TWI as they are. But I certainly have nothing approaching their knowledge. However, TWI is very user friendly and I have no doubt it will be effective at Chugachmiut.

By the way, Rosie the Riveter was probably trained using JI. I hope you enjoy the materials and are inspired to check TWI out.

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