TWI - New Zealand Program Evolution & Toyota Discoveries
Digging a little deeper in the first sections of the New Zealand Appreciation, Operating and Follow-Up programs the past days...there are some interesting discoveries to discuss.
A little background may be in order: as stated in previous posts, the New Zealand TWI group honed their skills over 30 years - far longer than the TWI Institutes of World War II. They also had some pretty good exposure, er, influence over a heavy Lean hitter. Mark reported back to me that the New Zealand group, later called ITS, or Industrial Training Service, contracted with Toyota NZ operations to deliver TWI programs. This occurred over some 45 sessions during the early to mid 1980s. More roots to dig into! Here is an article link about the Toyota NZ TWI installation.
I digress. The point is, ITS had lots of experience, arguably far more experience than the WWII TWI team, especially when looking at their program development over the years. Here are a few things that were codified in their JI program:
First, Job Instruction training improves communication. My experience is that the JI skill is an excellent way of clearly communicating with people. What is interesting to me is that ITS states that their JI program aims to improve communication and training. This is the first time I’ve seen anyone claim that the aim of JI is to improve communication, especially over the training objective. Most trainers in the U.S. will claim better communication is an output, or result of training - not the primary aim. Perhaps the ITS team did not mean it that way, but judging from the 240 pages of materials in this book, I think they may have discovered something and shifted the focus on the JI program:
|Form #103/1, from New Zealand ITS, TWI Appreciation, Organizing and Follow Up, ed. Mark Warren|
This makes me wonder, why do I often hear from others that communication is a problem in companies? (data) I thought we had this one figured out? Obviously, not. So, we need to relearn how to communicate. There are many ways, TWI JI skills being one way. Are there patterns in the art of communication that we are missing that, if found and used, could make communication better? Is communication an art? Have we forgotten about the science behind communication, or are we all better served to leave the talking to those born with the gift? Would your team benefit if individuals could learn how to communicate better? Do you have any ideas about how JI skills could improve communication? What is your experience?
The second discovery is how ITS “sold” TWI programs to organizations. They called it “The “Problem Approach”. I think almost all companies today try to sell something to customers that they think they need. You don’t sell a car to somebody, you sell status. Or reliability. Or style. Or all of the above, but you aren’t selling them just a car. In the case of ITS, they used “The Problem Approach” to sell management on the proven results obtained by people using TWI skills. The ITS group really embraced the model setup during the war, which was never really codified as the war ended. ITS seems to have figured out that is how to get around some of the objections to installing what could be perceived as yet another training program.
|Form #301 from New Zealand ITS, TWI Appreciation, Organizing and Follow Up, ed. Mark Warren.|
What results have you realized using TWI skills? Do you feel they could be used to sell the continuing use of the program, or the spread of the program to other parts of the organization? What best practices could you share that help demonstrate benefits of TWI skills that go beyond training? Have you found that people communicate, cooperate and collaborate better when taking a different approach than what we have learned about TWI already?