TWI Materials in Japan - Day 4 in WRHS

In the last post, I mentioned that in 1964, Mellen sold the business off to Robert Murphy who continued practicing under the TWI, Inc. name. Mellen signed a 5 year contract to not work under the TWI, Inc. name. Today, I found it very funny to see TWI, Inc. documents in 1966, 1968 and 1970 - many of them with Mellen's name. I dug a little deeper and found that Mellen had formed a new company called Trade Ways International where he primarily engaged in brokering materials for a number of Japanese companies based in the states.

In the late sixties, Mellen had yet another bid on some training intallations with the U.S. Governement. He dusted off the old Management Fundamentals training he used in Japan and pitched his TWI proposal but was turned down due to an incumbent consulting agency.

I also found the "Final Report on the Japanese Installation" after 1951. Earlier in the week, I mentioned that TWI, Inc. had won the 1956 contract and had mentioned that someone had brought TWI to Japan in 1951. This document confirms that it was his firm. However, he does mention in this report that JIT was in Japan prior to 1951. I will do a little further digging to see if that installation was through Mellen's firm or not.

Also discovered today were some more TWI Foundation materials. It turns out that the the Foundation was non-profit and its officers were the original "Four Horsemen": Channing Dooley, Walter Dietz, Mike Kane and Bill Conover. The Foundation was funded through member companies and a letter from the "Institute Del Peru TWI", where the author was requesting Institute training from the Foundation, revealed that the Foundation had stopped conducting public institutes at some point in the past. This was in the late 1960's. The letter doesn't indicate whether the Foundation had stopped conducting institutes with its member companies.

Speaking of the Four Horsemen, the famous "Four Horsemen" letter was found today. If you don't know what this is, it was a letter to all District Directors and Representatives that shifted the strategy of the TWI Service from that of a training clearing house to that of ensuring continuing, thorough use. For example, one guding statement that established the goal criteria for the District Offices was this: "we should not be satisfied until every last job in a plant has been broken down through Job Methods and improved." So, the Districts slowed the pace of Institutes and began to create "Follow-Through" plans for the remaining year or so of the TWI Service. This ensured that the Service was looking at Quality, not Quantity of the end results acheived through TWI. I am having copies of the Follow-Through plan copied.

Of certain interest is the notion that TWI "died" after the war. Mellen landed his first private contract in May 1945, four months prior to the decommission of the service. He had another three or four contracts in negotiations with local Ohio companies. There are several sources in this collection that illustrate how people of the time wondered aloud regarding the future of TWI. Some consultants thought that industry was too used to being "regimented" by the TWI Service and would reject the services once the governement was removed from the picture. Judging from the 100-200 clients I found referenced in this collection, from Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, Israel, and the United States - just to name a few countries, TWI, Inc. and TWI Foundation kept it alive and well.

I mentioned yesterday how Robert Murphy created a self study manual for JIT. I am having this copied as it is a great illustration of how NOT to do JIT. After he had purchased TWI, Inc. from Mellen, he had sent the check for $650 with the attached handwritten note:


Check for $650 enclosed. Also enclosed is a copy of the first in a series of mailings intended to get us into the business of printing, publishing and selling materials for companies and individuals to use when they want to do their own training. This should be a good field if we handle it properly."

I can't prove it, but here is one reason why TWI faded away. The objective (as stated in the materials) of TWI was to solve production problems. This is normally done by having a consultant come in and provide some answers for you. The approach taken by TWI was "the exact opposite". TWI, Inc. aimed to train your supervisors to be "their own consultants". In the case of Murphy's TWI mailing, the problem he was trying to solve was to get into the printing, publishing and selling of self-study training materials.

I could go on about all of the fundamental concepts missing from Murphy's JIT mailer, but that will be for another day. In the meantime, the lesson learned here is TWI works because it is simple - don't complicate a simple process that works.

The only disappointment was that I a projector was not available to watch the 16mm film in this collection. Much to my wife's dismay, this gives me an excuse to go back. Sorry, Meg!



At March 15, 2008 at 2:28 PM , Blogger Islands Innovation said...

Some great finds! Let me know if I can help with scanning.

We have a page-feed bulk scanners, so its quick and easy. If you want to block an afternoon next week and hammer it out...we can spread out in a classroom, and the scanners right there.

So now its on to National Archives to look at TWI Foundation stuff?



Post a Comment

Your involvement is essential to ongoing evolution of the leadership community.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home