TWI - Job Methods in Air Force News

See the link below for the full story. Air Force continues to press on with continuous improvement.


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Job Instruction In Daily Life

In Job Instruction we learn that when instructing another person - "telling alone is not enough". How many times do you tell somebody to do something, only to find it not done right?

This person shopping for a decorated cake could have used JI, but then we wouldn't have the Cake Wrecks blog. Take a look.



Workforce training and education problems

Link to article on national workforce and education problems - http://www.workforce.com/section/11/feature/25/70/56/index.html

The keypoint in this article is "inertia", particularly the political type. This is why TWI thinking is so important for industry. Industry alone can fix its problems, yes even education if we set our mind to it. C'mon folks. When Dollar General has trouble hiring people for retail stores, we have a horrific national education problem.

Given the fact that "middle-skills" are in higher demand in the coming years, industry can see an easy partnership with vocational high schools and technical colleges. By prepping students and conditioning them for the different world of industry, new employees can be better prepared, overall costs can be reduced over the long term.

We CAN wait around for the government to do something. Will we like the result? When the government stops long enough to get off their hands, the only thing we will see is more political back-biting and finger pointing. Industry can't control the current situation, but it can adapt to it.

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TWI Article on ThomasNet

A nice article with direct links to TWI Service manuals. Link to this article here:


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Improving HR - Here is a unique benefit!

Given the fact this blog does occasionally deal with the topic of training...;) I find myself sometimes reading through other blogs on the same topic. If you haven't been there already, go to Workforce.com for a huge list of HR related blogs. One blogger in particular, John Hollon, brings up all sorts of entertaining and sometimes touchy, if not controversial, subjects. Here is a good one about faith based counseling being offered as a voluntary benefit!


I think the company should be applauded for this move. It's bold in these times, which I think most people respect, especially given these politically correct sensitive times we are in. Not only that, it follows a holistic (sorry, couldn't help myself) approach to the business, a move that is not unLean at all. With continuous improvement, we are always looking for ways to improve everything about our situation. This looks like an extension of that thinking.

Some people will criticize the company for making this move, I suspect mostly from the atheist camp. That is understandable. But on the other hand, what is the harm in this, especially since it a voluntary benefit? If those that do believe they are happier and healthier because of this benefit are actually happier and healthier as people and are more productive as employees, who cares? Is this a big deal?



TWI Original Bulletin Series

Follow this link to the updated TWI Service page: TWI Bulletins

Here you can find the original bulletin series. The entire government printed collection can be found in the hardbound version of the TWI Service Materials, published in 1945.

Of course, some of the bulletins are wildly out of date regarding the wording and culture. The upshot is that it is an accurate representation of the times. From a management history perspective, there is some timeless material here and some is more relevant today - especially when we consider the desperate need for standardization and improvement by each and every person in the organization.

The bottom line though is that these bulletins were issued to District Representatives, which were then copied and passed onto local companies. These bulletins represent much of the context of the TWI J-programs. If you are a TWI trainer, reading these will reveal some of the strategy and thinking that is underlying the TWI program contained within the J - programs

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Lean Jargon - the 3G's in English

Frequent readers of the TWI Blog may recall a serial rant I made on Lean Jargon some time ago. Subjects of those series were the three G's or three gens: genba, genbutsu and genjitsu.

If you find that the Japanese words are not helpful in getting people to remember the three G's - try and use these 3Gs in english:

Genba - Go to the workplace
Genbutsu - Get the facts
Genjitsu - Grasp the situation

It isn't exact translations, but these 3Gs are fundamentally the same. Hope this helps!



Lean Product Design

I've been doing some 5S audits lately so I'm fairly sensitive to detail. I knew I was in trouble while at the gas station, the design of gas cap cover caught my eye. Here is what I saw:

What do you see? What wastes can you see here? Are there hidden wastes? I'd like to get some comments on this.

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Concluding Follow-Up to Genba vs. Gemba?

I've spent a good amount of time with my teacher this week and I asked him about the Genba vs. Gemba question. Which is it?

He told me that "they are the same." Basically, because the "n" & "m" are indistinguishable in writing, they are the same. However, sometimes he told me that he would hear genba and then other times he would hear gemba.

Essentially, they mean the same thing and he told me that the only proof I would ever have is if I went to Japan and listened to Japanese managers talk! He did say that the same problem sometimes applies to genbutsu vs. gembutsu, etc.

In the meantime, you say tomato and I'll say tomato! Either way, it means "actual place".


Follow Up to "Genba or Gemba?"

Here are some additional book sources (in italics) that use the word genba vs. gemba. My comments follow each listing.

The New Shop Floor Management. by Suzaki. (Genba Kanri is the reference here.)

Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management, by Taichii Ohno. (Originally published under the title as OHNO TAIICHI NO GENBA KEIEI. For some reason, the rest of the book uses the word gemba. I wonder if the reason for this is that the publisher's name is Gemba Press? I'm not sure.)

Design Team Revolution, by Sekine, Kenichi & Arai, Keisuke. (The authors describe in some detail the "sangen concept" or the "three gen’s" – genba, genbutsu, genjitsu on Pgs. 129-130)

The Evolution of a Manufacturing System at Toyota, Fujimoto. (Fujimoto uses the term genba)



Genba or Gemba?

Lots of posts recently on 5S and genba. A reader asked, "Why do you say genba instead of gemba?"

Actually I prefer to say "shop floor" or "office" or "in the shop", but that isn't all that catchy is it? :)

I have heard it both ways and have seen it written both ways as well. In particluar, the most recent Taiichi Ohno book, Workplace Management, uses "gen" with some explanation. If you are interested, Ohno does more wordplay and explanation of such in that book with other TPS words. Whether it is right or wrong, most people mean: "where the work is done", or "where the real thing happens."

A literal translation of genba means "actual place." This is provided via alta vista babel fish. The kanji I used comes from Wikipedia, where an interesting source for genba is found in Japanese Hip Hop (go figure).

I don't speak Japanese, so I'm no expert, but one can see a pattern in other similar words: genchi, genbutsu, genshou, etc. All of these are meaning to deal with "actuals" or "realities". I have some other posts on literal translations of Japanese lean words if you are interested. Here is one that starts with genba.


Most of my sources have come from books on Toyota, Japanese-English dictionaries and Asian contacts. Unfortunately, I haven't seen kanji for "gem" so I can't comment on literal translation provided by third party sources. With all of that said, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that gem and gen mean the same thing.



5S Standards in the Genba

If you had to tell me what the top priorities for an airline are...what would you say? Safety, of course. But that isn't my observation for today...

What about ontime? Given this highly valued measure of operational performance you would expect time to be of high priority in an airport, right?

So there I was, not quite awake, waiting for my plane this morning. It was 5:30 a.m.

Or was it? I had glanced at my watch at the coffee stand about 5 minutes ago and it was 5:30 ...seemed lik an eternity ago. What gives?!

I glanced at my watch for a double check...5:40. I'm too tired to be this confused...

O.k., triple check: I glance at another airport clock across the terminal...

Aggh! It's 5:50! Should I be boarding now? My flight leaves at 6:00! Was there a gate change? Why is everyone sitting around! I'm awake! I'm awake!

I did a triple check on my trusty Blackberry, a.k.a. Ol' Reliable. It was a 5:40 a.m. Pretty scary that a passenger's time is more accurate than the airports. I could relax for the time being.

I almost laughed out loud when I saw this passenger setting his watch to the airport time. If he could just turn around and look over his shoulder!

And so it goes in the factory. If information is said to be crucial, sacred, value added, or whatever management speak you would like to characterize it as...then it should be treated that way. What sort of message does this send to passengers?

When we ask people who work on the shop floor to become empowered, we need to support them in that by designing and maintaining good systems. Tens of thousands of little decisions are made in the genba everyday. How many of them are clear and easy to understand?

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