5S Required in Preparing for TWI Job Instruction

There are four "get ready" points when tackling problems with job Instruction Program...and 5S is a big part of the answer. Read on for my lessons learned...

The four get ready points are:
  1. Make a timetable
  2. Breakdown the job
  3. Have everything ready - the right tools, equipment, supplies and material
  4. Have everything properly arranged - just as the worker will be expected to keep it
In the Job Instruction program, participants learn about "how to make a timetable" by planning the training matrix and "how to breakdown the job" by writing a Job Breakdown Sheet. This covers the first two get ready points quite well. But what about the other two? Is it enough to simply tell the participants: "have everything ready and arranged"?

The simple answer is "no", it is not enough. In fact, I may be the first to tell you from experience that without these two get ready points fully thought through and acted on, your Job Instruction program is likely to fall flat on its face.

What does it mean to "have everything ready"? I learned the hard way on this one. On one particular job instruction target, we did all of our homework: good communication, everyone involved, all JBS were written and vetted, tools were in place, areas were cleaned up and organized, timetables in place. Once we had commenced training however, the problems began to set in.

What I have learned is that 5S goes beyond just tidying up the work area. Most of us know that 5S thinking is the key to a successful 5S program. What this means is questioning things like equipment and materials. For example: "do I have the right materials in place, in the right quantities?" By applying this first level of 5S thinking (stratification) to materials we can come to a conclusion about those materials state of "readiness". We can then find problems that prevent us from having a stable process in the first place. This is where Job Instruction fails and shines.

Job Instruction programs will fail if we fail to embrace 5S thinking. If we accept defective parts co-mingling in our raw materials, how should we expect our training to go? As planned? Hardly so. In fact, this is often the reason why many people say jobs can't be standardized. Because we don't question the thousands of details and problems at a basic 5S level, we often accept them as givens, therefore, our training must account for all of these variables. Bad materials, material shortages, or too many materials causing excessive handling all contribute to non-standardized processes that inhibit our ability to produce standardized training. The same can be said for equipment. Machine stops are not standardized, yet the occur and we accept them. Is this part of the standard training? No. Is the machine ready? No. In this sense, embracing TPM thinking and encouraging that behavior is an excellent way to "prepare for instruction". If we want a standardized, trouble-free process that is illustrated through world class hassle free training, then 5S and TPM is part of the JI preparation process.

This of course helps us highlight the problem of non-standardization itself. When we write a Job Breakdown Sheet, a well trained Lean practitioner can see these process problems. This is why JI is often used in Kaizen style sessions, where one Job Breakdown Sheet may produce one dozen Kaizen improvement opportunities. By implementing the solutions, the job can then be standardized.

Getting these improvements in place, seeing that they work and ensuring that the new standard doesn't backslide requires enormous effort. This back to basics approach also needs a systematic vehicle to ensure that it's use is reinforced everyday. This is why 5S, JI and other simple continuous improvement skills are best utilized in the hands of well training supervisors. It is also why a JI follow up guide and session was planned as time went on: people using the system realized that their people required ongoing leadership for any continuous improvement program.

These TWI WWII guys were way ahead of their time! Or are we just way behind?!

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At October 9, 2008 at 1:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both! They WERE way ahead - and, unfortunately, we are way behind.


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