Rapid Skill Building for Vertical Recovery through TWI

Rapid Skill Building for Vertical Recovery through TWI

The World is facing an unprecedented crisis now. As KAIZEN™ practitioners, we always take challenges as opportunities for improvement. Necessity is the mother of invention and the Covid-19 situation has forced us to rethink our approach drastically. A similar crisis had occurred 80 years ago when the Second World War broke out. The industries in the US faced the severe crunch of skills (as all the existing skilled manpower was enlisted to fight in the war). Though the nature of COVID-19 pandemic is different from World War II still a challenge of skill scarcity remains the same.

Crises during World War II

  1. Untrained people (women were drafted into the workforce – and had limited prior manufacturing experience)
  2. Skilled people drafted in the military
  3. The productivity of industry is just as critical as efforts on the front to winning the war

Covid-19 crisis has some similarities in nature. Some challenges organisations may face irrespective of sectors and culture of an organisation are - 

Key Challenges after post-lockdown:

  1. Fewer multi-skilled people: people will need to be trained as per the company goals, targets, KPIs of the employee
  2. Migrant employees may not be available for a long time: existing employees will need to be trained in the place of people those are not available for a certain duration. Extra training, for skill development, would be needed
  3. Scarcity of resources (less manpower): this might make working hours to extend may be an hour daily to cope up with the situation
  4. Job insecurity between employees: this might need confirmation, assurance to the existing employees about their job security
  5. Training on social distancing, hygiene maintenance: for the safety of employees, offices could be redesigned considering social distancing, at workplace, lunch tables, pantries, and all over the office space
  6. Knack: As lockdown may have confined people to home and away from Gemba, the knack of the work might suffer. Productivity will be low until people are re-skilled.

This pandemic already forced workers to migrate and it may be a while before they return. Finding skilled manpower after reinstating will be a substantial pain.

Organisations must get the work done with existing resources. Even if the skilled workers are present post-lockdown challenges like social distancing will make the entire cell manufacturing different. We need to redesign the entire layout to consider social distancing. 

Work content likely to get increased, work balance must be redone so employees should be trained in different aspects.

Covid-19 has also enforced changes in the demand pattern of the customers in terms of demographics & product mix and supply chain has to be re-stitched accordingly. Hence it becomes inevitable to upgrade the skills of the existing workforce by multi-skilling. 

All this must be done in the shortest possible time because already the industries have lost 2 months of time and the customer cannot wait further. Building skills rapidly is one of the biggest challenges now.


Why reinvent the wheel? Let us adopt time-tested methodology Training Within Industry (TWI).

Three elements of a TWI are to make supervisor a trainer, mentor and leader are

  1. A trainer who trains subordinates.
  2. A mentor who extracts the potential of the subordinate. 
  3. A leader who resolves conflicts between subordinates.  

TWI was introduced by the US during World War II.  Experts were loaned from companies to form a TWI service in August 1940 by the US government. The task was given to the commission to build a program which should be

  • Simple
  • Usable
  • Standardized

The program must be prepared using the “Minimum amount of presentation time”.

The programs must be built on principles of demonstration or “Learning by doing.”

“J” Program is a three-Legged stool: where “J” programs are legs and Lean is a seat.

Job Instruction:

It teaches supervisors how to effectively train subordinates to perform their job. Job Instruction enables supervisors to develop well-trained workforce resulting in:

  • Less scrap and rework
  • Fewer accidents
  • Less tool and equipment damage


Job Methods

It teaches supervisors how to breakdown the job into small elements so they could improve the job. The biggest paradigm shift is “Any job can be improved.” 

“A practical plan to help you to produce a greater quantity of quality products in less time by making the best use of the Manpower, Machine & Materials now available.”

Job Relations

It teaches supervisors how to manage workforce before people problems interfere with production. It teaches leaders on how to build good relations with people, way to avert personal problems.

For Rapid Skill-building Training within Industry- Job Instruction is used. Job instruction is a pole apart from the traditional way of training. Only Telling and Showing is an ineffective way of training there is something beyond this. Generally, people get trained on “What to do?” Some trainers say, “How to do?” Job instruction says, “What to do?” “How to do?” and “Why to do?” it makes learning faster this also makes it easy for the learner to understand where he/she needs to focus. The follow up happens during a session and that makes this training distinctly different.

Job instruction works on no-blame which is one of the foundational KAIZEN™ Principles

The principle of “Learning by Doing” and demonstration following 4 simple steps:

Before the start of the training Supervisor should be ready with the following 4 elements:

1. Training timetable: Detail plan of Whom to train? On which job? By what date

2. Job Breakdown Sheet: It is the heart of Job instruction program. A brief checklist which supervisor carries during the demonstration which contains

  • Important step: What to do?
  • Key points: How to do?
  • Reason for key point: Why to do?

3. Get everything ready: Equipment, tools, materials, other supplies, and all PPEs.

4. Arrange the worksite: Neat and clean workplace as in actual working condition for the training so training will be effective.

This is the structured way of training employees on any manual skill. This method is adopted and used by KAIZEN™ Institute in

  • Manufacturing
  • Automobile
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Hospitals
  • Farms
  • Continuous process industries
  • Chemical industry
  • Sheet metal industries
  • Jewellery manufacturing
  • Footwear
  • Garment
  • Sanitary ware

In all the sectors method proved “IT’S NOT ABOUT WHOM YOU TRAIN. IT’S ABOUT HOW YOU TRAIN."

The typical impact was seen at the client’s place:

  • 86% Increased production by at least 25%
  • 100% reduced training time by 40% or more
  • 55% reduced scrap by at least 25%
  • 100% reduced grievances by more than 25%


Sourabh Satbhai, Senior Consultant at Kaizen Institute

About Kaizen Institute

Kaizen Institute is the original and premier provider of KAIZEN™ services of Change Management, Business Excellence, Operational Excellence and Lean.

We support companies of all sizes in all market segments, providing them with a sustainable, competitive advantage. Our Vision is Improving the world with Everyone, Everywhere, Every Day – The KAIZEN™ Way. “KAIZEN™ means Change for the better.”

Kaizen Institute is a global organization which provides consulting and training services to companies represented in Europe, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. We are currently operating in 60+ Countries for 35 years.

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