TWI (Training Within Industry) a Brief Introduction

Lean Manufacturing has a long and rich history. TWI is thought by many to be an important foundational and formative part of what we now commonly call Lean. We consider the investment in your supervisor’s skills (which is a primary focus of TWI) as a complimentary, even critical step in creating and promoting a Lean Culture of Continuous Improvement.

Twenty years ago the Work In America Institute (WIA), an agency commissioned under the Jimmy Carter presidency, conducted a research study on “New Roles for Supervisors.” Part III of that 1989 report listed the role of the “new breed” of supervisor as a:

  • Trainer
  • Coach
  • Leader
  • The research was based on extensive case study applications at Kodak, Ford, LTV Steel, and Martin Marietta. Quoting directly from that report, “A new breed of managers is emerging in America.” This new breed has discovered and applied a form of management which is responsive to the changing nature of the workforce and to the pressures of competition. This is a social invention of such significance that it cannot be ignored by any organization interested in its own long-term survival and growth.”The WIA definition of manager corresponds nicely with the Training Within Industry (TWI) definition of a supervisor: anyone who directs the work of others and who is responsible for their performance.”

    The three TWI programs develop the skills of a supervisor to be able to be a very good:

  • Trainer –> Job Instruction
  • Coach –> Job Methods
  • Leader –> Job Relations
  • Job Relations

    Enables supervisors to become good leaders by teaching them a) how to avoid personnel problems by building a “foundation for good relations” with all employees and b) how to deal positively with personnel problems by “treating every person as an individual.”

    Job Instruction

    Enables supervisors to become good trainers by teaching them “how to get a person to quickly remember to do a job correctly, safely, and conscientiously.” The supervisor IS the trainer of his/her employees, NOT the training department.

    Job Methods

    Enables supervisors to become good coaches by teaching them “a practical plan to help produce greater quantities of quality products in less time by making the best use of the people, machines, and materials now available.” Basically, in Job Methods the supervisor becomes the industrial engineering coach in the operations, working with his/her people to help them improve each job by eliminating, combining, rearranging or simplifying work methods.


    It’s very rewarding to work with supervisors as they participate and learn in these 3 TWI programs. You can see by the expression on their faces that they are learning things important to their current jobs. Supervisors often say they wish they had this training 20 – 30 years ago when they were starting their careers as supervisors. The case study work they bring into class is also very interesting. It’s real situations they are in on almost a daily basis. All supervisors report this training helps them do a better job as trainer, coach, and leader.

    To read articles and see outlines for our TWI Programs please click any of the following links: