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Training within Industry

The Meaning of Training within Industry (TWI) in the 2020s.

Training within Industry (TWI) has been around since the 1940s. Some things are outdated, but the idea is still relevant in the 2020s - Let's dig deeper!

3 minutes read
Published on 29 April 2019 Updated on 20 April 2023

Training within Industry (TWI) = practical hands-on learning while working. 

...or more elaborately, according to the TWI Institute

what is twi


In this article, we'll explore 5 elements of TWI that are still very relevant today:

  1. Standardization
  2. Collaboration
  3. Structure
  4. Accessibility
  5. Continuous improvement

The Training Within Industry (TWI) methodology was created in the 1940s to train the massive amount of new workers needed to sustain the US war effort during World War II.

TWI still impacts the world of manufacturing today thanks to the comprehensive system to standardize the elements of training.

training within industry (1)☝️ PS. Did you know that TPM, Kaizen, and many other Lean philosophies are based on the original principles of TWI?


01. Standardization.

We all want to make manufacturing processes smarter, faster, and more productive. The best and the brightest in the business know that in order to achieve success in such a complex industry, work must be standardized.

Standard Work impacts all elements of the manufacturing supply chain by ensuring the consistent quality of the product and the efficiency of the individual worker. A lack of standardization frequently results in:

  • High operational costs: Unplanned downtime and longer changeover times, both caused by non-standard work, are incredibly expensive.
  • Difficult training: Outdated or incorrect information can result in ineffective, costly, and frustrating learning experiences for workers.
  • Increase in product defects: Sub-par training and inconsistent processes lead to more mistakes on the shop floor.

As manufacturing processes become faster, more complex, and increasingly digitized, learning on the shop floor needs to facilitate standard work and keep pace with the new world of industry 4.0.


02. Collaboration.  

Training Within Industry pairs one student with an expert. The idea is that individual time and attention is paramount in the learning process because it allows learners to receive individualized mentorship and feedback while also performing a task in parallel.

Sounds great BUT....

  • Today, factory teams are struggling with limited time and resources.
  • Usually, senior experts cannot give this individual attention to all trainees.
  • Roles for factory team members are becoming more and more complex.

Collaboration is still important, but in a modern and digital way: 

  • Frontline team members can be involved in shaping processes together.
  • Digital on-the-job training and onboarding reduces training time and cost. 
  • Team members can collaborate on creating, sharing, and improving best practices across teams, lines, and even sites. 

03. Structure.  

Many say that content is king.

However, research shows that a great structure is the real king for a positive and successful learning experience.

Think about the following structure elements when creating training materials like including work instructions and SOPs: 

  • Taxonomy: use logical instructional design templates.
  • Clarity: focus on the task at hand (aka don't describe the machine).
  • Action: use action-oriented words ("press", "use", "turn knob to the left"...)
  • Split it up: Step-by-step makes it easier to perform tasks.
  • Visual: Always use visuals to explain the step. 

04. Accessibility.

In addition to optimizing the structure and process of instruction, TWI provides learners with the essential information necessary to complete a task successfully.

Great instructions made in accordance with TWI should: 

  • Be consistent and easy to understand.
  • Be easy to access at the moment of need. 
  • Make it as easy as possible to complete the task. 
  • Outline the necessary materials needed.
  • Mention the time needed to complete any task. 
  • Lay out safety hazards related to the task. 
  • NOT be "information overload". 


05. Continuous improvement.

TWI programs are designed to continually make processes more effective and efficient. Just like the Kaizen philosophy, Training Within Industry demands the continuous re-examination of processes and procedures.


Why is continuous improvement important in TWI? 

  • Fosters a work environment that values the opinions of the workforce.
  • Motivates and engages employees. 
  • Works to actively implement new ideas and improvements.
  • Knowledge is democratized to optimize all aspects of operations. 

☝️  Remember:  Don't get stuck in the past.



Want to learn more?

👉 What is a SOP?
👉 How to create smooth frontline training programs.
👉 Inspirational Kaizen Quotes to Motivate Your Team.

Kaizen quotes

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Chris loves to share his expertise on future-proof work instruction software for frontline teams in manufacturing. Particularly, how digital, visual work instructions can make a lasting impact on motivation, productivity, and operational excellence culture.

Published on 29 April 2019