TWI Job Instruction helps connect the written work standard with the actual practice on the shop floor and teaches the technique of delivering effective on-the-job training that ensures people reliably perform a task exactly the way it should be done to get consistently good results.

TWI Job Instruction is a key ingredient for successful operations excellence or lean program. If people play a significant role in your processes, you will probably need to invest a lot of effort and resources on standardising the methods of how work is done, if you want your process improvement work to progress at speed and deliver results.

Most lean initiatives involve a lot of talk about the need to standardise work methods. Lean leaders realise that without ‘standardisation in place’, improvement won’t stick. Without standardisation, the new method you have just developed with your Kaizen team is just one of many, many ways of building your product or delivering your service.

Without standardisation your process will deliver big variation in quality, output and time.

Therefore, standardisation is not just one of the things we ‘do’ as we strive for operations excellence. Rather, it should be the heart of our our operations excellence practice, the driver of improvement - not just the end result.

But despite knowing that standardisation is critical, leaders often struggle to do standardisation for real.

Are we not doing enough for standardisation as it is?

Thanks to ISO and other certification requirements, most businesses have work standards for their main processes defined on paper, including quality control plans, safety procedures, SOPs and work instructions.

But what we say we do and what actually happens on the process often does not quite match up. In many processes, people are still one of the most critical inputs. If you look at the detail in the Gemba, you will find plenty of differences in the way they do the work across shifts, lines and individuals.

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Variation in the way the work is done translates directly into output variation and mistakes. Squeezing method variation is therefore, arguably, the most important thing operations leaders can do to create stable, predictable process performance.

How can we bridge this gap?

Generally, work method variation can be traced back to faulty on-the-job training and follow-up: training content might not be specified enough, too complex or delivered poorly. Follow-up is difficult or not done. This automatically leads to method variation on the process and affects outcomes.

Therefore, if we want to standardise work methods, we need to improve the way we train and follow up on the training.

We need a simple and reliable training system.