TWI Summit to Help Redeploy the Long Forgotten Training Within Industry Program

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Toyota has it figured out, why can't U.S. manufacturers sustain gains or achieve standard work as part of the lean programs? A growing number of manufacturing executives now realize that TWI (Training Within Industry) is likely a large part of the answer. The U.S. government gave the TWI program to Japan during post World War II rebuilding. Toyota uses it to this day.

The Training Within Industry (TWI) movement received a boost today as officials announced the first annual TWI Summit ( The summit has been scheduled for June 5-6, 2007, and will be held at Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort. The summit is being organized by Lean Summits, LLC owned and operated by James R. Huntzinger and Dwayne A. Butcher, organizers of the annual Lean Accounting Summit. The Syracuse, New York-based TWI Institute serves as the summit's title sponsor.

Huntzinger explains the summit's purpose, "We're organizing the summit to support the growing number of companies interested in TWI and to get the word out to those not familiar with the program. There is a growing tide of companies adopting TWI as part of the lean initiatives. The Summit will be a dynamic gathering for them."

Describing the TWI Institute's involvement, Huntzinger explains, "Having the Institute's involvement is huge. It allows us to tap into their deep resources and knowledge. It will help us put on the best conference possible. We couldn't be happier to have their input in our planning."

Butcher describes the conference as a gathering of lean enterprise and TWI thought-leaders sharing their insights. "We'll have general sessions from well-known individuals along with breakout sessions from which attendees can pick and chose. Like the Lean Accounting Summit, our aim is to make this a cutting-edge, thought-provoking event." Butcher wouldn't release keynote presenter names until firm confirmations are made, but he indicated negotiations are nearly finished and announcements will soon follow.

In addition to general and breakout sessions, Butcher said that several case studies will be offered. "The good news is that we have a number of companies that have successfully integrated TWI into their lean programs and they have data showing the positive impact. We look forward to highlighting what these companies have done."

Bob Wrona of CNYTDO has been a key figure in researching and spreading the word of TWI's value. His interest in TWI led to a partnership with Patrick Graupp, North America's original TWI Master Trainer. Having been trained in Japan, and with over 20 years experience delivering TWI for Sanyo throughout the world, Graupp and Wrona spearheaded the effort for CNYTDO to develop a curriculum that is now being delivered across North America by the 100 plus TWI trainers that have been trained and certified by CNYTDO.

Wrona explains the TWI Institute's role in the TWI movement, "We want to keep pure the quality and original intent of the program. We'll do this through a rigorous certification process." Wrona explains that TWI trainers will be certified only when instructed by a certified Master Trainer and have demonstrated the ability to deliver each the program as taught by the Master Trainer.

To date, there are only two Master Trainers in the U.S., Graupp and Richard Abercrombie, but Wrona has candidates in place to grow those numbers. "The TWI Summit could very well be the tipping point in this emerging movement. A large team of trainers and Master Trainers will be required to see this redeployed on a large scale. We're preparing to do just that."

About the TWI Program

Training Within Industry was formed during World War II to train replacements for a workforce being sent to fight the war. The program was designed to quickly and consistently train workers. TWI was largely credited for winning the war as we simply out-produced the enemy, allowing the U.S. to build a large fleet of tanks, planes, ships, and munitions.

After the war, TWI was introduced to the Japanese during reconstruction efforts. TWI exists in many Japanese companies to this day, sometimes under different names. According to an interview with Isao Kato, who spent 35 years in a variety of management positions at Toyota, TWI is a crucial element to the Toyota Production System, helping shape many of Toyota's practices and culture. Kato explains in an interview with Art Smalley on that "JR was well received and remains almost intact to this day as a training course. JI remains in Toyota today in a virtually unchanged fashion from the original."

There are many theories as to why the U.S. dropped the program after the war. Some explain that it is likely that the workforce returning from battle had not been trained in TWI. In addition, the need to supply the war effort was gone.

Why manufacturers are flocking back to TWI

U.S. manufacturers have spent the past 20 years implementing lean manufacturing programs, trying to emulate Toyota's success. These initiatives have been proven to gain improvements and eliminate waste, but a track record of gains being lost is an increasing concern among executives. With recent research into TWI's use within Toyota, many are concluding that the proven methodology of TWI is one of the fundamental reasons Toyota is able to sustain gains and how they achieve the holy grail of standard work.

About Lean Summits, LLC

Huntzinger and Butcher formed Lean Summits, LLC to plan and deliver the TWI Summit. The company is based in Fishers, IN. The pair also plans and delivers the Lean Accounting Summit ( as part of Lean Accounting Summit, LLC. Both companies and summits were developed out of extensive research by Huntzinger. This research led Huntzinger to a network of thought-leaders in both the TWI and lean accounting circles. He partnered with Butcher to bring together these networks and to draw an audience to learn from them.

Huntzinger has spent the past 20 years in lean manufacturing consulting and research. He is author of many articles on the history of lean, Henry Ford, the Toyota Production System, and related topics. He has two books scheduled for a 2007 release -- "Lean Cost Management: Accounting for Lean by Establishing Flow" and "Lean Accounting: Best Practices for Integration."

Butcher has 20 years of experience in marketing, workplace learning and performance and technology. He has spent much of his career researching and testing cutting-edge business-to-business marketing tactics in a world growing more virtual and less physical.

About the TWI Institute

Central New York Technology Development Organization (CNYTDO) created the institute to oversee the redeployment of TWI throughout industry.


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