The Training Within Industry (TWI) service was created by the United States Department of War, running from 1940 to 1945 within the War Manpower Commission. The purpose was to provide consulting services to war-related industries whose personnel were being conscripted into the US Army at the same time the War Department was issuing orders for additional matériel. It was apparent that the shortage of trained and skilled personnel at precisely the time they were needed most would impose a hardship on those industries, and that only improved methods of job training would address the shortfall . By the end of World War II, over 1.6 million workers in over 16,500 plants had received a certification.
The four training programs developed by TWI were developed in an emergency situation by experts on loan from private industry. Because of the intensity of the situation, a large number of experimental methods were tried and discarded. This resulted in a distilled, concentrated set of programs.
The TWI trainers had to be invited to a factory in order to present their material. In order to market the service, they developed the Five Needs of the Supervisor: every supervisor needs to have Knowledge of the Work, Knowledge of Responsibility, Skill in Instructing, Skill in Improving Methods, and Skill in Leading. Each program was based on Charles Allen's 4-point method of Preparation, Presentation, Application, and Testing.
The four programs were:
There was also a short-lived course that taught union personnel to work effectively with management.
Although the TWI program funding for application of the programs in the USA by the government ended in 1945, The US government did fund the introduction to the war-torn nations of Europe and Asia. Several private groups continued to provide TWI in the US and abroad. The '4 Horesmen' continued the development of the 'J' programs by establishing the TWI Foundation. This group was responsible for continuing the spread of TWI throughout Europe and Asia. The Director of one of the district offices established TWI, Inc., and was hired by the US Government to provide TWI training in Japan. It was especially well-received in Japan, where TWI formed the basis of the kaizen culture in industry. Kaizen, known by such names as Quality Circles in the West, was successfully harnessed by Toyota Motor Corporation in conjunction with the Lean or Just In Time principles of Taiichi Ohno. In fact, in the Foreword to Dinero's book "Training Within Industry" (2005), John Shook relates a story in which a Toyota trainer brought out an old copy of a TWI service manual to prove to him that American workers at NUMMI could be taught using the "Japanese" methods used at Toyota. Thus, TWI was the forerunner of what is today regarded as a Japanese creation.
TWI had a direct impact on the development and use of kaizen and Standard Work at Toyota. These fundamental elements are embedded within the functional system at Toyota and Job Instruction is taught and used within Toyota today. The kaizen methodology is a direct descendant of Job Methods, and most likely Job Relations had an impact on the development and function of the Team and Group Leader structure in Toyota.
Many of the points above should look familiar to students of W. Edwards Deming: the PDCA style of the training programs, the JI litany about failure being on the shoulders of the instructor, and even the JI and JM methods themselves. Deming lectures frequently included statements similar to the JR slogan, "People Must Be Treated As Individuals."
In Dinero's introduction he goes as far as saying that one of the key differences between more & less successful Lean Projects was their focus on the "people element" during implementation.
One theory for the disappearance of TWI within the U.S. after the war is the simple fact that North American industry faced little serious competition in 1945. With no competition to an efficient industry, few saw the need to continue to improve. At the same time, foreign industries had been decimated. The defeated countries needed to establish new industry but to reject the old culture. For that purpose, TWI trainers were brought to Europe by the occupying forces there, and to Japan by MacArthur during the occupation.