Training Within Industry (TWI)

Training Within Industry (TWI) is a work experience program that teaches frontline managers effective techniques for managing people and processes. Initially developed during World War II, Training Within Industry has evolved beyond the factory floor. Today, TWI represents a critical building block for a sustainable Lean practice and aims to create a skilled workforce, boost productivity, and achieve standard work.

Twi Promo 3 Courses

What Is Training Within Industry?

TWI, or Training Within Industry, focuses on building on frontline leaders’ existing experience by teaching them a systematic process for improving the skill level of their direct report.

The program operates under the logic that effective leaders are determined by a combination of knowledge and skill—that said, TWI only focuses on skills. TWI was designed for experienced employees with deep knowledge of the work, processes, and scope of their responsibilities to help them develop the skills needed to effectively lead their team.

Training Within Industry Definition

TWI is a dynamic program that teaches essential leadership skills to team leads, supervisors, and managers through hands-on learning and practice.

The program breaks down into three managerial skills that play a critical role in frontline managers and supervisors’ work, outlined below:

1) Training Within Industry Job Instruction

Job Instruction (JI) is the first installment in the TWI training series; it focuses on getting employees fully trained and contributing to top-line goals in the shortest amount of time, while also preventing the problems that can arise from receiving poor instruction.

JI establishes a single best method for doing a job and allows a trainer to quickly transfer knowledge to a learner while verifying comprehension using a simple four-step method.

2) Training Within Industry Job Relations

Where JI is all about managing the processes themselves, Job Relations (JR) focuses on managing people. Supervisors will learn how to quickly and correctly train employees, establish standardized work, and sustain improvement efforts.

Done right, JR helps frontline leaders avoid problems using proven principles. When problems do arise, JR also provides a four-step process for handling the situation using facts, not emotions, to arrive at a resolution.

Here, the goal is to pass on proven methods for nurturing collaboration and positive interpersonal relations among team members.

3) Training Within Industry Job Methods

Job Methods (JM) focuses on improving work processes aimed at helping organizations produce more high-quality products in less time. Leaders learn how to make the best use of all available resources—people, processes, materials, equipment, etc.

Training Within Industry Online Video Courses

As part of our growing School of Lean library of courses, our Training Within Industry courses, will guide you from the basics to being certification-ready.

Through this course you will learn how to make lasting change, and importantly, where to start making your improvements.

Benefits of Training Within Industry (TWI)

TWI helps team leads identify and solve problems faster, quickly and correctly train team members, and spread tribal knowledge throughout the entire organization. Other benefits include:

  • Boosting employee retention.

  • Streamlining the training process.

  • Capturing knowledge from experienced employees.

  • Establishing and maintaining standardized work.

  • Creating a safer work environment.

  • Sustaining improvement efforts.

Training Within Industry History

Training Within Industry was developed in 1940 by a group of US planners who realized that going to war would create a massive labor shortage. The US TWI program launched across 600 US manufacturing companies during World War II to rapidly onboard new staff (mostly women with no manufacturing experience) who would be responsible for maintaining safety standards, quality controls, and efficient production processes.

After the war, TWI made its way to Japan to support the country’s rebuilding effort. By 1948, Toyota began improving on Training Within Industry, creating Lean processes for defining standard work and driving continuous, sustained improvements.

How to Practice Training Within Industry

While Training Within Industry is a fundamental building block for Lean, putting it into practice comes with some unique challenges.

Here are a few things to consider before rolling out a TWI strategy in your own workplace:

  • Bring frontline managers up to speed. Before getting started with TWI, you may need to provide some supplemental training to bring frontline leaders up to speed. Frontline supervisors may not be clear on the scope of their role and the ins and outs of the processes they manage.

  • Get top management to champion TWI. As with any cultural change initiative, TWI works best when there’s a champion driving change from the C-suite. Your champion serves as a unifying force, helping frontline managers avoid resistance from workers who don’t like change.

  • Consider developing job instructions earlier in the process. Developing job instructions earlier in the process allows you to build a more comprehensive set of instructions that address the full range of challenges you might encounter down the road.

Gemba Academy’s online TWI course tackles the implementation challenge head-on. We provide a learner version of each segment that introduces key concepts and processes and a facilitator version designed to teach leaders how to teach others in their organization.


To find out more, watch the first installment of each video training course for free—no sign up required. Check out the first video on TWI today.


Free TWI Training Videos

Get up to speed on TWI with our free videos.

TWI Podcasts

Gemba podcast 107 patrickgraupp

How to Leverage TWI

Patrick Graupp, Senior Master Trainer at the TWI Institute gives an overview of TWI including a breakdown of the three TWI methods.

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Gemba podcast 149 jamieparker

How to Teach TWI

Hear from avid lean thinker Jamie Parker on her experiences with a live Job Instruction class.

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Gemba podcast 152 brandonskip

TWI, Kata ,and Respect for People

Skip Steward and Brandon Brown share their experiences with both TWI and Kata as it relates to Baptist Memorial Health Care's Lean journey.

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Gemba podcast 157 rogerbilas

Using Brain Science to Understand TWI

A live talk by TWI expert trainer Roger Bilas, learn why the three TWI components (JI,JR,JM) are done the way they are.

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Gemba podcast 212 brandonbrown

How to Combine TWI, Kata, and a Kaizen Event

Hear frequent podcast guest Brandon Brown explain how he combined elements of TWI, Toyota Kata, and kaizen events into his "Get Better Jump Start" system.

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Listen to more great improvement podcasts at gembapodcast.com

Gemba Academy Live!

Our Gemba Academy Live! series is an exclusive look inside the best Lean thinking companies and conferences. We have more great TWI content collected as part of this series.

TWI at Aluminum Trailer Company

Go to the gemba at Aluminum Trailer Company, a premier manufacturer. At the time this was filmed they were 4 years into their Lean journey, and 1 year into TWI. See and hear firsthand accounts of how their factory, people, and processes were transformed.

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TWI Summit 2017

The 2017 TWI Summit, put on by Lean Frontiers, had 8 presentations and we were there to capture it. Hear how others' TWI journeys have gone, their successes and failures. You'll also hear how to communicate the value of TWI to CEOs and HR.

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More TWI Resources


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