Training within industry

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The Training Within Industry (TWI) Service was an official department of the of the War Manpower Commission during WWII. TWI Service existed between 1940-1945, training over 23,000 supervisors in primarily three basic skills:

  • Job Instruction Training (JIT) or, skill of how to instruct
  • Job Methods Training (JMT) or, skill of how to improve methods
  • Job Relations Training (JRT) or, skill of how to lead people

As time progressed an additional need was recognized and developed in the form of a fourth program, aimed at training directors:

  • Program Development (PDT) or, skill of how to spot a production problem and solve it through a training plan

A fifth program was developed sensitive to the unique characteristics of present within unions:

  • Union Job Relations Training (UJRT) or, skill in how to lead people particularly for shop stewards.

Through a planned "multiplier effect", four-hundred TWI Service representatives trained 23,000 supervisors in over 16,000 U.S companies during the war. In turn, those 23,000 supervisors trained and developed over 1.7 million U.S. workers in the TWI 'J' programs.


WWII Precedents


Consensus is that TWI methods were largely abandoned in the U.S. after the decommission of the TWI Service in 1945, due to an inherent complacency as the only industrial superpower. It is thought there was no urgent need for the TWI services.[1] However, there were several indirect factors that may suggest the situation was more complex than mere complacency.

First, a study of war production liquidation suggested that a gradual cancellation of war contracts would create the need for seven million jobs.[2] Many of these jobs would be filled by those very same that were displaced by the cancellations; as a war production plant converted to peacetime, the laid off wartime worker would come back on as a peacetime worker. Another inevitable situation is that temporary workers in another city would move back home, creating voids for others to fill as peacetime production was signaled to begin. Similar scenarios of rapid turnover and training was mitigated during the war through the TWI program.

The second factor in this scenario is that over $100 billion dollars was available in consumer purchasing power.[3] There was a definite desire for war production plants to reconvert and produce products for that pending market boom. An example of this conversion process was through products branded with Liberty badges, such as flat irons. Nationwide conversion certainly would have required re-tooling, re-training and many months of learning how to make consumer products, issues similar to the war conversion process and partly addressed through the TWI program.

Third, TWI Service was decommissioned in September, 1945. Peacetime production training was assigned to the Bureau of Labor. It is possible that organized labor conflict, resulting from wage controls during wartime production, was given higher priority over peacetime training.

Fourth, TWI, Inc. was formed by Cleveland TWI District Representative, Lowell Mellen. Letters from Mellen dating May 1945, four months prior to the decommission of TWI Service, indicate that Mellen had local contracts signed in which Mellen's TWI, Inc. would provide services not unlike those delivered during the war.

Fifth, the existence of TWI Foundation indicates that the program did not fade away after the war. Other letters in possession by Mellen indicate TWI activity on the east coast by this non-profit group founded and operated by the former directors of the national TWI Service office: Channing Dooley, Walter Dietz, Bill Conover and Mike Kane. The TWI Foundation had private company membership policies, which may explain why TWI may have appeared to shift out of the national spotlight after the war.

Linkage to Continuous Improvement Methodologies

Practical Applications


Training Within Industry Report. 1945. U.S. Government Printing Office.

Training Within Industry Materials. 1945. Hardbound copy of TWI Materials. U.S. Government Printing Office.

Lowell Mellen Papers. 1923-1970. Collection #91-098, unprocessed. Western Reserve Historical Society Library. Cleveland, Ohio.

Final Report of Training Within Industry, Inc. 1951. Collection #91-098, unprocessed. Western Reserve Historical Society Library. Cleveland, Ohio.

TWI in Japan Final Report. 1956. Collection #91-098, unprocessed. Western Reserve Historical Society Library. Cleveland, Ohio.

Kaplan, A.D.H. 1944. The Liquidation of War Production. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. New York and London.

External links & Additional Reading Materials

Dinero, Don. 2005. Training Within Industry, The Foundation of Lean Manufacturing. Productivity Press. New York, NY.

Huntzinger, Jim. 2002. Roots of Lean — Training Within Industry: The Origin of Kaizen”. Target Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 9-22).

Lund, Bryan. 2007. Training Within Industry. Lean Manufacturing Yearbook 2007. Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Public Domain Access to Original TWI Manuals.

  1. Robinson, Alan G & Schroeder, Dean M. California Management Review; Winter 1993; 35; 2; pg. 35
  2. Kaplan, A.D.H. 1944. The Liquidation of War Production. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. New York and London. pg 17-19
  3. Kaplan, A.D.H. 1944. The Liquidation of War Production. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. New York and London.