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Lean Workforce Practices

Lean workforce practices are those regular, routine activities executed by front-line workers and leads (supervisors). These practices form the foundation of continual improvement cycles outside of formal events, and are considered to be the foundation of the lean approach to enterprise transformation. They position the company to take advantage of small, systematic, incremental improvements that collectively provide the greatest impact on business objectives and goals, and focus on the 3 key elements to lean – Discipline, Elimination of Waste, and Standardization. They include 5S, TWI, Problem Solving & Mistake Proofing, and Teams.

5S (Workplace Organization)

The 5S methodology is the cornerstone of creating discipline in the workplace and form the foundation for all workplace improvements. It is particularly valuable for operators in manufacturing environments, pilot teams and implementers of Lean Production, Lean Office, and Asset Management. This is the foundation for creating a Lean environment.

Training Within Industry (TWI)

Although Lean is increasingly recognized worldwide as the most productive approach to manufacturing, most companies do not realize that Lean is actually a blend of both old and new concepts. Henry Ford knew in 1926 that he could keep the prices of his products low by shortening the production cycle and standardization, and he proceeded to build his manufacturing empire on these concepts. Set up by the Roosevelt administration after the fall of France in 1940, TWI was charged to rapidly boost industrial production, productivity and quality to sustain the war effort and was adopted by Toyota forming a cornerstone of eliminating waste, standardizing work, and creating a culture of improvement. There are three elements to the TWI training:

  • TWI – Job Methods Improvement-The aim of the Job Methods Training program is to help produce greater quantities of quality products in less time by making the best use of the people, machines, and materials now available. Supervisors are taught how to break down jobs into their constituent operations. They question details and develop new methods by eliminating, combining, and rearranging these details.
  • TWI – Job Instruction for Standardized Work- The objective of Job Instruction is to help supervisors develop a well-trained workforce resulting in less scrap and rework, fewer accidents, and less tool and equipment damage. Supervisors are taught how to effectively break down a job for instruction. The method emphasizes preparing the operator to learn, giving a proper demonstration, identifying the key points in the job, observing the operator perform trial runs, and tapering off coaching while continuing to follow-up.
  • TWI – Job Relations- Problems come in two basic forms – those dealing with products and processes, and those dealing with human behavior and relationships. JR emphasizes that people must be treated as individuals. Supervisors are given foundations for developing and maintaining good relations to prevent problems from arising. Principles include providing constructive feedback, giving credit when due, telling people in advance about changes that will affect them, making the best use of each person's ability, and earning the employee's loyalty and cooperation. When problems do arise, it teaches supervisors how to get the facts, weigh them, make the decision, take action, and check results.

Problem Solving & Mistake Proofing Tools

It is often a common practice to keep fixing the same things over and over. As a result, operators become experts at fixing rather than preventing the problems and identifying opportunities for continual improvement activities. This hands-on course provides the background and skills necessary to lead effective Root Cause Analysis is a structured, team-based, analytical approach that helps detect potential problems and can alleviate chronic failure problems within an organization. It uses the DMAIC model as the systematic approach to solving product/process related problems and provides hands-on application of basic problem solving tools and techniques including process mapping, fishbone diagramming, brainstorming, affinity diagramming, 5 why’s and others. Available as training workshop.


Effective team participation is critical to unleashing to power of group dynamics in problem solving. While someone may possess the technical tools to solve problems, understanding basic team effectiveness stages, group dynamics, communication styles, listening skills, dealing with group conflict and how to reach consensus are all necessary to effectively participate as a team member. This class teaches basics of team participation to those expected to function effectively. Available as training workshop.

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