Using Technology to Capture Standardized Work via the TWI-JI Format

Posted by Ken Wunderlich on Jan 7, 2022 12:10:21 PM

This article will focus on technology as well as Training Within Industry - Job Instruction (TWI-JI) module to capture standardized work.

The challenge: The onboarding process is challenging. The primary reason is two-fold.

First, if tasks are documented, they are usually written and describe the steps in the process. However, the onboarding process is much more than tasks. It involves a logical format that often uses more sensory input to be successful (e.g. vision or audio). Only, providing a written document for training has limited effectiveness as it does not consider all sensory input. Different individuals capture knowledge differently. Providing multiple methods or considering different sensory inputs will provide a more effective educational session.

Second, a learner often requires multiple attempts to understand the task, as merely reading about the tasks is not effective. But more importantly, they need to understand why they are performing the task. By requiring an employee to merely read a document, they are missing vital sensory skills in the learning process. As a result of an ineffective transfer of knowledge, an employee that is not performing a task correctly is a systemic failure of the onboarding process. The goal is to provide an effective training tool and to use problem solving when this process is not effective, rather than to assign blame to an employee.

The solution: Training within industry guidelines for a standardized work format

The TWI Job Instruction module (TWI-JI) is a structured learning process that considers not only the knowledge, but the educator, and learning. TWI-JI is the structure and glue to how the process should flow to be most effective.

This approach has been effective in providing a standardized approach to educating the workforce on the introduction to a new task, as it provides the groundwork for a method to educate. Standardization of the onboarding and education process is equally as important as the task or knowledge being transferred to the employee.

So, how can you resolve the issue?

Technology…and ownership. Consider who owns the standard or tasks, currently. Normally, supervision or even management owns the standard. In turn, this means individuals not performing the tasks are responsible for the standard as well as the upkeep for best practices. The individual performing the task does not own the task in this format. They are a participant. Technology can help to involve the task experts into the maintenance of the standardized work. This in turn will yield a more effective continual improvement process.

Most software available for capturing instructions or work tasks are designed for an average computer user. Configuration, layout, and managed actions within the software is normally setup to address as many different alternatives as possible… the Cadillac, if you will. However, users who perform the tasks may not be computer-savvy or need the sophistication of all the functionality. This creates a need to now train the employee to the software, not to the TWI-JI process or manufacturing tasks.

Currently, the Low Code, No Code revolution in software development has created a unique ability to activate workers without software development experience. The software can engage still pictures, video, and augmented reality at the fingertips of a “citizen developer.” The citizen developer will have access to a sandbox to test continual improvements. Once successful, a formal approach is put in place to release the updated application.

Separate applications can be run across a tablet or other devices for the user, while a desktop or laptop application manages the content. The capability to add standardized testing and have the results included as records of the tasks individuals are educated to, allows for better planning going forward.


Standardized work is the key to an effective onboarding process. Often this requires the involvement of the trainer and trainee to set the trainee at ease and allow an opportunity to learn by following the TWI-JI format. It is rare when someone learning a new skill has mastered that skill right away. The TWI-JI approach ensures the training follows a standard format that can lead to the employee to the best chance for success.

TWI-JI involves written documentation and physical demonstration of the task by the learner. Adding technology to capture the still pictures, videos, and other key aspects of the tasks in a user-friendly format that will effectively supplement the TWI-JI approach. While recording the standardized work, it is possible to add variables to monitor data such as how long it takes to complete the task. The logic or sequence and the format is connected to a database with options to monitor analytics (such as time to complete).

The goal for ownership of the standardized work should be at the level the task is performed. Providing a no-nonsense resource that captures picture and video paired with a logical sequence and the ability to monitor variables such as time to complete, yields an effective tool in the path towards standardized work.

Supervision ensures the standardized work is in place while those performing the task strives to make the task safer, more efficient, and with less problems.

Need help? Let's have a conversation - get in touch with myself or another member of the IMEC team today!

Related Webinar:

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING EXPLAINED: The Intersection of Lean Standard Work and Industry 4.0 Webinar
In an interactive session on IMEC’s ADVANCE WITH AUTOMATION webinar series on January 20, IMEC Technical Specialist Jim Floyd will explore how these two innovative approaches to achieving performance excellence work quite well together and facilitate the group’s sharing of best practices and questions regarding Standard Work and I4.0 working together – the Intersection of Lean Standard Work and Industry 4.0.

Join Live or Watch On-Demand

Ken Wunderlich

Written by Ken Wunderlich

Topics: lean, lean Manufacturing, training within industry, advanced manufacturing, technology, twi, standard work, Industry 4.0, Job instruction

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