I’m David Veech and this is elevate your performance.

Sorry about the long break. I had knee replacement surgery for my left knee and the recovery isn’t going as smoothly as I’d like. It’s going well, but I’m in a hurry and some things you just can’t rush along.

Before the break, I’d been talking about Toyota. I shared a little about their founding and growth and I want to complete that picture now with a few additional stories.

During World War II in the United States, the War Department created the Defense Production Board to monitor the production of military equipment and supplies. With so many men volunteering for military service early on, and the draft a little later on, a consistent problem was quality because new workers lacked the skill necessary.

To counter this problem, they created the Training Within Industry program. This program had 3 key components: Job Relations, Job Instruction, and Job Methods. Job relations taught leaders how to interact with employees. Job instruction taught supervisors how to teach the work techniques to employees. Job methods taught supervisors how to engage the employees in improving the way they did the work.

These were built on sound principles of educational psychology and were scripted so the teaching was consistent. It was very effective.

After the war, we provided all the TWI documentation to Japanese industries as part of our reconstruction effort. At home, companies were rehiring their former employees as they returned from the war. Since they all knew the work before the war, the figured there wasn’t a real need to keep the program and so it faded into oblivion.

Japan, however, made good use of those materials and continues to use the methodology. In the late 80’s, as manufacturers in the US were scrambling to learn all they could about Japanese Management Techniques, we rediscovered TWI and it has since become a movement of its own.

I’ll talk about some details of the program in a couple of future episodes. This week we’ll cover Kiichiro’s challenge to his manufacturing team, a period of labor unrest in the early 50s, some lessons from Deming and Juran, how Toyota weathered the oil crisis in 1973, and the growth of their business in the United States.

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Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.