Do it right the first time with TWI

Vestas Blades' factory in Lem, West Jutland has introduced TWI Job Instruction as a training method. One of the gains is a noticeable improvement in cost of poor quality - by doing the right thing the right way the first time.

Written by Poul Breil-Hansen, Editor, Erhvervsmagasinet SCM
Date: October 2016
Published at effektivtet.dk and SCM.dk

The height of laziness or efficiency is to do things right the first time. Vestas Blade's factory in Lem, West Jutland has recognized this. And acted on it. The action consists mainly of introducing the structured training method TWI JI - Training Within Industry Job Instruction - in a pilot project in a limited part of the factory's 980 employee organization. The pilot is centered around the production of a wing type with four shifts of 35 employees – and the factory management. "We actually started with factory management to secure buy-in and to allow managers to know TWI JI on their own. We then proceeded to the support function as well as training of team leaders and ten selected TWI trainers. This way we were ready to introduce TWI JI together with the 4 x 35 employees working in the area that we selected as a pilot," explains Lars Tegner Bjerre, Senior Production Manager and responsible for rolling out TWI JI.

TWI professionalizes processes

Lars Tegner Bjerre has a history in Kopenhagen Fur, where he learned that training operators according to the TWI JI principles created an effective platform for innovation, improvement culture, better working environment as well as higher productivity and quality. He is now going to transfer that success to Vestas Blades.

"In most companies, training and learning is based on side-by-side learning. Side-by-side learning can work just fine, but when different people train the 'side man', it will naturally result in variations in the performance of tasks. We are all different, use different language and have different focus areas. Thus, side-by-side learning always leads to variations in processes, which is bad for flow, efficiency and quality," he says, adding:

Hit the nail on the head the first time

"In Vestas Blades, our goal is to improve cost of poor quality or COPQ to less than 1 percent. We will do this by doing the right things the right way the first time, so we get fewer rejects and better capacity utilization. Vestas Blades' blades are always of high quality when they leave the factory, but sometimes more rejects and resources have been required to achieve the high quality than other times. TWI JI will help us hit the nail on the head the first time, every time."

Vestas Blades has managed to create both a pull and a push for TWI. "Push" comes through training of the managers in TWI JI and "push" has come through the recruitment of internal TWI trainers that serve as ambassadors for the TWI method. "We have preliminarily trained 10 TWI trainers who were selected according to two primary criteria: human qualities such as communication skills and empathy, and organizational respect. While employees see that TWI JI works and gives them a better foundation for carrying out their duties, we see that it creates a need and demand for more training."

The major obstacle to working with TWI JI in Vestas Blades is that the processes for manufacturing the up to 67 meters long turbine blades are very long and complex processes where a team of 14 employees works together on a process for up to four hours. It makes it difficult to break down the process and train it with the employees. "We solve this by running so-called offline training, where the trainee is trained in the basics before doing it in practice. It may for example be training in how the operators perform a vacuum process. The long processes mean that we must be clear in the breakdown of the processes and test the possibility of offline training to make the training as productive as possible," explains Lars Tegner Bjerre.