TWI Institute History
In 2001, former TWI Institute Executive Director and Founder, Bob Wrona, partnered with Senior Master TWI Trainer Patrick Graupp to resurrect the extremely successful, but long-forgotten Training Within Industry program (see Program History). Since that time, the Institute’s efforts have quickly taken hold and it has become the center for TWI information, trainer certification, implementation guidance, instructional materials and connections with the TWI community.
The Journey Leading to the TWI Institute
As an Organizational Development consultant implementing TQM for small and mid-sized companies, Bob Wrona studied Japanese manufacturing techniques, especially Kaizen. He became aware of TWI and its U.S. roots in the boosting industrial production for the 1940s war effort through Professor Alan Robinson in 1998. He was impressed to learn that TWI is still heavily used throughout Japan and is an essential element of the Toyota Production System (TPS).
Alan introduced Bob to Patrick Graupp who was employed by SANYO in San Diego. Patrick, fluent in both English and Japanese, had previously spent over 10 years in Japan with Sanyo’s Corporate Training Center, rising to the level of TWI Master Trainer. He was also certified by the Japan Industrial Training Association (JITA). He successfully implemented the TWI program in Sanyo facilities across the globe.
Bob and Pat quickly developed a great rapport and a mutual interest in reintroducing the TWI program in the United States. Their goal turned into a reality after Bob joined the Central New York Technology Development Organization (CNYTDO) as a Lean Consultant in 2001, providing a base for them to reintroduce TWI to companies in Syracuse, NY and then throughout the US.
Through pilot programs delivered by Patrick, CNYTDO demonstrated that TWI enabled companies to achieve significant results with little investment in training by leveraging the knowledge and skills of their supervisor/team leader group. CNYTDO was soon responding to requests from companies throughout the US looking to do the same. Patrick and Bob collaborated to train additional trainers to deliver TWI.
After reviewing the archived materials from WWII with those used in Japan, Bob and Pat determined that to successfully deliver TWI they would have to recreate the training materials to reflect current culture and business practices while carefully maintaining the integrity of the training methodology delivered during WWII and in Japan since 1945. To that end, Patrick drew on his work with his sensei Mr. Kazyhiko Shibuya and documented the way in which he was trained as a TWI Master Trainer (trainer of trainers) for Sanyo in Japan (see Patrick’s lineage to the original TWI training in Japan). Their work is documented in their book The TWI Workbook: Essential Skills for Supervisors, a Shingo Prize winner.
During the first year Bob and Patrick worked on TWI, Patrick used his vacation time to deliver pilot projects and then recreate materials for CNYTDO. The results of these efforts led Pat to leave SANYO in 2002 and work with CNYTDO to deliver the TWI program. Pat used his extensive training experience to develop standardized training manuals and materials which are still in use by the TWI Institute to train and certify trainers.
Thanks to Bob and Patrick’s dedication, the TWI Institute is now delivering TWI throughout North America and around the globe in several languages.