Statement of Purpose.
The TWI Network, Inc. is a network of individuals, companies, and organizations that provide support in understanding and implementing Lean Manufacturing. TWI views Lean thinking as the manufacturing paradigm as identified in the books The Machine That Changed The World and Lean Thinking, the model for which is the Toyota Production System. TWI Network also views Lean thinking to be applicable to non-manufacturing organizations. TWI Network supports companies that wish to adopt or adapt the Toyota Production System, develop their own Lean system, or otherwise improve in a Lean direction.
Structure of TWI Network.
TWI is a network, in contrast with a conventional consulting firm. TWI Network members are committed to providing truly expert services to support Lean improvement efforts through value-added services with a minimum of waste and of incidental, overhead costs. Most TWI Network members are professionals with many years of experience; most run their own company in addition to being members of the Network. Since there is very little formal "organization" of TWI Network to "oversee" the daily activities of members, only individuals whose work is well known to the other members and who are unquestionably trustworthy are accepted as members. It's not that we are necessarily so arrogantly selective; it's just that we are so "lean" that we can't really operate any other way.
Approach of TWI Network.
Our approach is plan-based, yet action-oriented. We work with client staff to grasp their current situation then develop a plan, most often based on mapping current and future state value streams of their operations. Our approach owes much to initial learnings from Toyota, especially from the Toyota Supplier Support Center. But we also bring our own, individually developed approaches and experiences. We strive first and foremost to ensure the transfer of both understanding and implementation skill from us to client staff. In contrast with other methodologies, we do not demand that clients commit to placing our consultants in their facilities on a full-time basis; we have found that actually inhibits the transfer of the know-how. Nor do we emphasize the easy, quick-hit but short-term successes of the Five-Day Kaizen Workshop. We desire quick change, but we also demand change that is long-lasting, and therefore insist on taking a step-by-step approach to ensure that the knowledge is transferred, skills are developed, and systems to sustain improvements are in place.
TWI is committed to implementing lean systems in operations, in each function, and among senior leadership ranks. TWI may make resources available to support implementation in each function and, if necessary, provide training and coaching for key groups within the organization. Each function, major management committees, and business teams must be involved in the transformation to Lean. We support development of a lean "enterprise."
We often concentrate first on a key area of the organization, and progress from there to other operations. Each improvement project cycle ordinarily has an "Intense Phase" in the beginning (though sometimes there is a gradual ramp-up process in which operations learns to utilize us as a resource), followed by a "Steady Progress Phase", and finally a "Gaining Independence Phase".
In the same way, each function is integrated into the process as appropriate. Those “closest” to daily operations are especially integral to the process. Other functions can join later, allowing specific implementation need to dictate timing. Our intention is to be able to "complete" major projects within two to three years, while seeing visible changes within a few weeks. Of course, the word "complete" is awkward since no Lean cycle of improvement is ever truly finished. But we hope enough learning takes place to form a critical mass of knowledge, skills and experience for Lean thinking to become sustainable within about three years or less
TWI Lean Consultants have led numerous projects with great success. However, we do not wish to "take credit" for the improvements -- the real credit in each case belongs with the implementation team at the client operation. We serve as coaches / advisors and part-time members of those teams. The actual measures of improvement may vary from project to project, but typical improvements include reductions in lead time and inventory of 50 - 90%, and productivity improvements of 20 - 60%. To cite a more specific example, one large manufacturing facility TWI supported realized documented annualized savings of $14 million from 70 specific lean cycles of improvement over a period of about 18 months. In healthcare, a hospital supported by TWI Network members helped improve their surgical services with patient satisfaction up 24%, operating room utilization increased by 15%, and first-case starts went from 25% to 81% after 24 months of learning cycles.
TWI Network Consultants.
TWI Network works in partnership with numerous consultants and leading organizations as needs may dictate. All TWI Network consultants have extensive experience and could be better viewed as "practitioners" rather than consultants. Some members of the TWI network participate in the activities of the foremost Lean promotion organizations, including the Lean Enterprise Institute and The University of Michigan. By developing teaching materials, conducting seminars, and coaching at these institutions, TWI Network consultants advance cutting-edge methodologies for understanding and implementing Lean thinking and creating a Lean Enterprise.