“IMEC brings a lot of knowledge to the table from their experience with other companies. I would encourage any heavy labor-based manufacturer to take a look at TWI because it will help you reduce costs and keep jobs here in the U.S. IMEC is a great, cost-effective resource to get it done.”
Successes in Workforce
Managing returns and remanufacturing of products is a highly labor-intensive business. Unlike manufacturing operations, which often rely on automated machines and processes to boost efficiency, CoreCentric must depend on its people to work as productively as possible. After participating in IMEC’s Lean Manufacturing Overview and Simulation training, company leaders decided to explore if Training Within Industry (TWI) could help get them even more out of their human resources.
TWI, which got its start as a way to boost U.S. industrial production during World War II, creates work environments where jobs are performed the same way by all team members and problem-solving occurs at the operator level. With IMEC’s help, CoreCentric implemented two of TWI’s standardized modules: Job Instruction, which helped leaders train employees to do their jobs correctly, safely and conscientiously, and Job Relations, which helped supervisors develop and maintain positive employee relations, preventing problems from happening and effectively resolving any conflicts that do arise. CoreCentric is now using TWI for all on-the-job training in its facilities.
- Improved trust and teamwork among leaders and employees
- Enhanced implementation of lean and Kaizen
- Reduced time and increased efficiency for some processes
- Significant productivity gains expected
Aftermarket service solutions company boosts employee efficiency with WWII-era program
Managing returns and remanufacturing for some of the nation’s largest retailers and appliance manufacturers is a highly labor-intensive business for Glendale Heights-based CoreCentric Solutions.
“Unlike manufacturing operations, we don’t have many automated machines or processes,” said Badal Wadia, CEO of the service solutions company that helps its clients manage their aftermarket activity more cost-effectively and sustainably. “We rely on our people to work productively and efficiently."
Wadia is committed to creating jobs in the Midwest versus relying on low-cost labor in Mexico or Asia. But doing so, particularly given his company’s need to process small volumes of a large number of products (more than 4,000 SKUs), means employees must get more work done in less time.
To that end, CoreCentric Solutions began applying best practices and implementing cellular and lean manufacturing in its facilities just outside Chicago. After participating in IMEC’s Lean Manufacturing Overview and Simulation training, company leaders were curious: Could something called Training Within Industry (TWI) help them get even more out of their human resources?
“TWI is about standardizing what employees do and making processes repeatable,” Wadia said. “The fact that everyone gets trained in the same way, and that everyone consistently uses the right methodology to do their jobs, appealed to us.”
TWI got its start as a way to boost U.S. industrial production during World War II. The program created work environments where jobs were performed the same way by all team members and problem-solving occurred at the operator level. Despite its success, U.S. manufacturers focused elsewhere after the war, and TWI found a home in Japan instead. Businesses there used it to rebuild their industrial base and implement the first lean manufacturing system, the Toyota Production System. A key element of Kaizen, continuous improvement and standard work, TWI is still in widespread use throughout Japan.
Today, a new generation of U.S. employees - including those at CoreCentric Solutions - is finding success with TWI’s hands-on, participatory style and standardized modules that provide essential skills needed by supervisors, team leaders and anyone who indirectly leads others.
With IMEC’s help, CoreCentric Solutions put two of those standardized modules into action. Job Instruction helped company leaders learn how to train employees to do their jobs correctly, safely and conscientiously. In Job Relations, supervisors learned how to develop and maintain positive employee relations, preventing problems from happening and effectively resolving any conflicts that do arise.
"TWI creates a team environment,” Wadia said. “Employees understand how the floor will run. Supervisors learn how to relate to employees, communicate with them and inspire them. It helps build relationships, which is a critical part of building trust."
Although it’s too early to document any hard results, CoreCentric Solutions also expects to see significant improvements in productivity and efficiency due to TWI.
"It’s helped us take lean and Kaizen out to the floor, and we’ve seen reductions in time for some processes and gains in efficiency for others,” Wadia said. “As we move forward, all cells and supervisors will continue to use TWI for on-the-job training, and we expect that to bring even more economies of scale.”
Wadia credits IMEC with helping CoreCentric Solutions implement TWI smoothly and efficiently.
“IMEC brings lots of knowledge to the table from their experience with other companies,” he said. “I would encourage any heavy labor-based manufacturer to take a look at TWI because it will help you reduce costs and keep jobs here in the U.S. IMEC is a great, cost-effective resource to get it done."