Lynn Shelton

Battle Tested

The Weekly Report – July 20, 2020
Training Within Industry (TWI) continues to earn its stripes.

The experienced management team at Pequot Tool & Manufacturing has long known that just because a concept has been around for a while doesn’t mean it has passed its use-by date. Like a lot of our clients they are seeing plenty of new world applications in Training Within Industry (TWI), a manufacturing strategy that was first devised to help World War II manufacturers compensate for the loss of employees who went off to fight Nazis.

Even amid COVID-19-based market uncertainties, Pequot’s machining operation continues to prosper, as you’ll see profiled in the current issue of Enterprise Minnesota® magazine, written by R.C. Drews.

Paul Millard, a 15-year veteran at the company, is assistant manager of production planning. He’s overseen aspects of the business from the manufacturing floor to scheduling and logistics and can’t remember a time before TWI. “In a time of crisis, the training in job relations in particular has made the difference,” he says.

Like other TWI companies, Pequot Tool learned to be flexible with scheduling or work-from-home opportunities. Company managers took the time to understand the needs of team members as well as the company’s goals. Millard says this people-first approach has kept morale high while plotting a path through the unforeseen.

Enterprise Minnesota has for years offered modernized TWI training. Its four-way approach combines:

  • Job Instruction (JI – training leaders to be teachers);
  • Job Methods (JM – identifying and implementing more efficient processes);
  • Job Relations (JR – fostering healthy, respectful relationships between leadership and staff); and
  • Job Safety (JS – keeping the workplace safe for all).

As a long-time TWI advocate, Pequot Tool represents living proof of the reliability of this war-tested, decades-old system. “Thanks to the incredible teams we have here, we’ve not only kept people working, but we’ve also been thriving,” Millard says. “We were able to get ahead of the issues we knew we’d face and become flexible with our staff and workload.”

Normal may never be the same, but for Pequot Tool & Manufacturing, the pandemic has provided an opportunity to challenge old conceptions and find new solutions. The future is as uncertain now as it was in March, but Millard’s optimism displays the value of having a plan before disaster strikes.

To read the full article in our magazine, click here.

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Events Calendar

July 23 – Investing in Your People to Create Leaders at All Levels
Abbey Hellickson, a seasoned talent and leadership expert, will show you how solid leaders create environments that can adapt to change, foster innovation and solve problems. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

July 30 – Are Your Leaders On Board?
Join talent and leadership expert Michele Neale as she shares how to guide teams successfully through change, improve company culture and maximize productivity. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

August 6 – Are Your Leaders On Board? 
Can’t make it July 30? Join us August 6 for Michele Neale’s presentation on how to guide teams successfully through change, improve company culture and maximize productivity. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

August 11 – Leading Through Daily Dialogue
Continuous improvement expert Greg Langfield will be demonstrating how managers can use CI to better communicate with shop floor employees and work smarter, not harder to meet customer demands. Online via Zoom  Learn more and register

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Industry News

Shakopee officials hope for federal grant for Innovation Center
Shakopee’s Economic Development Authority submitted an application for a federal grant to build a postsecondary intitution aimed at supporting local entrepreneurs and training manufacturing workers. July 18, Star Tribune  Read more

Manufacturer Millerbernd announces expansion plans
Millerbernd, the Winsted, MN-based metal and lighting manufacturer, announced plans to build a new modular facility expansion expected to create 100 new jobs. July 17, Thomas Net  Read more

Fed survey says economy has picked up but outlook cloudy
The Federal Reserve found improvements in consumer spending and other areas, but gains were from very low levels observed after previous lockdowns. July 15, WDIO/Associated Press  Read more

WIDSETH architecture and engineering

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