AkzoNobel Training Program Builds Teamwork And Boosts Efficiency

“With GENEDGE’s delivery of TWI through Tom’s coaching and mentoring, we have taken the TWI JI training provided earlier and have rewritten all of our SOPs, using the TWI principles to retrain all employees. In addition, we’ve added a second shift utilizing this same training method with great success. Using TWI’s hands-on participatory approach, AkzoNobel has increased efficiency for multiple processes. Plus the trust and teamwork between our leaders and employees have strengthened. Now that we have a standardized training program, we can evaluate all new employees and provide periodic re-certification to existing personnel. Thanks for your help!” -Don Nelson, Continuous Improvement Manager


AkzoNobel’s Wood Finishes and Adhesives Division plant in Roanoke, Virginia is one of seven full-service manufacturing facilities serving the North American cabinetry, flooring, furniture, building products, and specialty markets. With approximately 70 employees, the Roanoke facility provides innovative coatings technologies such as High-Solids, UV-Cure, and Waterborne.

The Challenge

AkzoNobel had been developing SOPs (Standardized Operating Procedures) for their work processes. Management decided that the concepts of Training Within Industry (TWI) could be used to enhance this work. Their interests were in the Job Instruction (JI) portion of the TWI methodology. The company’s Continuous Improvement Manager, requested that GENEDGE, an NIST MEP affiliate, provide TWI JI training for its employees.

MEP’s Role

The GENEDGE project manager, a certified TWI instructor, was brought in to conduct the training and to coach/mentor the participants. The delivery time frame would consist of two hours per day of TWI training where the participants would learn the JI methods and apply them to a process (SOP) of their selection. In addition, GENEDGE provided additional hours of “on the floor” consulting with participants, assisting them in job selection and coaching with the job breakdown and/or training delivery methods. This entire project took five consecutive days. The mix of class participants included the company trainer candidates, team leaders, “informal floor leaders”, operators, and support staff. Each student was asked to bring a small “job” to the class for the purposes of demonstration and learning by doing. There were two main objectives that management wanted to be addressed through TWI JI. The first objective was to develop a standardized training program for new hires. The second objective was met when they were able to roll out a training system. In addition, everyone received the same safety process management instruction for their work. This is critical as all of the products are highly combustible and flammable.


  • Standardized training program for new hires
  • Shared process knowledge across staff for quality product production