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Frequently Asked Questions
About TWI
How long has TWI been established?
Our current Owner and Chief Executive Victor Chinn from the United Kingdom started us in 1985.

Where is TWI based ?
We are based in Cape Town South Africa. We have offices in Durban and our Training staff train over 2 continents.

About Acorn © Supervisor Training
Will my productivity improve after training my Supervisors on Acorn? Most definitely, our experience is that your productivity will improve during the training; an average improvement we achieve is 10%

How long is the training course?
Acorn is paced at the pace of the learner. The course is learner driven, so the programme varies; however an average contact period is 5 weeks.

Will my Supervisors need to leave the factory?
No, we teach the job not a training course, the learning takes place ON the JOB.

Will Acorn affect my quality?
Most certainly, we expect the supervisor to focus more of her time on this activity and indeed you will notice after training that she spends far more time at the needle point than before.

Will the training "fit in " with my production systems?
Of course and indeed we will use your own systems in a way that assists your supervisor to use them better, since she will respond better to the information.

What follow up is there from the TWI trainer after the course is completed?
We carry out an annual audit of your Supervisor [on request] and assess that she is still using the skills we developed.

What level of education must my Supervision be at?
We recognize that most Clothing Supervisors have not benefited from a "very good" education background. Hence all we require is numeracy and literacy. Oh and she must be able to sew.

Can TWI assist us in choosing our Supervisors?
Gladly, we have developed an extensive test battery in Supervisor selection. We use it often. It can predict with success a "good" Supervisor. It tests for Sewing skills, learnability, and personality profile.

How many Supervisors can you train at one time?
Our training is very intensive and we will only train 8 Supervisors on one course.

My Supervisors speak another language other than English, can you still train them?
For over 18 years we have trained in, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English and now we are working in Romanian. As long as you provide the interpreter we can adapt.

What Countries do TWI train in?
We train at present in the following countries: South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Kenya, Romania, United Kingdom, Sweden.

Who trains the TWI staff?
All our trainers are firstly highly selected from the industry, who have a specific desire to teach their craft. Their training takes the form of a structured 2-year period of practical training with another TWI trainer.

How many supervisors have TWI trained?
Over 2300 now!!!

Do you ever fail a Supervisor after training?
Yes we do! But most Supervisors who fail, recognize very early on that the skills we are developing they are finding difficulty with. The supervisor slowly recognizes she is not supervisor material. Our failure rate is one in every 10. Oh and we always find and train a replacement from your current staff.

Why the name Acorn - what does it stand for?
Why is the programme called ACORN?
A question often asked. Our first programmes in the 1980,s were conducted for medium sized apparel companies. On one of our first programmes we achieved such a significant increase in production output that the chief executive requested a meeting to find out what had changed on his production floor. The Supervisor team gave a presentation to him about their new skills of "operator boosting" SISCO analysis and line balancing. Such was the chief executives amazement at the attitude of his team that he expressed the comment to TWI - "You have sewn the seeds for my business of the next generation of supervisors, I would never have believed they could have grown so much" We decided after that programme that our learning event had a powerful potential to change behaviour and grow managers- Victor Chinn called the programme ACORN after that programme, its been used ever since.

About Acorn © Management Development
How does Acorn © train my managers?
We develop firstly the Supervisor skills learnt on our Supervisor programme. Then we teach the manager how to recognize when Supervisors are not applying those skills and behaviours. Also we teach your managers how to focus on Supervisors who need coaching and how to spend their time effectively during the day. Its very powerful and for many production managers is their first experience of mentorship.

Do the managers have their training at the same time as the Supervisors?
Yes , always. We develop the team together.

Why is the Training done at work - mgt. Development is traditionally classroom based?
Correct! it is historically classroom based. We believe that managers learn better ON the JOB. At the workplace is where managers need to learn HOW to manage their supervisors, HOW to PLAN a production flow, HOW to mentor a learner supervisor, HOW to recognize when the wheels are falling of and WHEN to focus in certain areas, to tweak the production.

Is an assessment undertaken on the manager after training by TWI?
Yes, always. We assess the manager's progression on the learning path as she manages her supervisory team during Acorn ©. At each stage the manager is required to show competency in each task on the programme in a non-threatening environment and then apply the technique with her supervisors. The final assessment is a complete SISCO analysis on her supervision.

What is a SISCO analysis?
Standard Interval Sample with Continuous Observation. A study on supervisor behaviour over 900 observations taken over a sustained period to monitor behaviour into effective tasks and non-effective tasks.

About Work Study Training?
How long is the training course?
5 days on site , in a factory using the production floor as an integral part of the learning.

How many delegates are on each ?
Approximately 8 , we keep the numbers very low since this type of learning is very practical based.

What will I be able to DO after completing the programme?
This course will teach you HOW to establish International targets for operators in Industry. You will firstly learn how to analyse jobs for method improvement. Secondly you will learn how to measure those activities using a stopwatch. Next part of the process, we will teach you how to "Rate" the operator on an International scale of performance. Finally you will learn how to allocate International rest & fatigue appropriate to the job for rest purposes.

Will I do projects during the learning?
Yes, the programme of learning is very project based. Throughout the course daily you will learn a skill each day then apply it in a production situation.

Will I be able to cost products for Labour calculations?
Yes, the programme involves Labour costing for that purpose. My company wants to install "piece work" type systems, will this course help me to do that? Piecework systems all involve the establishment of an individual target that is based on money per unit. The programme deals with this in detail.

My Industry is not Clothing, can you modify the programme to fit us?
TWI does that all the time. The principles of work measurement can be applied to any Industry. We will be only too pleased to modify the programme to meet your requirements.

About Linemate ®
Who makes Linemate?
Its manufactured for TWI under license by various suppliers world wide, We quality check the models as they arrive in Cape Town.

Can I buy Linemate ®?
No it's not for sale. We are constantly developing the software on Linemate®. For that reason we prefer to rent it to the manufacturer so he can always have the latest software version.

What Productivity Increase can I expect with a Linemate ® production display?
We have achieved increases of more than 10% per day with a Linemate in production. However you must remember that your management must respond to the signals given. It is just a tool and you must use it correctly.

Do you recommend that I install Linemate on its own, without the training?
Most definitely not. Our experience is that Linemate is just one of the tools that the Foreman / supervisor uses to grow her productivity and respond to problems before they arise. In conjunction with our Supervisor programme, Acorn the Linemate comes to life and the supervisor really learns to adapt her behaviour pattern to get results. The Linemate® constantly tells her how well the team is doing.

What is the pay back on a Linemate ®?
Examine what one EXTRA product earns you profit. If that product earns you $1 extra profit then your Linemate will pay for itself in the first hour of the day. We pride ourselves on a payback of less than one hour in most cases on the rental. In many cases the one Linemate ® installed will give a return to pay back 3 Linemate ® on 3 other teams.

Can I connect my Linemate ® to my computer?
YES of course. We provide software free of charge and install it for you as a free service.

How many do I require to get a good result?
ONE per line. In that way you can see at a glance, which line is earning "money" and which line is losing "money" and you can react . Time is a valuable commodity in production.

How often does the Linemate ® update my production information?

About the Eton System
Where is the Eton system manufactured?
In the Southern part of Sweden, near Gothenburg in the textile area called Boras.

Why does the Eton System achieve such a very impressive increase in output?
What the Eton system does is focus on the handling component in the sewing cycle. Research has shown that more than 80% of the sewing cycle is handling the product. Eton reduces that portion to less than 30% therefore increasing the sewing component. More sewing time = more output = less fatigue.

Will my Supervisors and operators be able to learn such a sophisticated system?
Throughout the world the population employed in clothing is more or less the same level of education. We are aware of this and at Eton have developed a system that is very easy to use and is learner friendly. In most parts of 3rd world Africa we have Eton stations being used daily by operators with a very basic education level, yet increasingly high productivity levels.

Will Eton train us how to use the System?
Eton Systems of Sweden have been involved with TWI for over 15 years. They use us extensively in production learning on the system. All of the TWI staff are trained in Garment engineering on the Eton system and the latest software. True support for your investment. If your staff leave you, we will re train new staff within days.

What increase can I expect in my production per day?
That is difficult without seeing your situation. However we have achieved increases ranging from 30% and in some cases higher. The best way to find out accurately is to request TWI to carry out an in depth analysis for you.

What will an ETON STUDY do for me?
The Eton study will tell you the following:
  • The current situation in detail, manning levels, cost per minute etc.
  • The same situation on the Eton system
  • A clear concise report on how much financial return you will get
  • A PAYBACK analysis in months for your investment return
  • A full set of manufacturing methods on the project
  • A full set of standards for each sewing operation on your product.
How do I organize an ETON STUDY for my plant?
Contact Victor Chinn on the web site and he will pay you a visit within 3 days. The study takes 3 weeks to carry out, since the analysis is detailed. Of course you will be required to pay a cost for the analysis since the information you receive will be of immense value to you.

What products does Eton work best?
Since we are working with ergonomics and handling, the higher the work content the better. We have had some significant savings on Trousers, Jeans, Shirts, Golf Shirts, Duvets, Jackets and Household Textiles.

What other benefits can be derived from the Eton System?
Our customer's worldwide tell us that they have a reduction in absenteeism with operators on the system. Eton operators enjoy the product. Faster throughput is a major plus, we can reduce work in process from weeks to hours, reducing your capital tied up, The most important benefit we have found is CONTROL. You will have a finger on the pulse every minute of the day. You will know where you are making money and where you are losing money. That is invaluable to our Eton customers.

What payback can I expect on the Eton System?
I always calculate that very accurately for a client during an Eton study , however you must and you will get a payback of less than 2 years in most cases in South Africa.

Where can I learn more about the Eton?
Contact Victor Chinn on the TWI site for a presentation and visit the Eton System web site on www.etonsystems.se

About Checkmate ®
What does the checkmate do?
The checkmate will lift operator output steadily over a period of time. It achieves this in 2 ways. Firstly it "paces" the operator against a real production target that is lifting every minute and it gives her feedback on her own performance. In this way the operator can see how well she is doing against a 1st world target.

What other benefits can I achieve?
Should the operator be paid on a bonus scheme, we have had bonus payments increase for the operator over the day on many occasions. Also if the checkmate ® is placed at the "constraint" in the team then team output will lift.

What payback can I achieve with the Checkmate ®?
Depends on your Labour rate per hour. In most cases the payback for the Checkmate ® should be less than 15 days and it will have paid for itself.

Where should I locate the Checkmate ®?
On the team at the "governing"operation. In this way you will increase the skills of your key operators and achieve total line output as a benefit.

Do operators like the Checkmate ®?
In our experience - operators love the Checkmate ®. They all want to do well. The Checkmate assists in creating a "winning" mentality that enhances an operators well being. Increased earnings are often a result.

Can I connect my computer to the Checkmate ®?
YES of course you can. We can provide you with a programme to view the operators pace on your computer screen.

Can I have one checkmate with every operator?
In some parts of Europe in clothing manufacture, small teams called "modules" manufacture garments as a work team of about 6 persons. In these small work teams we have found it useful to assist each of them by providing a checkmate.

Where else can I achieve benefits from a Checkmate ®?
In your "training school" we have achieved significant results. The checkmate can lift operator stamina in some cases by 30% in one day. We always advocate using Checkmates ® for operator stamina boosting in the final stage of job learning so that the operator lifts pace and achieves production targets in short stamina runs prior to going into her work team.

About Digital Stopwatches?
What is a DIGITAL stopwatch?
Most watches have a sweeping finger that moves around a clock face - this is called an analogue face. The problems associated with an analogue face are those of inaccuracy by the reader as she tries to read the watch, as the sweeping hand is moving. To overcome this manufacturers have designed a timepiece that reads NUMERICALLY in single digits - this we call a digital stopwatch.

If you attempt to add up a long list of minutes and seconds it takes forever, since you have to convert your totals from seconds to minutes. To ease this calculation for Industrial work-study engineers, designers have designed a digital CENTIMINUTE stopwatch that records decimal parts of a minute in 1/100 ths of a minute. This enables the user to place all recordings into a calculator for ease of addition.

How much do your watches cost?
TWI prides itself on being the most cost competitive world wide on our time pieces for Industrial engineers. If you can find a cheaper timepiece of the same quality we will meet the price.

What are the features of the TWI stopwatch?
Firstly our watch is rubberized to minimize breakage in an Industrial environment. Secondly our watch features also a normal clock and calendar. In addition to the lap timer, to halt your recording as you work with our timepiece our stopwatch has also a memory available to the engineer of the last 8 timings.

Is your watch suitable for work-study engineers?
YES of course. we provide Industrial engineers weekly over 3 continents with stopwatches for the Clothing Industry, Car Industry, Plastics Industry and Furniture trades.

What is your delivery period?
24 hours by courier

About bench counters
What is a bench counter?
Quite simply a counter for an operator. The operator presses the counter as she completes a work piece and each hour the supervisor records the total achieved.

Is it accurate?
Only as accurate as the honesty of the operator, but it is better than memory and it is far better than pen & paper since you are saving operator time recording.

How many would I Require?
One per operator if you need an accurate record of output.

What is the cost and payback?
The cost is minimal and the payback is less than ONE DAY since the control will lift your output more than the cost of the counter in the first 4 hours.

What is your delivery period?
24 hours by courier

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