Case Study: TWI in Retail Sales


Winner of the 2008 Shingo Research and Publication Award, Applying TWI to Retail Sales, details the creation and results of a sales boot camp created for La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries.  With the goals of 1) establishing standard work based on verified best practices, 2) reducing variability in sales people’s weekly results, 3) decreasing the time it takes to train new salespeople, the boot camp was successfully implemented in 4 major markets in North America.  Download a copy today and learn how to accelerate your journey using the TWI methodology.



The Training Within Industry (TWI) program was created during the 1940’s, and targeted the development of a supervisor’s ability to improve jobs, lead people, and train new employees. From its launch in 1940 to its cessation in 1945, the TWI program achieved remarkable results: over 1.7 million people were trained and the program was exported to both Japan and Germany as a critical tool in the rebuilding of each country’s economy. Subsequently, the TWI program formed the foundation of what later became the Toyota Production System and has continued to be taught and practiced at Toyota to this day. 

To prove the applicability of TWI to any business in any industry, this paper documents the success that came from the implementation of the Job Instruction program at La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries. Beginning with aligning leadership around a common goal of simplifying the sales process and achieving stability in business results, store management teams were empowered to learn the TWI program, create and refine a standard sales process, and participate in the creation of a new TWI Sales Boot Camp. Focused on a “learn-by-doing” format, their program utilized peer-to-peer mentoring in live role-play situations. As a result, LZB has seen both a dramatic increase in sales person productivity as well as the growth of a self-analytical and supportive culture of improvement. 

Starting in Portland, Oregon and subsequently spreading to Edmonton, Alberta, Phoenix, Arizona and Scranton, Pennsylvania, the principles which helped guide Toyota in the development of its management and production system have radically transformed how sales people are trained and how the sales process is standardized, transmitted, and replicated in a retail environment. Finally, in combination with a targeted visual management strategy and an alignment with human resources in the recruitment, selection, and qualification of new salespeople, LZB is on the forefront of successfully transforming its business by applying a “lean manufacturing” methodology.