The purpose of Standard Work is to minimise waste and maximize efficiency. Standards record the best way to carry out a process. If no standards exist it is difficult to start to improve a process.
Standardised work alone is not the goal – optimised process efficiency is the goal. Some of the benefits are:
- Employee involvement and empowerment
- Consistency (reduction of variation) among staff members performing the work
- Improved efficiency without added stress
- Improved, consistent quality
- Reduction or elimination of errors and mistakes (causes of defects)
- Work process stability
- Improved removal of wastes
- Availability of a great tool for staff training
- Visual management-staff can see when processes are not operating normally
- A way of auditing a process
HOW DOES IT WORK:
Standards are more than a work instruction document – it’s created by the process users, based on customer requirements. Standards should answer the 5W+1H of a process – the who, what, when, where, why, and how. Who operates the process, and how many people does it take? What does the final service look like, what are the quality check points, what are the systems required to complete the job? When is the service completed and ready for the next step. Where is this process completed and what does this location look like.? Why is this step necessary or value-adding, or why is this a quality check point? And the “how” is the process that is followed, within the time and resource constraints. Overall, the process should not be unclear.
Standards are prepared by
- Collecting information to find the most efficient process sequence.
- Testing the sequence viability to ensure it can be repeated exactly and consistently
- Creating a work standard to help employees repeat the optimum work sequence.
Standards can be produced in numerous formats including: process maps, flow charts, instructions, training documents ideally including photographs, colours, and easy to follow information.
Lean often uses the term Standard Work to indicate a standardized process and sequence.