The no-nonsense guide to standard work

Posted on May 1, 2012 by


the works by shaunamey, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  shaunamey 

In this post I’m going to breifly explore standard work; what it is and waht it isnt.

Standardized Work is an agreed upon set of work procedures that establish the best method and sequences for each process. It defines the interaction of people using processes to produce a product. It is centered around human movements, it outlines efficient, safe work methods and helps eliminate muda/waste.

Standardized Work in processing and assembly, maintains quality and provides safer and faster operations while ensuring proper use of equipment and machinery. It is also the foundation for kaizen in production. It organizes and defines worker movements.

Traditionally, work standards were imposed on a workforce. Industrial engineers studied the work and then told workers what needed to be done and how much time each task should require. While this information could be valuable, it ignored the all-important employee ownership element that can drive genuine and ongoing change. Standardized work, on the other hand, centers on the fact that workers themselves understand the best ways to perform their jobs. Employees, not “outsiders,” study the jobs they know intimately in order to uncover best practices and create methodologies for continuous process improvement. Thus they become responsible for solving problems and own the standards that result.

Humans are great at adaptability but lousy at consistency. While adapting operators develop ‘best practices’ that are used to make production more efficient and hopefully easier. Many companies hold kaizen Events to promote and build new and better ways of thinking and operating. Like with any other improvement effort, if not constantly maintained it will erode over time.

Standardized Work ensures that these ‘best practices’ are not lost over time and are available to set the standard for all employees (new and old) to live by.

Prerequisites of Standardized Work

  • Takt Time
  • Working Sequence
  • Standard Work in Process

Takt Time: It is important not to confuse takt time with cycle time. Cycle time is the minimum time it takes the operator to perform one cycle of work. Takt time is the time in which one part is to be made.

TT = total operating time available / customer requirement

Working Sequence: the order in which work is done in a given process.

Standard Work in Process: the minimum number of workpieces/units necessary to proceed with a given process.

This is a nice presentation on standardized work. Detailed downloads on standardized work are available here.

Posted in: Lean, TPS