I received an email from a blog reader, which asked:
I just found your blog on Lean and I am hoping you can offer me some help. I have searched everywhere but cannot find a sample of the format used for standardized work. Do you have one you can share or can you point me in the right direction?
– Michael O.
I would point out two references that have examples of Standard Work templates, plus I own both books and recommend them:
Standard Work for the Shopfloor This book is a very practical guidebook that covers all details of standard work, including templates, hints and tips.
The Toyota Way Fieldbook is an excellent reference that covers standard work, plus all other core lean and TPS concepts and tools.
A few other tips on standard work:
- Standard work is not meant to be carved in stone. Unlike “Standard Operating Procedures” (SOP's) or ISO-9001 documents, they do not go into binders that gather dust. “Standard work is the basis for kaizen” is the Toyota philosophy that standard work is the current “best way” to do something. It should be improved on by the team.
- Standard work should be written by the team, not by your engineers. Engineers might have input, but the core source of standard work should be the people who actually work with that process.
- Standard work is meant to be posted visually. It's not necessarily for the workers who know the job. I heard someone say once that “standard work is for the managers.” If you are a manager or supervisor, you need to be able to see if standard work is being followed. For this reason, standard work is often posted on the outside of the workcell, not in the workers' faces on the inside of the cell.
- Standard work isn't just for assembly workers or the “low” level of the organization. All of us have parts of our job that are routine and can be standardized. Supervisors should have standard work for their gemba walks, meetings, and administrative activities. Typically, as you go higher up n an organization, less of your day is “standard.”
- You should have standard work for your standard work. Use a standard template and format so the standard work documents can be recognized by managers or outsiders. In one factory, we always used light blue paper for our standard work documents, that helped them stand out. Have standard work for how you create and update your standard work. Practice what you preach, lean folks!
- As an aside… my consulting group has “standard work” for many of our activities. While we can't follow an identical cookbook approach since every client and situation is different, we try to standardize tools and general methodology, which benefits us in many ways. On the left hand side of this page, you'll see that I even attempt to have standard work for my blog.
- Standard work typically contain:
- Takt time
- Working sequence (and times to complete each task)
- Standard Work-in-Process (SWIP)
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