Standardize Work

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Standardized work is one of the most powerful but least used lean tools. By documenting the current best practice, standardized work forms the baseline for kaizen or continuous improvement. As the standard is improved, the new standard becomes the baseline for further improvements, and so on. Improving standardized work is a never-ending process. Basically, standardized work consists of three elements:

• Takt time, which is the rate at which products must be made in a process to meet customer demand • The precise work sequence in which an operator performs tasks within takt time • The standard inventory, including units in machines, required to keep the process operating smoothly Establishing standardized work relies on collecting and recording data on a few forms. These forms are used by engineers and front-line supervisors to design the process and by operators to make improvements in their own jobs. In this workshop you'll learn how to use these forms and why it will be difficult to make your lean implementations “stick” without standardized work. Benefits:

The benefits of standardized work include documentation of the current process for all shifts, reductions in variability, easier training of new operators, reductions in injuries and strain, and a baseline for improvement activities. Standardizing the work adds discipline to the culture, an element that is frequently neglected but essential for lean to take root. Standardized work is also a learning tool that supports audits, promotes problem solving, and involves team members in developing poka-yokes. Standardization has been ingrained into most business activities to uniformly produce products and deliver services at the lowest cost, the highest quality, complete safety and to the total satisfaction of our customers.    The standard represents the best way of doing things.  You examine the way the person with the highest skill does something and that becomes the standard for others to follow. Standardized Work as used at Toyota has a simple but very powerful variation of standardization. A standard should be a unit of excellence something that should always be strived for.  At most companies, the standard represented the best way work should be done, the correct procedure to produce a product or to deliver a service. It was there in theory but often neglected in practice. When I owned Productivity Inc. - Press I wanted standards to be set up, written down and then placed into a notebook.  But, in my mind, truly, the standard represented my "security blanket," for if a person left the company their knowledge of how to do things would not be lost to the company.  It was a false sense of security for as soon you write something down it immediately changes, and rarely, if ever, would you take the notebook off the shelf and update it.  When I first visited Toyota Gosei, a  Toyota subsidiary producing, steering wheels, dashboards and rubber products for Toyota automobiles, I noticed a woman on the factory floor putting nozzles onto rubber hoses. In front of her was a piece of wood around one inch thick and two feet by two feet. Onto the wood was the exact procedure of how the nozzle was to be inserted onto the hose. Also on the wood were examples of the perfect finished piece of hose plus variations of hoses with errors. There were also the quality tolerances for her to check and there was space for her to write both the problems she detected and also a place for her to write her suggestions on how to improve the process. Most things that amazed me at Toyota was not the automation or high tech but those things that were very simple that helped people not machines do a better job.  Standardized work are simple documents found everywhere at Toyota to help people do a job of excellence.  There is a standard on how to greet people when they come into the company, a standard on how to process an...
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