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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Standardized Work:   Establishing precise procedures for each operator’s work in a production process, based on 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.  Standardized work, once established and displayed at workstations, is the object of continuous improvement through kaizen. The benefits of standardized work include documentation of the current process for all shifts, reductions in variability, easier training of new operators, reductions in More »
Standardized Work or Kaizen? Yes
By: John Y. Shook | December 12, 2018
Some lean folks LOVE to quote the Taiichi Ohno observation that “there is no kaizen without standards," notes John Shook, adding that it is less noted but equally true that “there is no maintenance of standards without kaizen.  ” More »
Standardized Work for Kaizen: Define, Achieve, Maintain, Improve
By: Tracey Richardson | January 7, 2014
We can all agree that kaizen (continuous improvement to create more value with less waste) is important, but do you have standardized work for kaizen? What are the actual process steps for kaizen? More »
Standardized Work Job Instruction Sheet
December 6, 2012
Forms and Templates
The job instruction sheet is used to train new operations. It lists the steps of the job, detailing any special knack that may be required to perform the job safely with utmost quality and efficiency. It can also be useful for experienced operators to reconfirm the right operations.  The job instruction sheet is one of three basic forms for creating standardized work, along with the standardized work chart and standardized work combination table. The purpose of standardized work, according to Kaizen Express from which this form is taken, is to provide a basis for continuous improvement through kaizen.  Kaizen Express, More »
Standardized Work in Machine-Intensive Processes
By: Ballé, Michael | August 4, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Most lean literature and case studies to date focus on assembly type manufacturing which utilizes very people-intensive operations. This is not the case in the machine-intensive process industries and therefore has major implications on the format of standardized work. Can you shed some light on what standardized work should look like in the process industries? More »
Standardized Work: The Foundation for Kaizen
Standardized work is one of the most powerful but least used lean tool. Learn how documenting the current best practice (standardized work) forms the baseline for kaizen or continuous improvement. More »
Creating Standardized Work to Ensure Safety, Quality, and Efficiency
By: Lean Leaper | May 13, 2020
A Lean Global Network team of lean practitioners and coaches shares a set of lean healthcare tips hospitals can use today to support their battle against Covid-19. Part 3 of a 7 part series, Fighting Covid-19 with Lean Healthcare. More »
New Book Explains How to Create “Steady Work” in Unsteady Times with Standardized Work Cadences
By: Karen Gaudet and Chet Marchwinski | April 6, 2020
In Steady Work, the new book from the Lean Enterprise Institute, author and former Starbucks’ Regional Manager Karen Gaudet offers astute business guidance for turbulent times and a heartfelt personal story about how the continuous improvement operating system revitalized the retailer during the global financial crisis and helped employees in Newtown, CT, get through the worst week of their lives. More »
Is my crazy new boss right that applying standardized work is the foundation of lean?
By: Michael Ballé | October 7, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  My new boss is a lean fanatic crazy about standards. He’s created a new team to audit standards and is telling us that applying standardized work is the foundation of lean. It’s creating a lot of resistance, and I don’t know what to make of it. More »
How Standardized Work Integrates People With Process
By: John Shook | April 1, 2019
In this three part series on SW, John Shook argues that "the Toyota Way is a socio-technical system on steroids. A test for all our lean systems is the question of how well we integrate people with process (the social with the technical). Nowhere does that come together more than in the form of standardized work and kaizen.  " More »
Surfer Culture Meets Standardized Work
By: Doug Bartholomew | July 16, 2015
Can surfing instructors and students really learn standardized work? Read the surprising story of how lean coach Sammy Obara worked with Pacific Surfing School to improve their teaching process and better train new surfers (and what leadership had to do with it). More »
How is standardized work different from the Taylorist one best way?
By: Ballé, Michael | October 19, 2014
Columns; eLetters
How is standardized work different from the Taylorist one best way? More »
Implementing Standardized Work at ThyssenKrupp in Brazil
January 12, 2009
A case study prepared by the Lean Enterprise Institute Brazil focuses on implementing standardized work at two work stations in a ThyssenKrupp, Brazil, auto parts plant. The article includes an overview of standardized work concepts, how they were applied, the results, plus the forms used for implementation. More »
Emerging Stronger
By: John Y. Shook | April 30, 2020
Columns; eLetters
Learn how GE Appliances and Herman Miller leverage lean practice to design new standardized work for assembly to ensure a safe working environment for employees. More »
Lean in the Time of Coronavirus
By: Tom Ehrenfeld and James P. Womack | March 9, 2020
While lean offers no direct countermeasure to tackling the current coronavirus health challenge, Jim Womack points out in this podcast that key lean practices such as just-in-time supply chains should not be mistakenly viewed as compromised practices that contribute to maladaptive responses. More »
Standardization Can Set You Free
By: Karen Gaudet | February 21, 2020
It is only through actually standardizing the routine work elements by applying a common method of thinking, that enables true problem solving and drives innovation. Along the journey to standardizing the work as a leader you are faced to grapple with preconceived notions and urban legends that likely have long caused struggle for your team. More »
Standardize Locally
By: Josh Howell | October 15, 2019
Columns; eLetters
A few weeks ago, during a day-long meeting with an executive management team, the topic of standardized work came up … again. It’s been popping up in conversations rather frequently of late.    More »
I don’t get kanban -- I don’t work in production so how would it apply to one-off work?
By: Michael Ballé | July 29, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  I feel that I still don’t get kanban. I don’t work in production, and I fail to see how stock replenishment would apply to one-off work. More »
Standardize Your Problem-Solving Approach? Why One Size Does Not Fit All
By: Art Smalley | January 30, 2019
Lean management practitioners know what a powerful tool standardization is for continuously improving processes. Without standards, there can be no improvement as the old saying goes. Yet as LEI faculty member and author Art Smalley points out this does not only mean one rigid way of doing things such as standardizing your problem-solving approach on only a single methodology like six sigma or 8D or a specific technique like 5 Why? More »
A (Work) Pie in the Face to All Bad Jobs
By: John Y. Shook | December 12, 2017
Want Better Employees? Be a Better Employer More »
Advice from the Gemba: Standardizing Work for Leaders with Varied Tasks
By: Jean Cunningham, Karen Gaudet and Sammy Obara | May 12, 2017
How, many people ask LEI, can you possibly standardize a leader's work when even they can't predict what their work will look like on a given day? The answer: by adopting the right approach. Three LEI faculty members weigh in. More »
Accelerating Justice with Lean Forensics
By: Heather Jamieson | February 16, 2017
One of our most popular subjects on The Lean Post is the use of lean in unorthodox places. But one gemba that we have yet to discuss on the Post is crime laboratories. You might be surprised to learn that they are prime candidates for lean transformations, being the process-heavy environments they are. Heather Jamieson explains. More »
Muda Corporation: The Pitfalls of 5S
By: Marius Gil | February 14, 2017
In the latest installment of his "Muda Corporation" series, Marius Gil shares nine common mistakes he has seen people make with 5S. More »
Cowabunga! Implementing Lean at a Surfing School
By: Sammy Obara | November 17, 2016
Lean is difficult for many companies to grasp at first, often due to the cultural shift. If the organization's people are used to a more laid-back, "looser" style of operations, the standards, metrics and procedures associated with lean may seem overwhelming and lead to resistance. Pacific Surf School of San Diego, Cali. was no exception to this all-too-common resistance. Here's Sammy Obara on how he managed to break through this resistance and save the school from imminent closure. More »
100 Years of Innovation in the Work Animation
By: John Shook | September 20, 2016
Videos and Webinars
Learn how innovating the work is the cornerstone of lean. More »
You Need More Smoke Detectors: Countering Firefighting with Leader Standard Work
By: Aaron Hunt | July 27, 2016
Excessive firefighting is a major threat to lean transformations - it may seem easier to time-strapped managers, but it does nothing to foster a culture of problem-solving thinkers. Aaron Hunt of Washington Health System knows this all too well, and now shares his organization's favorite firefighting deterrent. More »
Establishing Lean Healthcare Believers When Professional Society Allegiance Impedes Engagement
By: Kathryn G. Correia and Lean Leaper | June 16, 2016
When implementing lean in a healthcare organization, it's not uncommon to encounter resistance from medical professionals set in their traditional ways. Resistance is natural in any lean transformation, but Kathryn Correia has pinpointed a root cause of healthcare lean resistance that goes much deeper than your standard skepticism. Read more. More »
Standard Work Roundup
By: Tom Ehrenfeld | June 8, 2016
Several terrific articles have appeared recently, emphasizing the importance and complexity of a key lean practice: standard (or standardized) work, which we’ll call SW. So we decided to bundle them into a broader roundup of key pieces about this essential practice. More »
Ask Art: What’s So Important About Standard Work?
By: Art Byrne | May 19, 2016
Standard work is one of the cornerstones of a lean transformation. But that doesn't necessarily mean it's fully appreciated. "People often have a hard time with the idea of standard work," writes Art Byrne. "They complain that they are not robots, that everyone is different with different capabilities.  " In his latest installment of "Ask Art," Art revisits standard work and its critical importance in lean. More »
Even Visual Management Starts from Need
By: Mark Hamel | March 31, 2016
Have you ever implement a visual management tool at your gemba after seeing it used successfully somewhere else? If so, according to Mark Hamel, you "probably violated a major tenet of lean. [You] did not start from need. [You] started by copying someone else’s stuff.  " Every visual management tool needs to be situational to address your specific needs. Read more. More »
My Lean Journey: The 5Ss
By: Cameron Ford | October 14, 2015
Do you remember the first time you realized the true potential of lean in improving work output? Lean newcomer Cam Ford does - here's his story of the very first lean concept he ever used and how it helped him almost from Day 1. More »
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