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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 is a Goal To Work Toward, Not a Tool to Implement
By: Jeffrey Liker | January 5, 2021
Columns
Standardized work can be an ugly thing in the hands of control-oriented bureaucrats and a beautiful thing when it enables creativity and continuous improvement, says Jeff Liker, adding that enabling bureaucracy takes more effort, but it is worth it. More »
Standardized Work or Kaizen? Yes
By: John Shook | December 12, 2018
Columns
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
Columns
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 Business Processes
By: Ballé, Michael | August 11, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: How about standardized work in a business process environment? For example, in a procurement process or supply chain processes? There are not many books/articles on standardized work in a transactional environment. Please help to shed some light on how we should approach standardized work in business processes. 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
Workshops
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Dear Gemba Coach: How is standardized work different from the Taylorist one best way? More »
Five Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work (Part 3 of 3)
By: Shook, John | October 27, 2009
Columns; eLetters
In the last two columns, I introduced five neglected aspects of standardized work. Several people quickly requested a column on what, exactly, SW is. Here's a quick introductory outline, following LEI's Three P framework of Purpose, Process, and People. Incorporate these things when setting about to establish standardized work. More »
Five Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work (Part 2 of 3)
By: Shook, John | October 20, 2009
Columns; eLetters
Last column we looked at the first three of my Five Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work. Let's pick up where we left off, with Neglected Piece Number Four -- practice. More »
Five Missing Pieces in Your Standardized Work (Part 1 of 3)
By: Shook, John | October 14, 2009
Columns; eLetters
So, how is your standardized work (SW) implementation going? Responses to that usually paint an ugly picture. Here’s what I frequently hear: “We just don’t have the discipline Toyota has to make SW work.  " "We put it in place but the people don’t follow… More »
Implementing Standardized Work at ThyssenKrupp in Brazil
January 12, 2009
Articles
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 »
The Hidden Value of Filling Out the Paperwork
By: Josh Howell | September 15, 2020
Columns
Respect for people--and sustained continuous improvement--begins with something as simple as carefully filling out the paperwork for standardized work, says Josh Howell. More »
No Standard, No Problem? Not Really. It’s a Big Problem
By: David Verble | September 8, 2020
Columns
Learn why the A3 is more than a problem-solving tool, and why it's critical to leading change. More »
The Art of Lean: Use These Tools to Help You Improve a Process, Part 2
By: Art Smalley | September 4, 2020
Columns
Take a closer look into this four-step approach that will help you "pinpoint the tricky parts" of a process as you work to improve it, says Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Inc. 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
Columns
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
Columns
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
Articles
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 Shook | December 12, 2017
Columns
Want Better Employees? Be a Better Employer More »
What does “separation of human work and machine work” mean?
By: Balle, Michael | November 29, 2017
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I’ve been trying to learn more about Jidoka and I keep coming across references to “separation of human work and machine work” but I’m not sure what this means – any pointers?  More »
Webinar: The Real Work of Management
By: Jim Lancaster | May 16, 2017
Videos and Webinars
The Real Work of Management webinar featuring Jim Lancaster, author of The Work Management. More »
Advice from the Gemba: Standardizing Work for Leaders with Varied Tasks
By: Jean Cunningham, Karen Gaudet and Sammy Obara | May 12, 2017
Columns
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 »
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