Friday, September 30, 2016

Standard Work: The Key to Optimizing Operational Activity

Standardized work is perhaps one of the most powerful lean tools that will have the most impact on your organization’s daily operational activities ─ yet, it is the least used lean tool of the Lean Manufacturing concept. Why? Well, most people get confused about the difference between standardized work and work standards.

  • Work Standard: A work standard is a written description of how a process should be done from start to finish. It guides consistent execution.
  • Standard (Standardized) Work: Standardized work is a process whose goal is kaizen. When you create standardized work, you are creating a method that is consistent for carrying out a series of tasks based on takt time. What is takt time? Takt time is the rate at which a team or an organization works to meet their customer’s volume of requirements. 

Standard Work and Lean Manufacturing
Standard Work is used in manufacturing to ensure the consistency, quality, and delivery of products to the customer. By documenting the current best practice, standardized work creates the baseline for kaizen and continuous improvement. As the standard is improved over time, the new enhanced standard becomes the new baseline for future improvements, and so on and so forth.

The Benefits of Standardized Work
Standardized Work enhances productivity and optimizes operational activities, as it:

  • Allows for easier and faster implementation of improvements/changes, as improvements become more routine
  • Enables rapid scalability    
  • Engages employees and increases ownership of responsibilities          
  • Enhances the ability to cost and price products accurately      
  • Ensures that work is done the current best way    
  • Improves training practices and saves money, as poor training is minimized
  • Increases customer satisfaction, as the goal is to ensure that consumers are getting 100% what they expected.   
  • Increases employee productivity, efficiency and value, resulting in increased employee satisfaction  
  • Increases predictability of results and makes work more measurable  
  • Reduces organizational stress within the workplace      

Standard Work demonstrates to all functional levels within an organization how structure promotes change, creativity and flexibility. Not only do workers within the manufacturing sector feel they benefit from standardized work, but so do their customers! Standardized work provides a win-win situation.

The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center will lead the way to your standardization skills and prowess. Count on us to help you count your time and materials savings. To learn more, click here. Sign up for The Center’s Standard Work course scheduled for November 1, 2016.

About Us
Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services fitted to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at on the web at

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