CI Tools

What are the best practices to create standard work? What are the standard work documents?

Standard work documentation is important to record the right and only way to complete a process.  Although they are not a training tool by itself, it provides clear, simple, accurate, and complete information to support training.  Standard work is the foundation for improvements if they are not documented, that foundation is weak, and it will not drive the desired change.

The following are best practices to create standard work documentation.

  • The people who do the work participates in the process
  • Include all relevant information on one, easy-to-read document
  • Keep it simple and use visualization if possible.
  • Make the documentation accessible
  • Set clear expectations regarding revisions and improvements

There are different types or formats to document standard work.  The best format is the one that works for you, as long as it follows best practices and it contains the three components of standard work.

  • Job sequence
  • Rate at which products must be produced to meet customer demand
  • Standard work-in-process inventory quantity

The following are examples of different templates or forms for standard work documentation.

Standard Work DocumentationDescription
Process capacity sheetDefines the available capacity
Standardized combination tableDefines the work of one operator during the process cycle, it describes what the operator is doing and when it is doing it.
Standardized Work ChartIt is a simple layout of the work area that shows the flow of the worker, information, and materials through it while keeping the production rate to meet customer demand.
Work instructionThere are different formats but in general, they contain step by step information to do the work.  They have a combination of words and pictures or drawings, to describe the step.  They also contain important tips for things that can make or break the job, safety, and quality.  
ChecklistThis simple document can have two different uses, to confirm that everything was done or to check as you carry out the task.
Visual aidSimple instructions using pictures or drawings to show the steps of the process.  They are posted at the point of use.
Memory joggerThese can be a group of laminated cards with general guidelines, settings, or other information that is not used very frequently.  

The first three worksheets on the table above are used in Toyota to facilitate the documentation of standard work.  Their use is fairly common in manufacturing, but not in the service industry.  The other examples listed are common everywhere.  You can use different types of templates to document your processes but be consistent on when you use each type and the format of the documents itself.  You do not want to confuse the employees.  

Standard work documentation is important to record the safest, highest quality, and the most efficient way known to perform a task.  They reduce variation and improve consistency.  This document is the baseline for future improvements.  It is important to emphasize that standards exist to be improved.  After you create a new standard, you wait until the process is stable and improve it again.  

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