Standard Work, what are the best practices to create them?

standard work is the base for improvements

Standard work documentation is important to record the right and only way to complete a process.  This document provides clear, simple, accurate, and complete information to support training.  Standard work is the foundation for improvements. If the foundation is weak, it will not drive the desired change.

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 of formats to document standard work.  Follow the best practices to create one that works for you and contains the three components of standard work.

  • Job sequence
  • The rate at which products must be produced to meet customer demand
  • Work-in-process inventory quantity

Types of Standard Work Documents

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 instructionA work instruction contains step by step information to do the work.  It has a combination of words and pictures or drawings to describe each step.  It also contains 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.  

Importance of these documents

Create standard work documentation is important to record the safest, highest quality, and the most efficient way known to perform a task.  This document is the baseline for future improvements.  They reduce variation and improve consistency.