The Job Breakdown Sheet is used as part of the Job Instruction program to breakdown the job into the smaller steps that make it up. By doing this, we make it easier to understand and learn each step at a time. The form provides space to analyze each step (what you do) by explaining the key points (how you do it) and the reasons (why you do it that way).
Job Breakdown Sheet example
Let’s use one example to explain better how to use the sheet. The process or operation that I will use as an example is how to cook a sunny-side egg.
The top of the form contains the heading, which is general information. This information describes the process and what you need to do the job. You will need to list all ingredients, materials, equipment, and tools need to cook two eggs.
The breakdown section has the job steps, those that advance the work, change or transform the materials or ingredients, or adds value. Use action verbs or phrases to start the description of each step. For each one, add the corresponding Key Points and Reasons.
The Key Points explain how to do the steps along with critical information that will help to avoid injuries, ensure the quality of the product, or make the job easier. To add this information, use adjectives or adverbs. The section called Reason explains why the step exists. When you take time to explain to people why it is critical to do something, they understand the job better and are more inclined to follow the instruction. The Why section is meaningful because it is used to support safety, quality, delivery, or cost objectives.
Please, see below the breakdown example. You can use it as a reference to breakdown one of your jobs.
One of our responsibilities as leaders is to keep our team and customers safe. These days that means that we have to incorporate the CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public areas and workplaces. How can we make sure that our staff follows the instructions? How do we redesign our processes to ensure the appropriate distancing? To ensure effective procedures, you will need to create standard work to ensure understanding and execution, as well as communication and training.
In my post Standardization and problems, how to create standard work to reduce problems?, I mentioned the general steps to create standard work. The first step is to understand the process for which we will develop the standard work. Although maybe you want to go straight to creating the standard, the right way to do it is to improve the process first. Why? Because if you currently have problems, it is because the process needs improvements. The following are the three steps to understand the process.
Identify and learn the process
Understand the job sequence
Find out the process parameters
Identify and learn the process
Ask what is the purpose of this process, what is supposed to accomplish? What is the value for the customer? Does the current pandemic affect what the customer wants? It is important to have a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish with this process, what is the target condition you expect from it.
Go to the place where value is created, where the action happens, what in lean we call the gemba. Study the process without going into specifics, take a general look at the flow of materials and people. If you would like to minimize the areas on which employees and customers cross each other, drawing a spaghetti chart will help you to visualize those patterns. You can use the same tool to see how the information or materials travel through the process. Identify where the flow stops, look for waste, such as waiting, delays, excess inventory, and others. Respectfully ask your team about those areas, how they feel, what they think? Take note to remember those key points that you will use while understanding the job sequence.
Understand the Job Sequence
Armed with general knowledge about the process, break the job down into smaller logical steps. We use the template called “Job Breakdown Sheet” to document this part. This sheet is from the Job Instruction program, which is part of the leadership development program Training Within Industry.
A step is a logical segment of the operation when something happens to advance the job. The job advances when it changes form, fit, function, or adds value. For each step, you will fill out what, how, and why. What is the section where the step description goes.
Key points are important pieces of information that can make or break the job. On this section, you listed what is important to ensure safety, achieve quality, or make the job easier. Include the best practices to perform the step as part of the key points. The last section is to explain the why for each key point. It is easier to remember a step, if you know why it is important. Also, this is a good place to explain why the best practices are important, how they are aligned with safety, quality, delivery and safety objectives.
Find out the process parameters
After you learned the work sequence, it is time to add more information that will help to develop the new job method. One of the components of standard work is the rate at which products must be produced to meet customer demand. To get this number, you need to know the customer demand. Another piece of information that you need to gather at this time is cycle time, how much it takes to complete the job sequence.
In my next posts, I will explain more about the tools I mentioned here, the spaghetti chart and the Job Breakdown Sheet.
Standard Work (SW) is a simple written description of the safest, highest quality, and most efficient way to execute a particular task. Once established, it becomes the only acceptable way to do the process it describes. Effective documentation and training are key to standard work success. Use a template to ensure that all the standard work or work instructions look and contain the same parts or components.
The three components
Job sequence to complete the job
The rate at which products must be produced to meet customer demand (takt time)
The standard amount of work in process inventory
Relevant information to include with the job sequence
Key points related to anything that can make or break the job
Information that addresses safety issues or risks
Instructions or knowledge that help performance such as, what makes the job easier or ensure quality.
Explains why the step is important
Characteristics of effective work instructions
Simple and clear, easy to understand by everybody.
Complete, it shows the steps to do the job and other relevant information.
Accurate, the document reflects the current process.
Concise, it contains important information only.
A work instruction is not effective, regardless of how good the document is if the training is not adequate. If your idea of training is to bring a group of people to a room to read the work instruction, you should rethink the training method. How effective do you think this type of training is? How can you be sure that everybody understood the instructions?
The work instruction by itself is not a training tool, it needs to be supported by other teaching methods. To be effective, the instructor should tell and show how to do the job. The following are some general guidelines.
Demonstrate the job step by step while explaining the key points and why things are done a certain way.
Repeat the steps as many times as you think it is necessary before asking the employee to try.
Observe the employee doing the job.
Ask to explain the key concepts and whys, make sure they understand.
Follow-up on their performance, observe and correct if it is necessary.
Create a safe and respectful environment.
Make sure they know who to ask if they have doubts or find a problem.
Check-in with the employee often, until you are completely sure that he/she understands the job.
Many organizations fail to implement standard work. As a result, perceived gains through Kaizen may be lost over time, and the status quo prevails. The standard work is not set in stone, it is the baseline for continuous improvement. When the process change, the standard work is updated.
Standard work is important to ensure everybody follows the same guidelines, and the process is stable. That way, the customer will consistently receive their product or service on time, with the best quality, and at the lower possible cost.