CI 101

What is ​Standard Work?

You need to measure what you want to improve. A metric is a measurement you use to track and assess the condition of a process. It gives you information about how the process is working and provides a baseline for improvements. After each improvement cycle, the resulting value is the new goal for your process parameter.

You use the current value of a metric or process parameter to know whether the process meets the goal or it needs adjustment. For example, the safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165° Fahrenheit. That value is the process parameter goal. If at the end of the process the actual temperature is 165° or more, the chicken is safely cooked. If it is less than 165°, you need to adjust. In this case, you adjust the process by cooking the chicken a little longer until it reaches the goal. How do you get the expected results every time?

In this example, you have a recipe. That document states all the ingredients and the instructions to cook the chicken. It includes the oven temperature setting and a range of time to cook the chicken. Also, it includes the process parameter goal, the cooking temperature for the chicken. This goal is the standard, a target established by an authority as a measure of quantity, weight, value, or quality that will determine the success of the process.  If you follow those instructions, every time the chicken will be cooked and will taste about the same.

Standard Work (SW) is a simple written description to perform a task. SW is the safest, highest quality, and most efficient way to execute a particular task. Once you establish SW, it becomes the only acceptable way to do the process it describes. It contains the sequence of steps to complete the task, the rate at which products must be completed to meet customer demand, and the standard amount of work in process inventory.  The sequence of steps contains also vital information that can break or make the process, such as the process parameters, and their goals.

Update the standard work every time a process parameter or the steps change. Training for Supervisors and employees is critical to ensure everybody follows the standard. After training, it is time to improve again!

CI 101

Do you know what a process is?

A process is a series of steps or activities necessary to achieve a goal. Some examples are: cooking, plan an event, create an invoice, and checking out in a store. Everything that we do in steps is a process. Each business consists of processes that together make possible the delivery of a product or service. The effectiveness of those processes and how they work with each other are a big part of business success.

Is your business receiving bad ratings for poor service? Are people complaining because they receive something other than what they ordered? Are you missing deadlines? If you answer yes to any of those questions, then you need to improve those processes as soon as possible. The inefficiency of one or more of them or the flow between them is affecting your pocket. If you adopt continuous improvement, you will create small improvements frequently. That will keep your processes efficient and effective.

The first step to improve business processes is to identify what areas need change and prioritize. Complete an assessment of your business processes. Identify what is working well and what is not. What processes are affecting your organization or customers? Map the process you chose to improve first. With a process map, you can visualize the sequence of steps. Analyze where the flow stops, and see if there are delays or waiting time. What step takes longer to complete? Why does that happen? It is important to find the true cause of these problems to avoid recurrence.

Ask your employees for feedback, involve them in the analysis and innovation. Design a new process based on your findings. Implement and communicate the reason for those changes. After the implementation, you need to review the results. Is it working? Are you getting the expected results? If the answer is yes, then you are ready to tackle the next item on your priority list.

Are you ready to start? Practice continuous improvement to keep making your processes and your business better. Contact Better Process Solutions if you need help to start your improvements!

This article was originally posted in Organization and Efficiency Solutions.