Standard Work Instructions

Standards are rules or examples respected and established by a recognized authority based on customs or consensus.​ A lean manufacturing standard, for example, aims to provide a consistent way to approach a manufacturing task, which is documented and presented in the form of standard work instructions. All standards are open to changes as workers identify ways to improve on them. In this course, learners discover the processes and benefits of standard work instructions.


How Standard Work Supports Lean Principles

Standard work directly supports the five principles that guide all lean process improvement efforts. Find out how this methodology relates to each of these principles:

  • High agreement
  • Waste elimination
  • Observing work
  • Systematic problem solving
  • Promotion of learning

Clearly defined standards are a powerful lean management tool because they enable observers who haven’t been personally involved with the work previously to determine whether it complies with established standards.

Number of Modules: 1  / Approximate run time: 40 minutes

Developing Standard Work Instructions

Learn how to develop a standard work instruction for any type of lean environment. Begin by defining the standard and then testing it by completing work according to the criteria. Identify whether the results are desirable and, if not, analyze the work and modify the standards until the right result occurs. Find out how to design a standard work instruction template for the specific commercial, industrial, or manufacturing operations work area to ensure that all instructions use the same format for continuity purposes.

Benefits of Standard Work Instructions

The use of standard work instructions in a lean operations environment provides a single source of information for all parties to follow and offers multiple benefits for lean organizations. These include:

  • Reduced output variability 
  • Higher predictability of success
  • Clarification of procedures to follow
  • Better communication between workers
  • Faster identification of deviation and potential problems
  • Increased awareness of processes
  • A good base for education and training of employees

Following standard work instructions boosts process improvement and empowers organizations to follow lean management principles. This methodology reduces waste by eliminating variations that occur when different people complete the same task in different ways.  

A common approach drives waste elimination by eliminating the variation that occurs when three different people complete the same task three different ways.  When standardized work is used, those three individuals will complete the task precisely the same way, producing consistency of output.

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