We need standards in our work areas to provide a guide for our employees to do their job. Standard work is a simple written description of the safest, highest quality, and most efficient way known to perform a particular task. Once a standard is established it becomes the only acceptable way to do the process it describes. Standards are not written in stone, the expectation is to improve them continuously.
When creating standard work is important to focus on the employee and not the equipment or materials. We are looking to ensure effective consistent work. Involve a group of your employees to help on building the standard, this will minimize the resistance and increase the chances of identifying the best process.
A famous quote attributed to Taiichi Ohno says “Without standards, there can be no kaizen”. If you don’t know how you are doing something or if you are not consistent on the way you are doing it there is no way you can do it better. Standard work is the foundation of continuous improvement, yet it is the piece of the improvement that many organizations fail to implement. In companies where the average employee have five years or more of experience and the turn over rate is very low, managers feel that standards are not necessary because everybody knows their jobs and they do not hire new employees very often.
But, is everybody doing things in the same way? What is going to happen when that very talented and very experienced team retire? How you make sure you retain their knowledge? That is where standard procedures came very handy, they document the best way to do the work and provide an excellent tool for new hires and to ensure there is only one way to do things.