The advantages of Standard Work as the foundation for all lean, six sigma, and continuous improvement activities are limitless. Despite the importance of Standard Work, many manufacturing companies aren’t fully practicing it or don’t know how to implement it effectively.
Whether you work in manufacturing or another industry, the advantages of Standard Work are universal. We’ve compiled for you the 10 most important benefits of Standard Work.
“without standards, there can be no Kaizen.” – Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System (TPS)
1. More Effective Employee Training
Learning new procedures frequently relies on one-on-one job shadowing and apprenticeship programs, which are both costly and time consuming. Standard Work simplifies and speeds training and onboarding. New employees will be able to grasp new procedures quickly and the need for in-person training will be practically eliminated. Getting new employees up to speed no longer differs from trainer to trainer since each task is recorded to an agreed standard.
2. Less Waste & Scrap
Often, it is process inefficiencies that create waste and defects rather than human error. Companies are recognizing this and shifting the focus to a more positive culture of process improvement and preventative, risk-based thinking. As process improvement becomes central to companies, employees will also reflect more critically when performing certain procedures.
3. No more Tribal Knowledge
Best practices can’t be properly shared when information is only known by an individual or a small group of people, leaving firms relying on a small group of experienced workers to provide critical information (“tribal knowledge”). Standard Work enables businesses to unlock this data and share knowledge with all employees, minimizing employee turnover.
4. Minimize defects and process variation
It’s practically hard to ensure that frontline workers follow procedures consistently if no clear standards are in place. Standard work reduces deviations and defects by establishing a universal standard that employees actively participate in, so they can see when their activities deviate from the established procedure. Employee comprehension and retention of procedural information improves with these simple instructions. It’s time to put the focus on the process, not the person.
5. Scale Faster
Standard Work enables companies to scale operations and to train new employees fast. If done correctly, important resources are released that contribute to the growth of your business. Standards offer a foundation for progress and transfer tribal knowledge from a few individuals’ heads into a business asset that can be readily shared with new employees. Increase agility and scale faster with standard work. Standard Work allows a company to get the same outcome with one person once, or with a hundred individuals thousands of times.
6. Reduce Operational Costs
Standard Work enables companies to more equally divide resources by offering a clear picture of process flow and efficiency. Standardizing procedures makes it easy to assess where bottlenecks exist in your organization and to clearly define what the minimum work in progress (WIP) is to maintain a good workflow.
7. Boost Customer Satisfaction
Clear, aligned procedures reduce process variations, increasing customer satisfaction. Customers notice this through the higher and consistent product quality that is delivered. So standard work creates process improvements that give customers the quality they expect.
8. Keep up the Innovation
Continuous improvement and innovation is impossible to achieve if procedures and processes are not well-understood. Standard Work is an easy way to ensure improvement and operational excellence in a company.
9. More Ownership
Because employees are involved in the creation of standard work and procedures, they become invested in making sure that it truly reflects the best approach. As a result, they gain more say and ownership over the work they deliver on the factory floor.
10. Easy and Flexible Budget Planning
When you know exactly how much each step of the process will cost, you’ll have a lot more flexibility when it comes to preparing the company’s budget. Of course, there are some exceptions, particularly when dealing with malfunctioning of machines, equipment and other production challenges, but for the most part, the company can anticipate most of its projects to settle around a given cost range. When you handle your budget like a jigsaw puzzle, with perfectly fitted and aligned parts, it’ll be easier to make modifications afterwards.
Continuously improve the Standard
Standard work can bring a tremendous amount of benefits to a business, but sometimes its implementation can be laborious.
Azumuta is an industry-leading platform that helps companies improve processes, communication and procedures. Our tool is built to simplify the implementation of standard work so that there is less stress and defects across the board in the long run.