Standard Work

October 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

I understand that the blog title is rather provocative. So after some discussions and feedback over email I though I would explain more my inspiration behind the title. I hope readers don’t get that I don’t believe in standard work, but rather in constantly improving existing standards. The best way I can describe this philosophy is repeating what Taiichi Ohno said in his book Workplace management:

“There is something called standard work, but standards should be changed constantly. Instead, if you think of the standard as the best you can do, it’s all over. The standard work is only a baseline for doing further kaizen. It is kai-aku [change for the worse] if things get worse than now, and it is kaizen[change for the better] if things get better than now. Standards are set arbitrarily by humans, so how can they not change?

You should not create these(standards) away from the job. See what is happening on the gemba and write it down.

When creating Standard Work, it will be difficult to establish a standard if you are trying to achieve ‘the best way.’ This is a big mistake. Document exactly what you are doing now. If you make it better than it is now, it is kaizen. If not, and you establish the best possible way, the motivation for kaizen will be gone.”

I like the line about creating standards at the work site. So you should question when management team goes offsite for multiple days to come up with new standards for running your organization :).

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