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Standardized Work and Standard Work procedures

Standardization of work practices allows process steps to be decomposed and optimized into simple easy to follow steps that any operator can easily perform. Standardized practices allow operators and workers to perform tasks the same way every time by using a set standard and clearly defined process which combines and uses different resources effectively such as time, technology, tools on shadow boards and raw materials.

Documentation and creation of standard work procedures

Different organizations and operating sites will implement standardized procedures in different ways, and document these differently. The most common way to develop, document and uses standardized tasks are through standard operating procedures or SOP's, but other methods are also widely used such as One Point Lessons (OPL's). Usually the components of a standard procedure will include the following items:

-Location or work site of the task being described

-The type of task such as a production, maintenance, or service task

-Document date and name of person writing the standard operating procedure, a review date may also be included

-A clearly defined step by step guide on how the task should be carried out

-Photographs or diagrams on how to carry out the procedure

-A sign of review or approval by relevant knowledgeable employee or manager who is experienced and fully understands the task to be carried out

Benefits of standardized work procedures

Decomposing any process into clearly defined tasks can achieve consistency, reliability, increase throughput and OEE by having process workers performing the task in the same way. The process can be further analysed and optimized by applying different lean techniques to further achieve cost saving efficiencies. These standard tasks or sequence of tasks documented into standard operating procedures and simpler tasks or standards in one point lessons, should form the basis for training new operators and staff in performing a task and as a performance and quality measurement tool.

The benefits of standard work procedures are not only confined to manufacturing or production processes, many other industries have realized the value of having a standard way of performing tasks and eliminating ambiguity in how staff approach the different processes they perform. Some of these industries include the fast food industry, service industries such as processing insurance claims and hotel booking systems to name a few.

Some of the most measurable benefits to an organization using standard work procedures include:

-Reduced re-work due to errors in the production process or discrepancies between production operators

-Reduced wasted time looking for tools, documents, or required inputs to complete tasks

-Better more comprehensive training procedures for new staff and re-training of existing operators

-Improved quality if implemented throughout the production process and focus on quality at the source

These benefits will not be visible right away but will create a more organized, skilled, efficient and reliable process that will yield better quality products and services and will eliminate waste by providing an efficient way of operating and training staff in performing value adding tasks in a reliable and structured manner every time.

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