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LSS 006 | 5 Prerequisites That Should Be in Place to Ensure Success with Standard Work

standard work prerequisitesTaiichi Ohno once said, “Without standards, there can be no kaizen.”

The question is, how do we go about creating standards and Standard Work?  Are there prerequisites?  The short answer is yes.

There are most definitely prerequisites that shouldn’t be ignored prior to creating and implementing Standard Work.  As such, in this podcast we explore 5 specific prerequisites that should be in place if we hope to succeed with standard work.

Now, as we mention in the podcast, we don’t need to wait to perfect these prerequisites before attempting to standardize.  In fact, waiting for all 5 prerequisites to be perfect, which of course they never will be, could be used as an excuse to never start!

To play the podcast please press the play button at the top of this post.

In this episode we explore:

  • 1 “process related” prerequisite that should be in place in order to maximize the benefits of standard work
  • 4 “leadership” prerequisites that should be in place in order to maximize the benefits of standard work
  • What comes first… a stable process or standard work?  Does it matter?
  • Why Standard Work doesn’t put handcuffs on associates!

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What Do You Think?

Do you agree that these prerequisites are important if we hope to succeed with Standard Work?  Also, what is your opinion on what should come first: a stable process or standard work can lead to more stabilization?  What do you think?

Comments

  1. Thomas Thibeau says:

    It is similar to the chicken and egg question. But I feel we should at least make a serious attempt at creating a stable environment before we can hope to succeed with standardized work.

    Of course standardized work should help create even more stability but if our process is wildly out of control what will we standardize?

  2. Customer needs – cheaper, better & faster.

    For a pristine process, trial-and-error and past experience, will guide us to the standard work, which will help in meeting customer needs (above). Once standard work goes in, you will expect to achieve some stability. From there on, continuous improvement kicks in. We find newer and better ways of stepping up the process to improve to enhance customer needs (above). Time to update and Revise standard work ! PDCA!

  3. Hi Ron, By asking this question it seems that you feel there are similarities between both Stable Process and Standardised Work. I admit that often the solution to an unstable process is to standardise however this does not mean that Standardised Work is the same as a stability. SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) can be used within both stable and unstable business environments. SOP’s deliver a great deal more than just offering stability of process. They offer cost, quality, lead time, training, development, improvement and predictability as just a few of the benefits. (Sorry I can’t do an exhaustive list!) So take colour as an example; if we offer a wide choice of different colours the colours of the orders may be unstable, but the colouring process is part of the SOP and so predictable. So I would conclude that SOP’s can work well in both stable and unstable environments.

  4. Stephen Gallagher says:

    You can only improve from a standard. If everybody performs a process in a different way then it is less likely that the process outcomes will be stable. Standardisation allows the factors causing instability to be identified and addressed; at which point new standards can be developed to entrench the gains.

  5. Standards are the yardstick against which performances are measured. Without standards no stable process can be formulated. At the same time, for standards to be achieved, stable process is a necessity. Regards,

  6. Hi there! Isn`t the thruth that by standardizing the process, the stability is achieved?? By logic, if there is no predictiable output from the process what u want to improve? Without predictable output there is only chaos and customer frustration. However what needs to happen is that people from the process are completing the SOP for themselves. We just need to help them to do so, so they don’t go to much into details. I’ve seen already different and very scary things:)

  7. It’s an easier discussion when the “instability” is in the output — not just the process, per se — and the customer is affected. For example, let’s say two doctors in a clinic apply stitches in their own particular way, but variation in patient outcomes and satisfaction is negligible. It will be difficult to engage either one in conversation to standardize the stitching process. It would appear to be standardization just for the sake of it, with low buy-in unless the doctors have themselves been searching for a “best practice” and have a personal need to satisfy. Bring data that shows significant difference in healing rates, infections, patient satisfaction, productivity, etc., and you will at least have independent data as basis for the change. Better yet, show how the lack of standard is affecting the profitability or viability of the clinic, and you will gain an attentive audience. Show how other clinics have improved performance by standardizing various things. Show how insurers or accrediting bodies are measuring and rewarding based on stitch times and infection rates, and you will solidify your case further. Long story short, guys and gals like us love the idea of standardization because it’s what we do; others need to be brought to the table gradually, diplomatically, strategically and for the right reasons — ones that touch the customer(s) or the “Big Y’s,” as they are called. Otherwise, we will spin our wheels and be accused of missing the point.

  8. Hoping to improve without standards is like attempting to make a baby while impotent.
    OK, maybe this isn’t the best example BUT this is my view.
    The following simple approach puts standards at early stages of change process:
    1. Set the overall goal
    2. Set standards or KPIs which describe if progress is made towards the overall goal
    3. Measure and support progress

  9. I have heard this story on how the output from a process is unstable. Let me ask this question — How does that happen? I mean you supply a process with inputs, and allow the process to do what it does, and if all is done well repeatedly, you would get a more or less predictable output. I’d shudder to think of any other possible outcome, unless the process is operating under the influence of uncontrollable variables. Even in such scenarios, there is pretty much little one can do about the situation.

    Measuring stitch times etc is all good, but does it really indicate something. For example, Doctor A would have used a certain technique and stitched a wound in 2 minutes. Doctor B would have used a certain technique and stitched the same type of wound in 5 minutes. You may have thought Doctor B needs improvement but his patient got cured quicker than A.

    B stuck by the manual, while A deviated.

    What do you do now?

    Data is a mere reflection of the health of the process. Variation in the output means there is some kind of variation in the process. In such a scenario, dealing with output variations — Doesn’t it mean you are dealing with a standardization issue?

    Vishy

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