Standardized work is often perceived as a rigid series of “never to be changed” process steps. This misperception is likely why one of the most powerful lean tools is also the least used. Standardized work represents the current best practice, and lean practitioners recognize there is always an opportunity to improve.
There’s always a better way and more than one solution!Redge@Versalytics.com
The following image from the Lean Enterprise Institute at lean.org presents a Standardized Work Combination Table. An example of a Standardized Work Combination Table and the accompanying blank document is available for download from the Lean Enterprise Institute website. You can also download a copy of our Standardized Work Combination Table Excel Template.
In some respects, standardized work is analogous to software. Programs or applications repeatedly execute a series of instructions. When applications fail to produce results consistent with expectations or crash altogether, we look for “bugs” in the code and revise the program.
The scope of an application is routinely subject to change when adding new features and capabilities. New and improved algorithms may substantially increase performance and reduce execution times. We often see a combination of “bug” fixes and new features when updated versions of the application are released.
Standardized work, like software, is a sequence of instructions or steps designed to yield a specific outcome, result, or product. When opportunities arise to improve the process, we change the instructions or steps and revise our standardized work combination table accordingly.
A standardized work combination table presents the sequence of steps or job elements and their respective execution times. The combination table identifies risks, possible constraints, potential bottlenecks and assures the operator can successfully perform and complete each step within the given time constraints.
The standardized work combination table serves to validate the current process and to identify opportunities to reduce cycle times using verifiable data in real-time.
Develop the Standardized Work Combination Table on the production floor where the work happens. This is one of the key takeaways I learned through many years of working with Toyota team members. This is also one reason we find many of the lean tools used at Toyota are completed by hand. While we are compelled to “digitize” our work, it truly begins with a pencil and paper.
Our purpose here is to present a “why” for using a standardized work combination table for your processes. The Lean Enterprise Institute presents more detailed information regarding the standardized work combination table, including a downloadable pdf document that includes an example and accompanying blank form.
Take the form to the shop floor to document the work elements, execution times, and steps required to complete the tasks at hand. This will form the baseline for your process from which you can evaluate task sequences and determine how to best distribute the work between the members of your production team.
Some websites offer memberships and, in exchange for a monthly or annual fee, provide access to various tools and templates to make things “easier” for you to manage. As tempting as they may be, I highly encourage you to begin using the simple form provided in the pdf download and follow the example provided.
As for the tools and templates, create forms, diagrams and charts using software tools you already have at your disposal. We used Excel to create a semi-automated Standardized Work Combination Table. You can download your copy of our “Standardized Work Combination Table.xlsm” as pictured below free of charge.
Our Excel template replicates the manual pdf format presented earlier. This worksheet calculates the Takt time for your process based on the annual volume, the number of machines, parts produced per machine cycle, shift schedule, and enhanced shift operating pattern. The timeline or “chart” automatically displays the timing and duration of each task or job element.
Download Standardized Workflow Combination Table.xlsm
The worksheet is protected. However, the password is not set. If you want to change the template, click “Review” on the main tab and click the “unprotect” icon. You can edit the file and make changes to suit your requirements. The template provides the minimum functionality required to create a Standardized Work Combination Table.
The template supports a full or custom shift pattern to calculate the Takt time. The Template accommodates up to 50 job elements or process steps.
Remember, “There’s always a better way and more than one solution.”
Until Next Time, STAY lean!
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