Without standardization, you cannot do long lasting lean kaizen, effective lean management or manufacturing process improvement.

Mr. Taiichi Ohno, author of Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production, writes:

Standardized work sheets and the information contained in them are important elements of the Toyota Production System. For a production person to be able to write a standard work sheet that other workers can understand, he or she must be convinced of its importance.

The standard work sheet effectively combines materials, workers and machines to produce efficiently.

Using standard operating charts are also more efficient and effective than having a supervisor teach from personal experience. According to Shigeo Shingo, the Toyota Production System trains new employees to work independently in three days. Standard charts make this possible. "This approach also increases learning efficiency because the workers keep referring to the standard operating charts until they are familiar with the techniques." Shigeo Shingo.

Determining a Method

According to Kaoru Ishikawa, "A method to be established must be useful to everyone and free of difficulty. It has to be standardized for that reason. .. An individual may choose to do things his own idiosyncratic way, and it may prove to be the best method for him. But an organization cannot rely on a method thus derived. Even if it were a superior technique, it would still remain the specialty of one individual and could not be adopted as the technology of the company or workplace."

Purpose of Standardization: Maximize efficiency, minimize waste.

There are three areas to took at:
1. Takt time: the amount of time which is given job is to be completed
2. Work sequence: the step by step order in which each processing assembly operation is to be performed.
3. Standard in Process Stock: the number of parts that should be in process at any given time.

Establish the best work sequence for each process to achieve your ideal takt time and standard in process stock.

How to Establish a Standard

1. Collect data to find the most efficient work sequence.
2. Practice the sequence up to ten times. If employees can repeat it exactly and consistently, then it is a viable sequence.
3. Create a work standard to help employees repeat the optimum work sequence.

A word of caution: Standards are not perfect.

Kaoru Ishikawa: "Detailed standards and regulations are useless if they are established by headquarters and specialists who do not know or do not try to know the workplace and who ignore the wishes of the people who have to use them. It is not uncommon to find headquarters staff and technicians who enjoy making things uncomfortable for the workplace by creating cumbersome standards and regulations. Some people are born regulators. They love to make as many regulations as possible to bind other people, and consider that good management. Regulations for what? It is hard to understand. When they are not consistent with commonly held goals, standardization and regulations only make work more difficult. They hinder efficiency and ignore humanity."

Return from Standardization to Lean 5s