Standardisation

Written by Graham Wilkinson, Senior Consultant, Lauras International

IMG_0096‘Standardisation’ means setting a standard, as well as bringing a condition into conformance with that standard. It provides the current best known method around how to carry out a particular job or task.

We have standards in our everyday life: Traffic Lights are universally red, amber, and green for example.

From a lean perspective, having Lean standard work means cost reduction and risk minimisation, as well as less time-spent training, diagnosing and troubleshooting abnormalities. It is an ideal method of minimising the number of variables that can have a negative affect on any given task.

For example, on a car assembly line, a standard is set for each stage of the assembly. If an abnormality were to occur during the process, the source of the problem would be quickly highlighted and diagnosed, as it would appear (visually) to be non-standard. This type of process stability means the outcome of any given process is predictable and thus, delivery times can also be forecasted with greater accuracy.

Here are the prerequisites for effective Lean standard work:

  • A stable process (no issues with quality, equipment or resources)
  • A blame-free culture, where staff are empowered to contribute to the development and improvement of the organisation
  • A holistic approach, with commitment to continuously improving standards
  • Using visual management controls to quickly identify abnormalities
  • A quick response system is in place to react to abnormalities

Remember, standards form the basis of continuous improvement, therefore an important part of creating a standard, is to continuously improve it!

Are you setting standards in your manufacturing environment – and doing everything you can to improve them? 

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