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Lean Standard Work, a Concept for Every Environment?


Ricky Banks, Lean Deployment Manager, United States Gypsum, Scottsboro, AL, USA


Lean Methodologies, Lean Standard Work, Lean Concepts





Lean Standard Work, a concept for every environment? In deploying Lean within USG we have learned many valuable lessons. One lesson, crucial to any lean deployment, involved learning and deploying the lean standard work concept. In a manufacturing environment in which some associates are utilized as machine tenders, standard work can be a difficult concept to grasp. We want to share our learnings and help others understand how this integral concept and tool of lean can and will work in any environment.

  • Standard Work overview

o Definition – Standard work is an integral part of lean manufacturing.

o The goal of standard work within a process is reducing variability in job performance by documenting and training operators “the best way we know today”, to perform that process.

o The impact of standard work upon the organization is the personal behavioral development of associates while achieving the required outcomes in Quality, Safety, Delivery and Cost

o Relation to problem solving

  • In a process or service, a problem can be linked to one of three conditions:- Lack of a standard.- The standard was not followed.- The standard is insufficient.
  • Methodology

o Standard Work and Lean Methodology

  • Work design with the intent of organization learning built in.
  • Problem identification, what is standard/Normal?
  • Developing Lean Leader Behaviors
  • Problem solving
  • Accountability
  • Leader Standard Work
  • Prerequisites

o Work is performed manually.

o Work has repetitive aspects

o Work is key to the management of the organization.

  • Components of Standard Work

o Takt time or cycle time of steps is important

o Precise work sequence is important

o Standard Work In Progress is important.

  • Standard Work Types

o Leader Standard Work

o Operational Standard Work

  • Training documents
  • Visuals
  • Settings

o Process Adherence Standard Work

  • Visual documents to be used by leadership to assess adherence to performance standards.
  • Continuous Manufacturing (utilizing machine tenders)

o Product manufacturing process

o Employee/machine interaction

  • Where do we start? Developing a plan for developing standard work.
  • How Standard Work has helped us!

o Discovered the importance of standardized processes in identifying normal/abnormal conditions.

o Benefits of standard work when bringing on new associates.

  • Quick understanding of purpose and common objectives
  • Faster onboarding times, with higher degree of success.
  • Higher degree of team effectiveness through Gemba walks and coaching toward;
  • Problem Solving
  • Accountability
  • Adherence to process.
  • Breaking down of ‘Silos’
  • Standard work integration pitfalls

o Important concepts/needs

  • Repetition – what does repetitive mean in relation to standard work?
  • Important to the management of the business – What qualifies as important?
  • You can’t ask people to adhere to a non-standard process. (how are our operational standards)? (“Where there is not standard, there can be no kaizen”, Taiichi Ohno)

Participating Organizations at the Lean & Six Sigma  World Conference

Government Agencies

  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health & Human Svcs.
  • Department of Homeland Security

  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • NASA
  • Naval Surface Warfare Center
  • Pentagon
  • U.S. Air Force

  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. Veterans Affairs
  • United States Army Corps of Engineers


  • AIG
  • Alcoa
  • AT&T
  • Bank of America Corp
  • BASF Corporation
  • Bayer Corporation
  • BMW
  • The Boeing Company
  • Bose Corporation
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Campbell Soup Company
  • Cardinal Health
  • Caterpillar
  • Chrysler Corporation
  • Chevron
  • Cisco Systems
  • Coca-Cola
  • Comcast
  • Daimler Chrysler
  • Disney
  • Dow Chemical

  • Dr Pepper 
  • Duracell
  • Dupont
  • Eastman Kodak
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Exxon Mobil
  • Fedex
  • Ford Motor
  • General Electric 
  • General Motors
  • Gillette
  • Goodyear Tire
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Honeywell
  • Humana
  • IBM
  • Kohler
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Macy’s
  • M&M/Mars
  • ManpowerGroup
  • Maytag Appliances
  • Mercedes
  • Merck
  • Mitsubishi
  • Mobil Chemical
  • Motorola
  • NASA
  • Nestle 
  • Northrop Grumman
  • PepsiCo
  • Philip Morris International
  • PNC Financial Services Group
  • Pfizer
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Prudential
  • Raytheon
  • Rolls Royce Allison
  • Target
  • Johnson & Johnson 
  • Schindler Elevator Corporation
  • Schneider Electric
  • Shell
  • Siemens
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Staples
  • Tesla
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Qualcomm
  • Underwriter Laboratories
  • UnitedHealth Group
  • United Technologies
  • Union Pacific
  • UPS
  • USAA
  • Verizon
  • Walmart
  • Wells Fargo
  • Westinghouse
  • Whirlpool
  • Xerox


Lean & Six Sigma World Conference




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