Good Essay On Lean Manufacturing: Standard Work

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Time, Standard, Production, Business, Team, Teamwork, Products, Waste

Pages: 7

Words: 1925

Published: 2020/09/22


Standardized work refers to a lean management technique which is the best method currently to ensure work is efficient, safe and that it meets all the required quality standards. Standard work also provides the ideal framework for continuous improvement. The Table 1 below shows what standard work is considered to be, and what it is not.

The role of standardized work.

Standard work has several roles to play in lean manufacturing especially in a production line setup. First, standard work is used as a tool for the building and improving the quality at each process. Standard work also ensures that only products that sell or are on demand will be manufactured thus preventing overproduction. Work standardization also helps minimize production costs to the minimum possible and also helps to improve production operations, and to minimize/eliminate waste. Standard work is also centered around human motion i.e. aims at minimizing all human movements in the production line that does not add any value to the product.

Types of work, and categories of Work Motion:

Work is categorized into three types based on its value addition to the product. The types of work include: Necessary Non-value Added work, Value Added work, and Waste. Necessary Non-Value Work involves all necessary activities under the current operating conditions that do not add value to the product. Value Added work involves activities that add form, fit or functionality to a product. Activity that does not add any form of value is considered as non-value-added waste.
Waste refers to anything that consumes resources, time, effort or space without adding value to the product or service delivered to the client, or in this case, waste is anything the client is unwilling to pay for. There are seven major wastes in the context of lean manufacturing, and these include waiting, overproduction, defects, too much processing, motion, transportation, and inventory. The primary focus of categorizing work motion is to aid in the identification and reduction/elimination of waste (wasteful work). The Figure 1 below shows the categories of work motion.
Figure 1 Categories of Work Motion

Prerequisites for Standardized work:

There are several prerequisites to the establishment of standardized work and this include the work point of view, equipment point of view, and quality perspective. From the work point of view, standardized work can be established if the type of work is centered around human movements and if the work is done in the same way every time i.e. in iterative/repetitive cycles.
The equipment point of view requires that there should be minimal trouble with the production tools, machinery and equipment, and that there are minimal fluctuations in the equipment and machine operations on the production line i.e. no significant machinery stalling or downtimes. The quality point of view requires that there is minimal trouble in processing the desired quality i.e. quality requirements can easily be met.

Benefits of Standardized Work:

Standardized work serves as a baseline and foundation for continuous improvements and problem-solving. When implemented, standardized work is used by all workers since it describes the current best methods for doing the job.
The benefits accrued to standardized work include clear and accessible documentation of current best work practices, reduction in variations i.e. same times in between job rotations and shift without time wastage, and reduction of costs that arise from waste caused by fluctuations/variations.
Another major benefit of work standardization is consistency since following a defined way of doing things produces consistent quality results, and improvement of quality. Work standardization also ensures that new workers learn quickly since the work activities are well documented and mostly iterative.
Other benefits of standard work include improved customer satisfaction, employment stability and competitiveness. Team members in a standardized work environment are also able to learn from the experiences of others (shared learning) and thus build on organizational knowledge. Standardized work also provides a baseline for continued improvement, easier problem-solving, and the ability to spot and fix problems easily which consequently leads to a reflection of expertise in the completed work.

Elements of Standard Work:

There are three elements of standardized work and they include Takt time, Work sequence and Standard Work-in-Process (SWIP).
Takt time and its relationship to cycle time:
Takt time is the time taken by one part to be produced so as to meet customer demand. It is therefore a ratio of total production time divided by the total customer requirements i.e.
Takt time=Total production time availabletotal customer demands
NB: It should be noted that takt time does not give allowances for machine inefficiencies such as changeovers and downtimes. If inefficiencies have to be taken into account during production planning, the target cycle time is used in real life applications instead of the takt time.
Cycle time is the actual time taken to process 1 unit of a product and is inclusive of human and machine work (non-automated machine operation time) as well as walking and waiting times. It is measured by taking the average time measured over a representative sample size. The relationship between takt time and cycle time exists in the sense that they both have to be equivalent otherwise an imbalance exists in the current system of operations. If the two times are equivalent, the cycle should be maintained to prevent over production.

Work Sequence:

Work Sequence refers to the order of execution of work elements in a given process. In a work sequence, work occurs in a sequence of predefined, fixed steps that are always followed to ensure consistency. When the work sequence is unclear or not followed, the process steps may vary leading to issues such as safety compromises, introduction of cycle fluctuations, omission of steps in the process, generation of defects, and misuse of machinery and equipment leading to subsequent damages.

Standard Work-in-Process (SWIP):

Standard Work-in-Process (SWIP) refers to the minimum number of unfinished components that are necessary to ensure smooth completion of the work sequence. Standard Work-In-Process is determined so as to minimize the amount of in-process inventory between steps of manufacturing in the same work area. SWIP also helps determine the minimum amount of stock required to keep the work process in motion, and also set the maximum stock level required.

Types of Standard Work:

There are three types of standard work: Type I, Type ΙΙ and Type ΙΙΙ. Type Ι standard work involves the establishment of repeatable cyclic work sequences. In this case, work involves the same iterative cycle for each product and is often observed in an assembly line that produces a well-defined/specific product family. For example, if the assembly line produces a product X, then the product can be produced repetitively in the series XXXXXX with minimal or no fluctuations in the work sequence or cycle times. The lack of notable variations in cycle times arise because the products are similar and require approximately the same time to work on at each stage.
Type ΙΙ work involves the establishment of repetitive cyclic work sequences but this time, there exist variations that affect the cycle times. This type of standardized work is observed in mixed model assembly lines which produce mixed product families i.e. Instead of producing the same iterative series of products in the form XXXXXX all day like the Type I work, the mixed model line may decide to produce different product series in the pattern XYZXYZ which may lead to variations in waiting time since each product may take different times to work on.
Type ΙΙΙ work involves processes that cannot be set by takt time since they do not operate in a one by one flow. Type ΙΙΙ work thus involves repetitive work usually with long cycle times but with variable occasional work such as machinery changeovers, conveyance or even conducting brief relief work for nearby colleagues. Like any standard work, the takt times and work sequences are fixed but due to the variable nature of changeovers and conveyance tasks the work content may vary. With this type of work, the preferred approach is to isolate the variable work as much as possible and assign it to one support position to handle the variations while allowing other members to work closely to Type Ι and ΙΙ work. The assignment of a support position for variable work allows employees to be more productive and also helps identify the elements of variations and wastes.

Standardized Work Tools:

There are several tools/documents used in the development of standardized work and have many other supporting or related document. For the scope of this paper, four tools will be described and these include the process/production capacity sheet, standardized work sheet, standardized work combination table, and the standard work element sheet.
The process/production capacity sheet is a document is used in processes that use machinery in production and it lists the production capacity for each process. It also indicates bottlenecks in processes and primarily focuses on the continuous improvement of work activities. The process capacity sheet also serves as the basis for the creation of the Standardized Work Combination Tables (SWCT).
The Standardized Work Combination Table (SWCT) is the resulting table based on the results of examining the range of work that can be done a single workgroup member. The SWCT is based on the takt time. A Standardized Work Combination Table is needed in work standardization because it combines human and machine work time as compared to takt time. The SWCT also displays the work sequence and the range of work for which an employee is responsible. SWCTs also help judge the impact of changes in takt and other operating parameters.
The standardized work sheet (SWS) shows material location and operator movement in relation to machinery and over layout of the work process. It should also indicate the takt time, SWIP and work sequence. Standardized work sheets are needed because they help maintain safety, ensure quality and ensure the correct work sequence if followed in the job site.
The standardized work sheets require constant auditing to maintain the efficiency and consistency of training as well as highlight problem-solving opportunities. Auditing also ensures that employee safety, product quality and the correct work sequence are all maintained at the job site. The standard work element sheet (SWES), on the other hand, defines and records the individual time taken for each work element in the work process.

The role of production management in standard work and methods of sustainability:

Production management in standardized work as applied in lean manufacturing is meant to ensure that there is consistency in problem solving and work across all work groups, and that all workers in the production line are working in conformance to the standardized work sequence. Production management is also responsible for providing the necessary guidance and support required for the continuous improvement of production as well as re-balancing activities.
The sustainability of standardized work can be monitored by continuously updating standard work each time changes are made to machines and processes, and management should also ensure that they review the standardized work on the floor on the regular basis. This monitoring approach involves ‘gemba’ where the managers go to the floor and see for themselves (gemba “go see” approach).

Importance of people in Standardized Work:

Standardized work focuses on people in the production process and their well-being in general. Standardized work defines safe work practices and encourages creative thinking leading to significant improvements in work performance which evidently lead to more productivity and better quality. It also helps in the training of new workers due to documentation of current best practices and also helps workers interact more efficiently with machines.

Operations Environment Shift:

In a typical operations environment comprising of several team members on the production line, all team members have the same role and they perform both normal and abnormal work with the sole goal being to develop a product, and get the job done. However, this working environment is problematic since neither the workers nor management can visibly identify waste. In this case, waste elimination is not feasible and thus wastage continues.
However, a shift of operations where roles are assigned could help improve the productivity of teams and eliminate wastes. In this case, instead of having all team members do both the normal and abnormal work, a team leader is identified and tasked with writing standardized work and handling the abnormal work. The other team members are tasked with performing the normal work and identify abnormal work for the team leader to perform. The shift in operations still maintains the goal of getting the job done while allowing for the systematic elimination of waste. Other benefits of operation environment shifting include visibility and quick containment of abnormal activities, the use of data and facts to identify all chronic problems, and solving the identified problems in order to eliminate waste. Finally, shifting operations environment activities help in work standardization thus preventing the problems from reoccurring.

Roles played by different entities in standardization of work:

Figure 2 Typical organizational structure
The Manager: The manager sits at the top of the hierarchy and is responsible for making management decisions such as management approvals, high-level problem-solving and carrying out performance analysis for departmental operations.
The Assistant Manager: Responsible for conducting operations analysis of an area and solving problems in his jurisdiction to improve processes and eliminate waste. He is also responsible for confirming daily operations and supporting the removal of barriers to standardized work.
The Group Leader: Responsible for conducting operations analysis and solving problems in a particular group. He is also responsible for ensuring that team leaders and team members comply with standardized work based on the key performance indicators. The group leader also approves standardized work improvements and implements the required changes. He also audits standardized work processes and solves problems to improve work processes i.e. waste elimination. Problem-solving by the group leader helps remove barriers to allow team leaders and team members to solve problems at their levels.
The Team Leader: Team leaders have major roles to play which include writing standardized work, conducting job instruction training for team members, lead problem-solving in his team, and to back for absent team members. It is also the responsibility of the team leader to collaborate with team members to create and maintain standardized work, conduct daily audits to confirm correct usage and coach team members when necessary, and to encourage and support ideas posed by team members in regard to waste elimination and standardization of work.
Team members: The role of team members is to train and follow the standardized work and highlight problems that they observe when following the work. Team members also identify barriers to standardized work and provide the necessary input regarding changes to be made. They are also actively involved in the initial development and subsequent maintenance of standardized work, and also provide ideas for improvement.

Standard work industry examples: ThyssenKrupp AG, and Goodrich Corporation.

ThyssenKrupp AG is a global technology group that mainly focuses in steel manufacturing, automotive parts, elevators and other services. The company has branches in Asia, Europe, South America, Central, and North America. The focus of this case is a plant located in Campo Limpo Paulista – São Paulo, Brazil. The Brazil branch has forging and machining plants that produce piston rods, crankshafts, wheel rods and other parts for both local and global automotive industry.
In early 1990’s, the plant had successfully implemented several changes to create flow in it machining operations and had even moved from functional layouts to a flow layouts for the different product families. In the mid, 2000’s the plant implemented new lean tools such as PULL systems, value stream mapping (VSM) and also made improvements in setup reduction and maintenance in order to improve productivity.
In 2003 to 2005 the Brazilian currency (Real) underwent an overvaluation of over 25% compared to the US dollar. On the other hand, there was an ever increasing number of new entrants into the market from lower labor cost countries especially in Asia. The currency issues and the case of new market entrants put significant pressure on ThyssenKrupp and especially on its export market. The company thus felt the need to continue improving on its lean manufacturing efforts in order to maintain a competitive edge and sustain its performance in a more difficult operating environment.
In its new stage of lean transformation, ThyssenKrupp decided to apply lean tools such as inbound logistics, a pull system, continuous flow based on operator balance charts, and standardized work so as to improve production operations.
The implementation of standardized work at ThyssenKrupp - Brazil began with a two-day training workshop which was conducted the specialists from the Lean Institute Brazil. The trainers provided knowledge, examples and practical exercises on the actual work area. In order help in knowledge deployment later on, participants for a pilot run in the crankshaft line were selected and others were sourced from other production lines such as piston rods and forging.
The first step in the implementation of standard work involved data collection on the operation times in the actual work area. The available times from the engineering department were not considered during data collection since the activity required support from the actual operators and leaders involved on the floor. The move to collect actual data was necessary to ensure that the operator balance chart (OBC) for each operator was as accurate and realistic as possible.
It was observed that before the implementation of standard work, operators registered much higher cycle times than takt times which meant that customer demands could not be met in a normal shift leading to the need over-time. However, after standard work was implemented, the operators recorded cycle times that were less than takt times thus complying with customer demands in a normal shift.
Furthermore, before implementation of standard work, data had been collected on the automated machine processing times and other tasks such as walking, and used to create a standardized work combination table (SWCT). The SWCT showed that there was work overload since cycle time surpassed takt time.

However, after standardized work was implemented, several improvements were observed and these included:

Distribution of operator loading based on takt times which meant that operators could meet customer demands without the need for overtime.
Some work elements in a particular stage of operation were transferred to previous workstations with available time (thread control) which led to efficient time usage.
Some operations are now done as the machine runs automatically e.g. stamping and de-burring.

Waste due to human motion (walking) was eliminated after separating the task of two or more operators.

Waste resulting from waiting times when an operator ran out of parts was eliminated after reducing operator workloads and working according to takt times.
After the new SWCT had been accepted by the team and floor operators, work standardization was done using a standardized work chart (SWC). The benefits accrued by ThyssenKrupp – Brazil after standardization were better than expected especially in consideration that there was no significant financial investment. The benefits realized included:

Reduction in operator movement by about 1500 meters a day by simply transferring excess work to previous underutilized workstation.

Reduction of Work-in-Process (WIP) by about 40%
Improved productivity by up to 9% that was achieved by avoiding operator overload, elimination over time (up to 2 hours daily), and redistributing the operator work elements according to takt times.
Elimination of operator overloads, over time and movement improved operator satisfaction since they were less strained and less prone to accidents caused by fatigue or movement in the work area.
Standardization of work also led to improved safety in the work area. Initially, two floors had been allocated for production line operations and operators had to walk to and fro several times daily in order to complete their work sequence. However, after operations were separated and redistributed, the to and fro movement was eliminated which reduced accidents and strain on the operators.
The Goodrich Corporation is a market leader in the manufacture and supply of aerospace components ranging from flight controls, engine satellite systems to landing gear. The company has a wide customer base consisting of players in the military, commercial aviation companies, space, component suppliers among other major players in the aerospace industry. The company also provides services such as aircraft repair, maintenance and overhauling.
In the 1990s, the company faced a lot of consumer pressure to improve performance at its California facility and the issue was such a major concern that the management even considered closing down the plant. However, while attending a lean manufacturing training seminar, the General Manager of the facility noted that the improvement efforts they had been considering were fairly similar to those implemented by Toyota in the Toyota Production System (TPS). It was after this event that the Goodrich embarked on rigorous efforts to implement lean manufacturing techniques.
In the years 1995 and 1996, Goodrich started implementing lean techniques aggressively by adapting some elements of TPS. These efforts led to improved productivity and customer satisfaction and consequently won increasing support from the senior leadership in the company. In 1996, Goodrich began to apply lean techniques in the administrative processes at the California plant, and by 1997, the company made a move to align its organizational structure, culture, and strategy with its ever growing lean initiative policies. By the end of 1999, the company had expanded its lean operations throughout most of the production facilities in the US, and lean techniques became a core competency of the firm.
The company focused majorly on applying lean techniques to ensure linkage and flow of work process steps, right sizing and location of tools and equipment and the identification and implementation of standard work and visual controls to eliminate waste.
In regard to work standardization, Goodrich Corporation has placed emphasis on the need to reduce the variations in work practices by identifying standard work. After identifying areas of work the require standardization, the company then documents the standard work procedures in easily legible, laminated checklists that are placed in the production cells. The company has further indicated that it seeks to integrate health, safety and environmental activities directly into standard work procedures.
Goodrich company representative also noted that standard work and visual management have numerous environmental benefits. For example, it was noted that visual management and standard work significantly reduced waste from product defects, scrap material and packaging.


In a nutshell, standardized work helps maintain high production efficiency by preventing the recurrence of operational mistakes, defective products and accidents in the production line, and by integrating workers’ ideas.

Works Cited: 'Goodrich Corporation | Case Studies | Lean and the Environment | US EPA'. N.p., 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2015.
Kosaka, Gilberto et al. Implementing Standardized Work At ThyssenKrupp In Brazil. 1st ed. Lean Institute Brasil, 2007. Web. 11 Jan. 2015.

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