Standard work

In the TPS house, standard works are the foundations. Without them, no deployment of LEAN, not continuous improvement.

Standardize is to formalize and implement best practices of the moment. Best practices mean, the easiest, safest, most qualitative. The timing means that this practice is not frozen in time, it is set to change.

Why establish standard works?

  • The procedures are different for the same tasks
  • The results are variable in quality, speed, time
  • New employees are poorly trained on posts
  • Defining roles is blurred: operators do not know exactly what to do and what must do their colleagues.
  • Frequent and unexplained anomalies are found
  • Risk of potential accidents are found on the workstation
  • Sorting waste is poorly performed on the job
  • The desktop is cluttered


What are the goals of the standards?

  • Reduce variability and increase stability
  • Having a reference in terms of quality, volume, lead time
  • Capitalizing on expertise
  • Having bases and reliable documents for new hires
  • Work as a team to validate the best way to do


How to set up the standard works?

An important point to integrate, is to establish standards, we must be formed. :

  • See problems and know how to analyze
  • Knowing a few basic concepts: Takt Time, Cycle Time, Wastes, Poka Yoke, SMED
  • Knowing some practical tools: Timing, spaghetti diagram, balancing, Pareto chart, visual management
  • Knowing the frame of standards: process capacity, process capability, record instruction, safety standards
  • Knowing the workshop

The implementation takes place in several stages :

  • Identify the need for standardization – Define the problem – State the reason
  • Diagnose and define the objective
  • Analyze with stakeholders different practices known in the workshop (different operators, different teams, different machines in similar processes)
  • Agree on the best way to do that will give the best results (safety, quality, cost, delay)
  • Achieve with operators, technical services and conduct tests and trials
  • Formalize the new standard by focusing on visual
  • Train all operators to the new standard – their approval thereof.
  • Regularly audit the standard to ensure its proper application
  • Think about applying the standard or part of the standard for similar processes.
  • Changing the standard in the improvement actions.



Standard work is :

  • Created by operational
  • Based on best practices

A standard must be visual, simple and formalized in order to be understood. To achieve this, use:

  • Diagrams
  • Function charts
  • Pictures, drawings, maps, screenshots
  • Pictograms (among others for safety and environmental parts)


To create a standard, it must be based on a checklist that can be the Five Ws.

  • WHAT : What is it about? what task? What operation? which product?
  • WHO : who is responsible for applying?
  • WHERE : where the standard will he apply?
  • WHEN : when, how often?
  • HOW : what is the procedure?
  • HOW MUCH : what are the figures?
  • WHY : what is the purpose, the goal, the risk to eliminate?


The standards are formalizing best business practices. These are the company’s memory elements. As such, they are the foundation for continuous improvement. Without them, nothing can be done.

But, you would convince operators of the merits thereof. You will need to respond to arguments like “The standard takes a lack of creativity” or “The standard is the modern times”. But you have all the arguments to counter these negatives.