Standardized Work Builds a Flexible Work Force

World class organizations understand the value in having flexibility. Not only in the ability to meeting changes in customer demand or introduce new products with great speed, but also in continuing operations.  Flexible organizations can keep the presses running even when some of people who fill key roles are missing.  Standardized work is the key […]

Learning to see…again

  Mike Rother and John Shook taught us how to create a highly visual roadmap using a value stream mapping process in their popular book, Learning to See.  Their website,, describes value-stream map as a paper-and-pencil representation of every process in the material and information flow, along with key data.  World Class organizations use […]

Lessons from the NFL: Calling Plays in Your Operation

Unlocking the value in your operation requires a specific work design that maximizes the utilization of resources. One of the key resources is labor. Much like the positions on a football field, each person in the operation needs a special role and their efforts coordinated to produce the best outcome.   There are two reasons […]

Standardized Work – A Choreographed Dance Between Man and Machine

Observing well executed and well-designed standardized work is like watching a choreographed dance between man and machine. All of the same key elements apply: Content, Sequence, Timing, and Outcome. Both dance and standardized work are designed to synchronize steps in a pre-specified way which creates the impression of two entities operating as one. The music […]

A Standard is a Line in the Sand

A Standard is a Line in the Sand Organizations identify value they can unlock in their businesses by establishing standards. Once established, a standard becomes a measure for what actually happens. Improvement comes from understanding and closing the gap. But … how can we improve if the expectation or standard is wrong? Drawing a line […]

Understanding the Power in a Cycle

Unlocking the value of an operation starts with understanding the power of a cycle. A cycle is the slice of a process that defines the foundation for improvement. A cycle is an experiment that is continuously executed over and over, providing an endless supply of data about problems that arise and potential improvements. Bank of […]

The Culture of No Standards

A global economy fueled by the furious pace of advancing technology has every organization under tremendous pressure to produce and cut cost. The best organizations, however, are not lured into the trap of short term gains at the expense of long term survival and continuous improvement. (But there is no doubt all of them are […]

Do Leaders Need Standard Work?

Do Leaders Need Standard Work? Unlocking the value in your organization requires having an expectation for the specific work carried out by the operation. Standardized steps for checking in a guest at a hotel, renting a car to a traveler, or assembling a cell phone in production are necessary for stabilizing a business. But do the leaders […]

Standard Work Empowers Employees

Standard Work Empowers Employees Effective operating systems have a standards-rich environment with visual controls and practical problem solving. The standards in such an environment explicitly define the sequence, content, timing, and expected outcome of a process. Many see the benefits of having everything predefined but don’t see how powerful standard work is at empowering employees […]