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Standard Work for Standard Work

Standard Work Training Series

Getting Started

Why Do We Need Standard Work?

  • Why do we need standard work as part of our day-to-day routine? As we discussed in Lesson 1, standard work gives us a foundation for continuous improvement and provides stability. What would our tasks look like if we didn't have any processes in place? What if we didn't receive the training we need? We have the perfect example.
  • If you are in a certain age group, you will remember Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory. If you are a bit younger and you have never seen "I Love Lucy," let's watch one of the most classic moments in television history.

Sometimes, we may feel like Lucy and Ethel working in the chocolate factory. No matter what we do, the chocolates keep on coming. What should have Lucy and Ethel done? Should they have worked harder? Should they have worked longer?Should the chocolate factory have given them the tools to work smarter? Most definitely.

What is the best way to work?
Working smarter not harder.
  • Standard work is a key element of continuous improvement because it defines the best way to perform a task and ensures consistency and quality.
  • Standard work helps make processes predictable. Without standardization, it's difficult to have continuous improvement.
  • The result? Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory. Lack of standardization, training, and documentation led to low quality outcomes and waste. Wasting chocolate is always a bad outcome!

Standard Work

Standard work changes depending on organizational needs. Reviewing and updating standard work documents regularly helps avoid complacency and stagnation in your day to day work.

Standard Work is Not Static

Standard work is the detailed documentation of the current, most efficient method for each work process. It breaks down work into steps that can be done the same way, every single time.

Standard work = Documentation

How to Create Standard Work

Make the standard process visual and easy to read

Analyze your operations

Identify any issues or variations in the process

Monitor and keep improving the process

Train everyone on how it works

Develop and document the standard process

Standard Work for Standard Work

Best Practices at the Q
Best Practices at the Q
  • Moving to a new standard work format for quality may seem overwhelming. What if we started at square one and look at a standard work process for standard work?
  • Standard work should reflect an organization's best practices for operation, and give everyone equal access to the same information. The Q's Standard Work for Standard Work process reflects these values.
  • Over the next few slides, we will walk you through the steps for creating a standard work process with your team.

Standard Work for Standard Work

  • The department manager, contract lead, or appointed standard work champion should lead the process of standard work documents for your team. The associates involved in carrying out the actual tasks should be involved in the documentation process.
  • Observe the current tasks, and analyze variables such as responsibilities and internal interactions required to complete the task. Completing this exercise will help your team detail critical steps in the process and provide you an estimate of how long it takes to complete the process.
  • Collect any current documentation related to the task. There may be a process already documented in the Quality Management System (QMS) you can use as a baseline.
  • Click on the light bulb for a bright idea.

In Step 1, you and your team should collect information about the standard work process that needs to be documented.

Step 1: Collect Information
  • Discussing and defining the current state of the task will reveal any waste, or bottlenecks in the process. Associates assigned to the task should engage in this step by identifying and sharing existing challenges. This exercise will help your team determine what changes need to be made.
  • Determine what roles should be assigned to the standard work process.
  • Note any variations in the process.
  • Click on the light bulb for a bright idea.

In Step 2, you and your team should use the information collected in Step 1 and review the selected task.

Step 2: Review the Selected Tasks
  • Teams are encouraged to document standard work using the Qsource Standard Work Template, but there may be format variations depending on the nature of the standard work or departmental needs.
  • If your team has a dedicated Project Manager assigned to you, the team will use the Qsource Standard Work Template and the Project Management Office (PMO) will assist in the approval process.
  • Regardless of the format, document each task in clear language that is easy to understand and concise.
  • Focus on key activities and include visualizations such as screenshots and screen clippings to bring the process to life.
  • Support will be provided by the PMO. If assistance is required, please submit a PMO Request Form in Qville.
  • Click on the light bulb for a bright idea.

In Step 3, your team will document your information in one document. Document each activity in a clear and simple way that is easy to understand. Using visualizations helps demonstrate the process and helps your team to conceptualize the task.

Step 3: Standardize Standard Work Documentation

The Qsource Standard of Work Template has been formatted with all the necessary fields for your team to document standard work processes.

The Qsource Standard of Work Template is located in the Standard Work Team, filed in the Standard Work Template folder.

  • After a standard work process has been completed, the document should be reviewed and approved.
  • The reviewer should include their name, title, and date of approval in the standard work document.
  • The Qsource Standard Work Template includes fields for reviewers to document approvals.
  • The PMO will serve as the primary reviewer for standard work that is relevant to the entire organization.
  • After the approval, the document is finalized and ready to post to the Standard Work Team in Microsoft Teams.

In Step 4, the standard work document is reviewed and approved by the department manager, contract lead, or the PMO.

Step 4: Review and Approve the Standard Work
  • Before posting your standard work document to Microsoft Teams, rename the file using the following naming convention: Task Name_Standard Work_Department Name_Approval Date
  • Example: MS Forms for Surveys_Standard Work_Operations_09252023
  • Convert to PDF format
  • Click on the light bulb for more information.

In Step 5, the standard work documents should be prepared before uploading to Microsoft Teams.

Step 5: Rename the Document and Convert to PDF
  • The Standard Work Team houses folders for each department. File your standard work document in your department folder.
  • The Operations folder is intended for standard work that is relevant to the entire organization. The PMO will be responsible for posting standard work of this nature.

To ensure that every team member can access the standard work documents at any time, make them readily available and accessible. We use Microsoft Teams on a day-to-day basis, so we have created a Standard Work Team.

Step 6: Post the Standard Work Document
  • Each department is responsible for communicating the completion of new standard work documents to their teams.
  • If the standard work document is intended to be disseminated to the entire organization, the PMO will assist in the process.
  • If PMO assistance is required, please complete a PMO Request Form in Qville.

Well done! You have a new standard work document, and now it's time to share it with your team.

Step 7: Communicate to Associates
  • Train associates on how to apply the information outlined in standard work documents.
  • Training must include both existing and new Qsource associates.
  • Group training is the optimal method for delivering instructions to your team.

After documenting the process, it is essential to provide training on how to follow and apply the newly adopted standard.

Step 8: Training
  • Standard work documents need to be routinely monitored. Quarterly reviews should be scheduled with your team to evaluate progress, and document any process changes.
  • An annual review of your standard work documents should be scheduled. The PMO suggests scheduling annual reviews in June or July before the end of the fiscal year.
  • After an annual review process has been determined, the review schedule and assignments should be documented in the team's project plan.
  • Be sure to update the revision date after each review if changes were made. The revision date should be updated in both the document and file name.

Once your standard work document is complete it might be tempting to just carry on with the current document. However, you need to allow for changes to the current process to be reflected in the standard work document; otherwise, it will become outdated and therefore useless.

Step 9: Monitor the Standard Work Process

The Chocolate Factory

What Went Wrong?

Now that we have reviewed the best practices for creating standard work for your team, let's visit the chocolate factory again.

What Went Wrong at the Chocolate Factory?

We can all agree that there were some significant bottlenecks and waste in the process. The standard work at the factory did not account for the type of candy being wrapped, or the speed of the conveyor belt. What did speeding up the conveyor belt do? It actually caused more waste and affected quality.

Step 2: Review the Tasks for Quality and Accuracy

The department manager should have observed the current process and estimated the actual time needed to complete the task. As Lucy said, "we are fighting a losing game." When it feels like we are constantly fighting the process, morale and productivity suffers.

Step 1: Collect Information

What Went Wrong at the Chocolate Factory?

Department managers and supervisors at the chocolate factory should understand the day-to-day tasks of their employees. Giving them standard work to approve gives them insight about what their employees are responsible for and ensure they have the resources to succeed.

Step 4: Review and Approve the Standard Work

Manufacturing companies require proper work instructions to guide their operations. These guidelines should appear in a standard work instruction sheet that’s clearly displayed at the workstations. In other words, the standard work should be clear, concise and available.

Step 3: Document the Process

What Went Wrong at the Chocolate Factory?

Lucy and Ethel should have been able to locate all standard work processes in one centralized, visible location.

Step 6: Post the Standard Work Document

We can assume that the chocolate factory did not have any standard work documented. If they did, Lucy and Ethel should be able to locate it easily using tools such as naming conventions to ensure they have the correct process.

Step 5: Standardization

Finally, if the chocolate factory had documented standard work processes, they would need to review them regularly to ensure they are still effective.

Step 9: Monitor and Review Standard Work Regularly

What Went Wrong at the Chocolate Factory?

As new employees, Lucy and Ethel did not receive any standardized training about the processes they would need to follow to perform the tasks they were assigned to.

Step 8: Training

The factory worker that sped up the conveyor belt should have known about any newly established standard work processes. If a standard work existed, the worker would have known that higher speeds would result in waste and poor outcomes.

Step 7: Communicate New Standard Work to Associates

The purpose of standard work is to define, communicate and implement the most effective and efficient way to achieve high-quality work, ultimately delivering value to our organization. That said, standard work doesn’t need to be a complicated approach. Working together we can create a new approach to quality.

Thank You!

If you have any questions, or need assistance please reach out to your Department Manager, or the PMO.

The PMO has a new Request Form located in Qville! Submit a request form for assistance with standard work, or any project management needs.

PMO Request Form

Bright Idea

Here is a brief video explaining how to convert your Word document into PDF. If you have any questions, or need assistance converting your standard work documents, contact the PMO.

Qsource's training platform, Learning 360, will have the basic training material your team will need to get started. It is also recommended that new associates review standard work training as part of their onboarding process.

Bright Idea

For fiscal year 2025, monitoring and reviewing your standard work processes would be an ideal performance goal for your team.

Bright Idea

Although standard work is assigned to a specific role in your team, this step is an ideal opportunity to consider other roles that may be assigned as a backup in the event the primary person is not available.

Bright Idea

You and your team may need a brief refresher or tutorial for adding screenshots and/or screen clippings to your standard work document. Here is a brief video explaining the process. If you need additional assistance, the PMO will be happy to assist your team.

QMS Forms

Start your information gathering in the Quality Management System! The QMS is located in Smartsheet and organized by division. If you find a current process in the QMS you can use it to help start the brainstorming process. Remember, standard work is much more than a procedure, it gives you the guidance needed to complete a task.

QMS Procedures

Bright Idea