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Vishwadeep Khatri

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Standardized Work is a lean principle that helps determine and document the precise procedures and sequence of steps involved in the process. It uses the three elements of Takt Time, Work Sequence and Standard Inventory. Standardized work helps reduce variations in the process thereby improving it.


An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Rajesh Chakrabarty on 18th May 2021.

Applause for all the respondents - Dipankar Acharya, Rahul Garg, Suresh Balu, Suresh Sekar, Rajender Prasad, Setu Bhardwaj, Ilavarasi P, Madhu Rajendran, Mahesh Kumar, Rajesh Chakrabarty, Raja Chairmapandi.


Q 365. "Standardized Work" is one of the Lean principles. Explain it along with the three elements of standardized work using a suitable example.



Note for website visitors - Two questions are asked every week on this platform. One on Tuesday and the other on Friday.

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Standardized Work is a method that was established by TOYOTA as one of the key mechanism of the Just-In- Time production system. It is a methodical approach to determine and document the work element sequence and process for any operation. The objective is to have a detailed “readily available” communication for the operator/worker to know how the job should be performed for best results consistently. A good amount of effort is put in to define a comprehensive flow of the standardized work to ensure that every operator/worker executes tasks by following the defined set of rules and processes. This helps to improve the speed of the process, reduce error, wastes & risks and also simplifies problem- solving, if any. The concept of “Kata” is best realized when there is standardized work.

The method that TOYOTA established for their production unit, consisted of Three Elements;

-      Takt Time

-      Working Sequence

-      Standard In- Process Stock

This was used in all workplace as a the documented “Standardized Work Chart”. The sample template of the Standardized work chart is available on net. ( https://econoshift.com/en/standardized-work-chart-2/)

Most matured organizations follow a customized chart, which is appropriate for their type of business

The standardized Work Chart indicates the operator movement/script and material location with the application of the 5S concept, in relation to the machine /Equipment used in the operation and overall process layout.

How to implement the Standardized work?

1)      Identify and define the most efficient and effective practices and the time required for each task/process to the right level of detail.

2)      Documenting the above with text and images wherever possible and relevant

3)      Keeping the said document available at the GEMBA.

To get the above executed a Gemba walk helps to denote the as is process, understand the value stream and the problems and scope for improvement and follow the steps in order:

1)      Determine on working Lean- Focus and prioritize

2)      Develop the best – known way of working to meet objective of standardized work

3)      Visualize the Standard

4)      Communicate and train – The new standard needs to be propagated

5)      Schedule follow ups on adherence and performance

6)      Introduce a process for improvement

A very commonly experienced and observable standardized work is seen at the order taking/service counters of the MNC Fast food chains.  You will notice all the 3 elements.

-      The work place is arranged systematically (5S concept) for easy and quick access for required materials like trays, glasses lids straws etc. Least Movement for the Worker

-      The queue management is organized for the convenience of the customers and the order taker as well

-      The order takers follow defined steps / Working Sequence to take the orders-


Defined Step



Smile and greet the customer

set the process on a pleasant note


Listen to the customer's order

understand the customer's need


Upsell/Cross Sell - Recommend relevant Promotions

Derive better wallet share


Repeat and Confirm Order

avoid any error/ Cancellation/ wastage


Transaction of payment

as per defined process to avoid short changing or any scope of less payment


provide the estimate waiting time for the order

keeps the customer informed about waiting time to avoid any anxiety of waiting


present the order over the counter

confirms that the customer has got the complete order


Thank the customer for business and request for repeat business

Makes the customer feel special and wanted


During this whole transaction, you will notice that there is a level of consistency or uniformity, followed by all the order takers at the counter, to most of the practices or operations in the given environment. In the matured organizations with chains of such operation centers (Outlets), you will notice that the operating environment is also similar in all the outlets.

The said process is documented and kept handy for training and audits and reviews. The process is also timed in different day parts to arrive at the Takt Time

There are regular reviews of this process done by the managers of the outlets to study the efficiency and effectiveness of the process and also the training impact on the individuals. These checkpoints also help to review the process for improvement and more value. For example, the waiting time of the customer can be made more relaxing by providing free samples of new products, the menu boards can be made more interactive and educative through running videos.


The Benefits of Standardization when used in processes for Manufacturing and Service

-      Reduce wastages – reduce cost

-      Improve Speed

-      Improves the Management and design

-      Encourages innovation and improvement as it provides structured methods and reliable data that saves time in innovation process

-      Makes it Easier to train staff across different locations as the practice remains same

-      Helps to replicate and expand

-      Performance measurement also becomes easy- easier to motivate personnel


Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) is one of the global examples of standardization, to which all companies listed on US stock exchange must adhere to. The benefits are definitely evident!!

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Standardized work in LEAN is the description of the work being performed, its steps and sequences

It basically means defining who does the task, when they do it, and how they do it. It provides a method to document the process information in a written format and used for training new comers and workers on the job to do their work more efficiently

It requires three elements: 

  • Takt time : It is the Rate at which products must be produced in order to meet customer demand. It is equal to Available production time / Customer Demand (units)
  • Work Sequence : The steps and in order by which employees do the task.
  • Standard inventory (or in-process stock) : Minimum quantity of parts and raw materials needed to run operations

Standardized work helps organizations by : 
a) Reducing variation in output
b) Helping employees to structure their work
c) Minimises accidents and injuries
d) Gives a standard basis for Continuous improvement

Example of a Standardized Work :

Work : Taking a Hotel Check-In

I) Activities :

   1) Receive and Greet the Guest using appropriate messages : 5 seconds
   2) Ask for Booking Information (Letter, Message etc) : 10 seconds
   3) Check Booking in Opera (Hotel Management) System : 15 seconds
   4) If Booking exists :
              4a) Take Identity Proof and do a Check-In : 1 min
   5) If Booking does not exist :
              5a) Check for available rooms : 15 seconds
              5b) If room available, then do a Check-In as Walk-In : 2 mins
              5c) If room not available, politely refer the guest to other Hotels in close proximity : 5 seconds
  6) Give keys to Guest Relations for Rooming : 10 seconds    

II) Total Time : 3 mins

III) Inventory : Reservation Cards, Rooms Keys

IV) Process Document : Flow Chart, SOP, Brand Service Standards

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Standard or Standardized work is one of the fundamental disciplines of Toyota Production System (TPS) and Lean Manufacturing. As once said by Godfather of Lean, Taiichi Ohno, “Where there is no standard, there can be no kaizen or lean."

Standard Work is defined as the best known and demonstrated method to produce a product or a service. The objective is to clearly communicate to the operator / person exactly how the job should be performed and aims at to reduce the variation in the process. Standard work is one the key element of success in Lean Manufacturing.


Some of the ways to achieve the Standardized work are :

i) Work Instructions and SOPs
ii) 8 Step Process
iii) Visuals
iv) One Point Lesson 


Standard work lays down the foundation of process improvement and it sets the right base to start for any kind of improvement you are looking out in the process. Depiction of it is illustrated in below image :



Elements of Standardized Work :


1. Takt Time : Takt time is the rate at which you need to complete a product to meet customer demand. Takt time is like a sell rate and can be treated as heartbeat of your process. It helps in optimizing the capacity in most appropriate way. For example, if you receive a new product order for your store every 30 mins, then you need to finish the previous order in 30 mins or less to meet the demand. (Origin of Word Takt : This term originates from German word “takt”, means a beat or a pulse.)

Mathematically, Takt Time = Total Available Production or Processing Time / Average Customer Demand or Volumes

2. Work Sequence : This is the exact sequence of steps taken to complete the work and we can relate it to SOPs or Standard Work Charts that we follow in our day to day processes to ensure output is consistent across.

3. Standard Inventory : This is the amount of in-process inventory that should be present at the workstation, including inventory mounted on machines. This is one of the control that helps to coordinate between all operators and machines involved in the work and limits the over production. Here we shall keep in mind that ultimate aim in lean is to reduce or minimize the inventory as this is one of the waste.

Here key message to be understood is that Standardized (Standard) work is not the static kind of document or way of working however this concept helps the process to improve over a period of time by keeping in center the above 3 elements. Ultimately, Standard Work concept aims to improve the takt time and reducing inventory over a period of time and documentation (Work Sequence) can be updated in line to process as and when there is any change in the process steps. 


Practically, I can relate this to process where we implemented the RPA (Robotic Process Automation) last year.


This was an account opening process and high level Steps of the process are :

i) Receive the account opening form

ii) Enter the customer details into the system

iii) Open the account

iv) Send a confirmation mail to customer once account is opened

v) Update the system accordingly and close the request


Challenge in Process : Due to seasonality involved and high fluctuations in the process volumes, there was often challenges in the process to meet the capacity related requirement since there was need of quick onboarding and offboarding of the resources and this was also having an adverse impact on the quality as well as time to onboard was very low (7-14 days). So finally we decided to implement the RPA to cater the problem of high volumes, low quality and high number of resource requirement. 


End Result : Post implementation of RPA, Processing time was reduced by 90% and only exceptions were handled manually. Post implementation of RPA, process documents was updated accordingly and agreed with client. 


If we see above scenario, though earlier process (Pre RPA Implementation) was having documentation (Work Sequence) in place, however to address the key process challenges, RPA was implemented and which helped in improvement in in Takt time which led to very low inventory (In process or pending items) and Updated documentation due to change in way of working post RPA implementation. 

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Standardized Work is one of the fundamentals of the lean methodology. Standard Work is defined by Toyota as a detailed definition of the current best practices for performing a process. In the lean principles we have Standardized work as one of the key elements. It aims to the objective of continuous improvement of the process.  It also includes the time taken to do each task in the process. Standardized work enables in reducing variation and there by improves the process.“Where there is no standard, there can be no kaizen.”- Taiichi Ohno

The objective of the Standardized work is having fool proof solutions and continuously improve them and benefits in identifying and eliminating previously unseen wastes. It focuses at the customer demand, efficient process steps, cycle time, audits to minimize defects and effort required.

1.     Takt Time is the rate at which we need to complete the product in order to meet the customer expectations / demand.  Takt is calculated by dividing the available production time by customer demand. Through the takt time we will be able to understand the bottlenecks in process and non-value added activities and it will help us to identify the wastes in the system.

Eg: Monitoring the Turn Around time of tickets resolution.

2.     Work Sequence is the step by step detailed operating procedure which need to be performed / completed by operators within TAKT time to meet the customer demand. It helps in knowledge transfer and make the whole process standardised and helps in streamlining. It helps to forecast the resource crunch in advance which helps to maintain at least minimum resources to operate the business.

Eg: Process documentation, escalation matrix

3.     Standard Inventory aims to understand the inventory and focus on at least minimum quantity of parts, raw materials, resources to run the smooth operations.

Example :  Resourcing for tickets resolution is done using the volume handled and the resolution time



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Standardized work is one of the Great Lean concepts. This will help in Baselining/Defining the AS IS process very precise & clearly and helps how and speed at which a product or a Transaction to be processed to meet the Customer Demand.  This is one of the Key requirements for JIT (Just-In-Time Production System). The objective is to clearly communicate to the operator exactly how the job should be performed. 


There are 3 elements of Standardized work:

  • Takt Time
  • Work Sequence
  • Standard In-Process Inventory

Talk time:  This explains the rate at which product/transaction must be processed to meet the customer Demand. For Example.  A staff has 8 hours in a day and need to deliver 16 Transactions in a day then he/she must complete 1 transaction in 0.5 Hours.  So, this will set the Target time within which Transaction needs to be completed and helps to define the # of staff need to be deployed to meet the Customer Demand. 


Work Sequence: This will define the exact number of steps to be performed and in which order to get the desired outcome. Example: Process Mapping or SOP may help in clearly define the work Sequence.


Standard In-Process Inventory: This will define the ideal Quantity of inventory to be carried to meet the Demand so that the process is not carrying Over or Under Inventory which will impact the Production / Cost of Operations.


So, by documenting and displaying the above elements in the work station to operator / Staff will facilitate better clarity, expectation and in turn help to meet the Customer demand with Economical Cost of Production.

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Standardized work:
It is one of the principles of lean manufacturing and is a mean of stablishing accurate procedures to make products in the secure, easiest, and most powerful way based on current technologies.


Three elements of Standardized work are
1. Takt time, 2. Work Sequence 3. Standard Inventory.


1. Takt time: Rate at which parts or products need to complete in order to meet customer demand. 
Example: If we receive a new product order every 5 hours, we need to finish a product in 5 hours or less to meet customer demand.
Takt time = Total Time Available for Production / Customer's Daily Demand


2. Work Sequence: The steps operators need to execute within Takt time, in the sequence in which they must be completed
Example: Eat Dinner task cannot start until Cooking is complete


3. Standard Inventory: Minimum quantity of parts and raw materials needed to run operations.
Example: The minimum level of inventory is a kind of a safety level of inventory which shows that the delivery of raw materials or stock may take more than the normal lead time. Lead time is expected time extract by the supplier to deliver goods

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Three elements of Standardized work;
Takt time
Work sequence 
Standard work (WIP)


Takt Time; the speed of a job that must be done, so as to fulfill customer demand. 
Takt time is calculated by dividing the net available time an organization by work in a given time by the customer during 
same period. For example, if the organization sets 360 minutes to work in a day with customer demand of 180 pcs of their finished goods, the takt time is 360/180 = 2 minutes per piece. This takt time indicates the speed of work in order to match customer demand as close as possible, besides, avoiding waste of overproduction. Takt time is also used to define the timing of the work that needs to be done

Work Sequence; the second element of standard work, describes the work done in a numbered sequence of  manual tasks. Work Sequence is important to be clearly defined, so that different job  can be done by different people and obtain same result. When the process is done in a different sequence each time, we will not get same results. In addition, problems such as accidents, incorrect parts, defects and missing parts,  often occur when there is no defined and standardized Work Sequence Standard WIP.


Standard Work is Standard Work in Process (WIP). A minimum amount of WIP is necessary to ensure the  process flows smoothly. The reason for Standard WIP is to ensure right amount of WIP based on the timing and sequence required, as well as taking into consideration of limiting factors within the process such as lot size and wait time. Standard WIP includes in-process materials. These could be parts which are being worked on manually, parts which are processed by machines, parts which are curing or drying, or parts which are used for set-ups.  Standard WIP could also be material or parts which has gone out to an external vendor to process. It is important to establish maximum & minimum quantities for raw materials and finished goods. Meanwhile, Standard WIP does not include finished goods and raw material. 
Standard WIP calculations: (Auto Cycle Time +  Manual Cycle Time ) / Takt Time. 

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In Manufacturing unit Lean is a strong methodology to follow and “Standardized Work” is one of LEAN principles to be used rigorously. Standardized work is used to make products in the safest, easiest and most effective way based on current technologies. This lean principle is based on three elements:


1.     Takt Time – Takt is a German word and being used for pulse or beat in music. However, in manufacturing unit TAKT stand for the important measure of output against demand. TAKT time is the rate at which we need to complete the product in order to meet the customer expectations / demand.  Takt is calculated by dividing the available production time by customer demand.

Example : Working in a customer care call handling time always monitored in terms of AHT, ATT etc.

Benefits of Takt Time

·       Bottlenecks are quickly identified

·       Non-Value-added activities or process / product waste can be identified quickly

·       Quicker to identify underperformers


2.     Work Sequence – is the step by step detailed operating procedure which need to be performed / completed by operators within TAKT time to meet the customer demand.

Example : The entire process, scripts, product details, escalation points are documented in a document which can be follow by Agents on each step.

Benefits of Work Sequence

·       Standardized and streamlined processing / product manufacturing steps

·       Easy to identify the kaizens at each step level and do improvements accordingly


3.     Standard Inventory – is the tracking mechanism to keep the focus on at least minimum quantity of parts, raw materials, resources to run the smooth operations.

Example : Basis on the call volume the average handling time helps to decide how many resources we would need or can say we need people to work for how many hours. Basis on that the required agents calculation is done and accordingly forecasting is performed for future requirement.

Benefit of Inventory – It helps to forecast the resource crunch in advance which helps to maintain at least minimum resources to operate the business.

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Standardized work: In simple way we can define as Based on the current technology, establishing the procedures to make products in the easiest, safest and most effective way. The goal is clearly communicate to the operator how exactly the job should be performed. It is one of the principles of Lean Manufacturing.  

Standardized work reduces variability because the process performed more efficient way which results reduces variations in the final output. The work we planned or performed are predictable and with high quality, less costs.  As we said, Standardized work increases efficiency, this makes more time for innovative work.

In Standardized work, we documents everything, it ensures there is no gap (understanding) in the operator performance.

Standardized work requires three elements.

a. Takt time (and cycle time):   Rate at which production of products or parts will be produced based on the customer demand.

Example: Your team receive a new product/part order every six hours, then your team needs to finish a product/parts in six hours or less than six hours to meet the demand. Here you have 6 hours is the maximum amount of time you need to fulfil with to meet customer demand.

Simply we can define Talk time = Total available Production time (divided by)

  Average customer demand


This will optimize your capacity to the meet the demand without keeping too much of inventory in reserve.

Also note when defining the takt time, you should consider relatively short time frame for the average customer demand. Usually time frame will be weekly or monthly.

b. Work Sequence: The sequence of operations operators need to perform within the Takt time, in the order in which they must be accomplished/completed.

Example: In construction process, we have pre construction steps, during construction steps & post construction steps.

Pre constructions steps (finding land, budget, building plan, etc) needs to be completed before we start the construction.

Another example is packing items:  item to be packed in flat or big box, label it and send it to shipment department with in the takt time.(sequence of work to be completed within takt time)

c. Standard inventory (or in-process stock): To run any operation we need minimum quantity of parts and raw materials. This is called standard inventory or in-process stock.

It allows Operator to do their jobs continuously without any halt, in order of sequence and repeating the same operation over and over in the same order.

For example:  for packing department , we need a raw material like packing material, tape, label’s, gift wrappers, Boxes, etc. we need these items to be stocked at minimum to make sure the work to be continued without any halt.



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Standardized work is one of the most powerful lean tool. The Standardized work forms the baseline for Continuous improvement by documenting the best practice. As standard improves, the new standard becomes the baseline and so on. Improving the standardized work is an ongoing process.

The standardized work consists of below three elements:

1)     The first element of standard work is Takt time. Takt time is the rate by which work must be performed to satisfy customer demands. This can be done by: dividing the net available time that an organization has to work in a given period. E.g an organization has 600 minutes to work per day and the customer demands 300 outputs, their takt time would be 2 minutes per output.

Takt time sets the pace of work to match the customer demands & preventing the waste of overproduction.

2)     Work Sequence is the 2nd element of Standard work. This is done by description of the work done in a numbered sequence for all the manual tasks. It may also be called as dance steps of a process. It is very important to clearly define the numbered sequence so that different employees working in that process can get the same expected result. If the sequence is not followed, the same results cannot be achieved. This shall also avoid problems like wrong parts, missing parts, defects which may often occur in any process when standardized process is not followed.

3)     Third element of standardized work is “Standard Work in progress”. This is referred to the minimum amount of work necessary in a process to keep it flowing smoothly. The Standard WIP includes all in-process materials being worked on manually, parts being processed inside a machine or the parts used for setting things up. An example of baking cookies where we will normally bake a batch of cooking while preparing the next batch to ready to go in for baking. In this example, the cooking which are baking as well the ready to bake outside oven are considered as Standard WIP of this process. Standard WIP can be calculated as (Manual Cycle Time + Auto Cycle Time) / Takt Time.


Benefits of Standardized work:

·       Standardized work helps new joined employees to understand the process quickly and hence the training time can be reduced

·       Brings a culture of continuous improvement

·       Employees are more focused & empowered to think

·       While employees are following standardized work, it reduces the defects and process variations.

·       It helps to reduce scrap and rework waste.

·       It helps in reducing operational costs


One of the examples of Standardization in a Technology team

Team Charter: The team is a Responsible for transition of new BOTs from development to support

Problem Statement: No defined or standard onboarding / incident management process.

Goal: The implementation of onboarding best practices was required to optimize operate / support run the BOTs post-production

Challenges: Lack of standardization in exception categorization, fault tolerance, error logging requiring the team to invest a lot of time to understand the nature of issue - business / system; and take appropriate action. Also impacting the business downtime

~ 15 incidents getting reported per process (100+ process in prod) on a monthly basis


Previous State:

·       No defined on-boarding process / governance model.

·       Code deployed to production by L3 team after taking KT from the developers [4 dedicated FTEs supporting the on-boarding efforts across different portfolio’s]

·       No transition from L3 to L2 as automated processes are transitioned to BAU

·       No std change management process




·       Implemented coding best practices

·       Onboarded Process model

·       Defined an onboarding and governance model

·       Developed Score card for ranking each process before onboarding

·       Ensures the code deployed to production adheres to the BP / UiPath coding best practices (proper exception categorization, exception emails specifying the action to the taken by the team etc.)

·       All supporting documents are reviewed and validated before process onboarding

Current State:

·       Defined on-boarding process / governance model.

·       Process managed in well-defined frame by the team

·       Code deployed to production after reviewing the code against the defined best practices

·       KT taken by existing L2 resources ensuring smooth transition from HyperCare to BAU.

·       Proper Change management process followed

·       BOTs are measured against a tangible Hyper Care exit criterion thereby ensuring that only stable processes are allowed into BAU


Onboarding Governance model:

Before deploying a code to production, team reviews the code against best practices (42 best practices) defined by the vendor

For every new process onboarded, team manages a scorecard to ensure that all onboarding process guidelines are adhered to before an automated process is deployed into production



·       Improved success rate of new automated processes thereby reducing incidents

·       Saving of ~4.8 FTE

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Standardized work is one of the key elements of Lean Principles and the most ignored and can be described as a simple description, in writing, of the safest, best quality and the most efficient way of performing a particular process. This description is the only acceptable way to do the process and is expected to improve continuously over the period.  The description includes the amount of time taken to perform each task in the process.  Standardized work helps in reducing variation and is required for all work areas.

 “Where there is no standard, there can be no kaizen.”- Taiichi Ohno

Standardized work helps in sustaining solutions, continuously improve them and helps in identifying and eliminating previously unseen wastes.

To sum up, Standardized Work defines the following essentials for everyone doing the process,  resulting in development of a culture of continuous improvement and also in establishing Lean practices:

1.       Demand from the Customer

2.       The most efficient process routine or process steps

3.       Cycle times required to complete the process

4.       Process quality checks required to minimize defects/errors

5.       The exact amount of effort required in process

Steps for Creating Standardized Work

·         Define the Start and End points of the process which needs standardized work

·         Determine the extent of standard work requirements

·         Create all the standard work documents

·         Train the Employees on the Standard Work based on their roles

·         Execute the process and monitor the performance

·         Based on the results make corrections and modifications to the standard work

Standardized Work consists of three critical elements:

1.       Defining the Standards:

Takt Time, helps in achieving the Customer demand, as it is the rate at which an output should be provided to meet the demand. This is the standard to which the process should be performing, ensuring the stakeholder/customer requirements are met.


For example, in a Claim processing the Customer expects 100 forms to be processed in the available time of 8 hours, then the Takt time to meet the customer demand is 4.8 min per form


2.       Standardize the Process/Method

Work Sequencing or Value Stream Mapping helps in sequencing the process steps or tasks in the most efficient order to ensure that the Takt time is achieved.  To arrive at the most efficient order, the process needs to be mapped to identify the cycle time for each process step/task which will add up to provide the overall time taken to process.


In the above example, the Claim Processing involves four process steps of Indexing, Processing, Quality Check and Approval.  Using a Value Stream Mapping, the actual and the ideal cycle time can be identified along with the process steps that add value and the steps that can be eliminated, or time spent can be reduced.


3.       Observe the Process and In-process inventory:

With one of the key focus of Lean is to reduce inventory, Standardized work helps in defining the standards for the work in progress product as well as the end product ensuring that you have the right product in right quantity



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Standardized work is one of the popular tools being used by lean professionals. In this tool current practice is being documented, which acts as the as is status and can be compared after kaizens or any improvements. after improvement new process will became base line and going on.

Basically, standardized work consists of three elements:

Takt time, which is the rate at which products must be made in a process to meet customer demand.
The exact work sequence in which operator completes tasks within takt time.
The  WIP inventory, including units in machines, required to keep the process operating smoothly

Let's take an example.. There is a part called A, Customer required 800 Parts per day, there are 400 min/day available for production. 
TAKT;- 800/400=  2 Parts/Min.
Sequence of Assembly:- lets assume there are four steps which needs to complete in defined sequence.
Step 1;- Bearing loading and heating
Step 2:-  Bearing unloading and fitting on shaft
Step 3:- Seal Fitment on shaft
After these three steps product A is complete.

WIP:- We have defined inventory between these three steps to avoid line stoppage..
Inventory of Bearings for Heating;- 3
Bearing and shaft fitted assembly:- 3
Sea fitted Shafts:-0-1

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Standardized work is a systematic approach to document working processes giving Workers (Process Doers) more control in the day-to-day running of their operations.  A written document identifying each step in the work process is in place, allowing adherence to the agreed standard and a baseline for improvement. The objective for this written document is to communicate the standard work procedures or activities to the operators. It encompasses all the safety and quality aspects required to support employees and customers while identifying waste which can be eliminated to reduce cost and improve productivity.  The three elements of standardized work are,

1.       Takt Time

2.       Work Sequence

3.       Standard Inventory:


Takt Time:

Takt time is used to determine how much products need to be produced in a given time period to meet customer demand. It is also mentioned the time required to produce a unit. It can be calculated as below,

Takt Time = Available Production Time/Customer demand

Example: Customer demand is 100 pcs of coffee packets and available production time is 200 minutes

                Takt Time = 200/100 = 2 Minutes/Pcs


Work Sequence: The operators need to complete the process steps or sequence of activities to produce the products or service within Takt time.

Example: For Food Delivery the work sequence, Order Receiving -->Address Verification -->Order Acceptance --> Food Preparation -->Food Packaging -->Food Collection by Delivery Boy -->Contact address Mapping --> Food delivery to the Customer,   ---In this whole sequence need to be completed within takt time.


Standard inventory (or in-process stock): It is referred to work in progress materials/stock. It is a minimum quantity of parts and raw materials required to run production operations.

Example: In continuous Polymer process industries, the raw materials, and specified quantities of Work in process material stock is always needed to run the operations and achieve the quality. If work in progress material stock is less than the stipulated level, then quality of the polymer product will not be the customer specifications and also the raw material safety stock plus buffer stock should be maintained, if not even one time shutdown will bring a huge loss of  money and process plant startup will take more days than expected.



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All the published answers have correctly explained the concept of Standardized Work. Some of the answers are a must read - Dipankar, Setu, Ilavarasi, Raja - for the examples that they have quoted. While Madhu's answer is a good read to get a gist of the steps involved in implementation of standardized work. However, the answer that stands out, covers all aspects and connects to various other lean principles is provided by Rajesh and hence is selected as the winner.

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Standardized Work in LEAN refers to the systematic determination and documentation of work element sequence and process for each operation. 


It encompasses all the safety and quality aspects required to support employees and customers while identifying waste which can be eliminated to reduce cost and improve productivity.  The three elements of standardized work are,

1.       Takt Time It is the Rate at which products must be produced. It is equal to Available production time / Customer Demand (units)

2.       Work Sequence :  The steps and in order by which employees do the task.

3.       Standard Inventory :Minimum quantity of parts and raw materials needed to run operations



Standardized work helps organizations by : 
a) Reducing variation
b) Create a flow of work( Structure of work)
c) Minimize hazards 
d) Ensure Continuous improvement


Example of a Standardized Work : Order processing in a Electronic shop


Sequence of steps


1. Enter the customer information with full name & Address - ( 1 min)

2. Enter order details  Product details, Payment mode,  Warrantee Details, Discounts, EMI options  -(  2 min)

3) Retrieve items from stock (1 min)

4) Print invoice & share with customer 

Total invested time 4 min


Inventory : Electronic Items in shop 

Documentation :: Flow Chart, SOP



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Lean's biggest principle is simplified process and simplification will be achieved when everyone follows a standard process.  In an organization different people, teams, departments create their own processes.  By means of standardized work we tend to baseline and find the requirements fitting to everyone and disseminate it to entire team, organization to eliminate variation.  Standardized work helps in eliminating dependency on individual and make process streamlined and on a journey for continuous improvement.  Standardized process will be a stable, predictable process with less variation.


There are 3 pivots in standardized work:

TAKT time:  Takt time is a word coming from manufacturing world.  Takt time is the rate which one need to produce to meet the customer demand.  It is also calculated as available production time/ time required to meet the customer demand.

Sequencing of Work:  Work sequence is important way of standardizing work by looking at the sequencing of work, arranging it in an order by looking at dependency on the upstream and downstream process which eliminates MUDA in the process

Standard in Process Inventory:  Ensuring optimal inventory which meets the demand of the customer.  Also ensuring at every step inventory doesnt gets piled up which leads to waiting which becomes NVA.  


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