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Standardized Operator Work Practices - Work Instructions - To what Level ?

J

JeffSM

#1
I'm looking for thoughts & comments on how far you go to enforce standardized work practices.

In each of our assembly operations we have work instructions posted that illustrate the major steps involved in completeing the process. The sequence of the WI decribes the order of operations.

In some instances, if an operator doesn't follow the illustrated sequence, there is no actual impact to efficiency or quality. As an example, some work stations are primarily prep stations. They prepare a part for assembly down the line. It really makes no difference if they remove 3 shipping caps in the order of 1,2 3 or 3,2,1. However we can only write the WI one way.

So if an operator doesn't follow the exact sequence, they aren't following the standard. So do we reprimand the employee for not following the work pattern ? In reality it's make no difference.

I'm stuck as to whether we focus on the details such as this, or write the work instruction in a way that allows for variation such as this. Problem is, if we allow variation in a couple stations, how do we convey that in others, the sequence must be followed.

Any thoughts ?

Thanks
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Re: Standardized Work - To what Level ?

I think you answered your own question. If something doesn't matter don't require it. If the sequence of an operation doesn't matter, then simply state that any sequence is acceptable. Why can't you document that?
 
K

KLDLetts - 2012

#3
Re: Standardized Work - To what Level ?

In your example I would phrase the WI as "Remove shipping caps" and present a photo that indicates what/where they are.

In cases where the order matters, spell it out in the WI. Such as "Place washer, insert screw, tighten to xx lbs torque" Consider numbering, or sub-numbering those steps.

When training, indicate that when specific actions are required (or numbered steps) are posted, they must be followed in order. General instructions have no order sequence.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#4
Re: Standardized Work - To what Level ?

I'm looking for thoughts & comments on how far you go to enforce standardized work practices.

In each of our assembly operations we have work instructions posted that illustrate the major steps involved in completeing the process. The sequence of the WI decribes the order of operations.

In some instances, if an operator doesn't follow the illustrated sequence, there is no actual impact to efficiency or quality. As an example, some work stations are primarily prep stations. They prepare a part for assembly down the line. It really makes no difference if they remove 3 shipping caps in the order of 1,2 3 or 3,2,1. However we can only write the WI one way.

So if an operator doesn't follow the exact sequence, they aren't following the standard. So do we reprimand the employee for not following the work pattern ? In reality it's make no difference.

I'm stuck as to whether we focus on the details such as this, or write the work instruction in a way that allows for variation such as this. Problem is, if we allow variation in a couple stations, how do we convey that in others, the sequence must be followed.

Any thoughts ?

Thanks
How about "Remove the shipping caps"? When sequence is important, you should say so. A person should be able to assume that if no specific sequence is given (as in my example above) sequence isn't important.
 
J

JeffSM

#5
Is it still "Standardized Work" if we allow people to complete certain processes differently ? Tha's the part I have a problem with.
 
K

KLDLetts - 2012

#7
Standardization can include reasonable flexibility.
Reasonable flexibility is important. If instructions are over specified and the penalty for non-conformance is high, you will effectively squelch any chance of continual improvement/innovation from your workplace.
 
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