Lean calls it Standardized Work. Six Sigma calls it Standard Work. The underlying concept is that you need to write down the best methods for completing work and then get people to follow this exactly until you find a better method through continuous improvement.
The concept of Standard Work came into being because deviations from the best practices can be costly. Production output slows, quality suffers, and people get injured.
There is great power in getting your team to put its best foot forward every day. This religious adherence to a known methodology is how the best companies in the world achieve greatness. You simply can’t wing it if you are making a jet engine or a pacemaker. Regimented consistency is not only efficient, it’s the right way to work.
The question is how do you implement Standard Work into your company practices in 2017?
Should you write it on paper or post a PDF about it somewhere? No. No one likes to “refer to the manual.” Grabbing a binder or scrolling through a giant PDF if you are running around a shop floor or out in the field isn’t practical and if you look at your operations, people just don’t do it even if you tell them to.
Should you train people? Yes & No. Training at most companies is a one-time event. People go, they half pay attention, and they take away some nuggets of knowledge that they might remember on the job. This won’t get you to Standard Work, but it will provide some of the work fundamentals that hopefully people can recall while on the job.
So in 2017 what is a practical approach? Millennials aren’t at all big on paper or training. These digital natives have brought about a revolution in application usability that is now impacting everyone. If you watch them operate in any work environment, they gravitate to their phone…and it's rubbing off on the rest of us. Clearly the most engaging medium any mobile worker has in their orbit is their mobile device. You might be thinking, though, that the world has been harping on mobile usability in the work environment forever. It’s not new, it’s not novel. This is why it’s time to change your perception.
Smartphones and tablets are cheap, ubiquitous, fast, and powerful. If you want to get people in your company to execute Standard Work, the smartphone is the new laptop for the industrial workforce. Now that you're fully equipped with your mobile tools, you’ll need some enterprise class mobile software to deploy and enforce Standard Work.
At Parsable, we are part of a new wave of people and companies making Standard Work a standard in their organizations. We bring Standard Work to any mobile device. The platform helps companies boil Standard Work down to its bare essence so people get just what they need to complete their work. We make it easy for them to “click” on the steps that they have completed so companies can measure everything and see how close they are getting to the Standard Work standards they’ve established for themselves. They can also isolate what is preventing them from achieving their goals and quickly roll out new Standard Work instructions to all employees – no training or meetings required. Employees get inline training and instruction as well as full multimedia collaboration with their colleagues so if they have a question, they can get real-time answers.