Lean: Understanding Your Current Processes and Capabilities
The foundation of Lean and Continuous Improvement starts with understanding your current process and capabilities. In order to understand each process we need to have established standards, specifically standard work and standard work instructions. This is true for both manufacturing and office processes.
Standard work, once established and validated should be displayed at workstations and office desks. Standard working instructions are a key requirement for continuous improvement and improvement Kaizens. The benefits of having standard work include standardization across shifts, reduction in variability; comprehensive training for new employees and reduction on injuries and job related stress and strain.
Without standard work in place there is no real baseline of current process capability, and this will often lead to continuous improvement activities identifying the wrong target areas requiring correction. After all, the real purpose of a Kaizen event is to make changes which will has a positive impact on operations for both the company and the employee.
With this in mind, confirm you have standard work in place for your current processes. Make sure they are visible and current. You might even want to check to see when they were last reviewed and validated as accurate. Then you can review the metrics collected from the process and head out to the lean event knowing you are heading in the right direction.
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