One of the problems we consistently run into in our factories is the deviation from standard work by our equipment technicians. I don’t think the problem is all that unusual. The technician feels that he/she has a better way to do the work and begins doing it. This occurs across shifts and at that point the various shifts begin showing deviations from the standard. The supervisors and managers are busy putting out fires throughout the factory and are unaware of the deviation for some time. Sound familiar?
In the Toyota Culture book pages 273-274 Liker and Hoseus discuss the Toyota model for standard work. One thing that was mentioned was the safety risks associated with deviating from standard work. Especially if the standard work has taken into account ergonomic factors.
A second area that interested me was the audit process that Toyota uses to ensure that standard work is being followed.
At Toyota it is expected that team leaders, group leaders, and even assistant managers audit jobs daily. In the group leader’s domain of about 20 team members, one job per day is observed so each job is observed each month.
One area that has been a constant struggle has been the accountability to follow standard work. The auditor at Toyota uses the standard work sheet and sometimes the job breakdown sheet to perform the audit. They then take note of any deviation from the standard. The deviations lead to either coaching or change in the physical setup of the work.
I like the fact that Toyota respects people by holding them accountable. All too often we are tempted to say we respect someone’s work but then we never show any interest in it. How long does a standard get followed if nobody is watching? How often do the improvements get documented and standard work updated if nobody cares?