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Standard Work Instructions — Key Lean Manufacturing Initiative for Job Shops

A clear set of standards guiding your shop will lead to top-notch efficiency, satisfied customers, skilled employees and an improved bottom line.

Any job shop knows the importance of lean manufacturing, which occurs from accurately and diligently documenting standard work. Standard work instructions are the best method for completing a task. This means you’re getting the most efficient, highest-quality procedure that leads toward completion, with safety in mind.

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Source: Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Components of Standard Work Instructions

Standard work instructions offer step-by-step instruction for your employees. The idea is to minimize variation in a way that any employee in the shop can pick them up and perform the task. The instructions should also include quality checks that reduce errors and defects. You don’t want a customer who needs a prototype and production service to be turned away because the “prototype and production service guy” is gone. Everyone should be able to perform the tasks.

Your Shop Performs a Lot of Tasks, Not Just One

Because you have a variety of services to sell, it’s a great idea to focus first on the easy tasks when implementing standard work instructions. A good place to start is equipment maintenance, cleanup, inspection or calibration. These are good practices that shouldn’t change often. They are also a great way to bring new employees into the business. After all, they need to understand the machines and how they work. Perfecting the maintenance and calibration will improve quality and reduce accidents as well.

Next Steps                                        

The next step is to solve the variety problem. Look for consistencies your parts might contain in your shop. It’s likely that many of the parts start the same way and then variations are added. Focus on those consistencies and develop instructions.

With any standard instruction, it’s crucial to publish clearly. Make the standards clear and understandable, accessible to all, as well as credible and consistent.

Customers who know they’ll get top quality come back for more. That’s what drives our prototype and production service at PDS, so contact us today.

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