Possible Causes of Standard Work Fails

Understanding reliable methods of achieving high quality, and then applying them consistently, is a difficult task for anyone. If you are struggling with standardizing work to the best known practices, consider these possible causes:

1. Disagreement on Standards

Without standards, there can be no improvement.

Taiichi Ohno
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Using the 5 Whys to Quickly Address Problems

“Paralysis by analysis” is a risk with problems of all kinds. Consequently, people will often ignore issues or apply so-called band-aid solutions, which do little to address the root causes. Any problem will have multiple root causes, better represented in a tree diagram or fishbone. Unfortunately, these deeper analyses can be complicated and time consuming, when most situations require rapid action.

The solution: Find a single root cause, and address it. This is represented as the “5 Whys” in several frameworks. For any problem, ask and answer “Why?”, using each response as the next question; until you find an appropriate root cause, somewhere around the 5th round.

For example, I spend too much.

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Stop and See

I have previously noted the harms of distraction, in more of a personal sense. This truth is similarly important in a workplace. Most people, including so-called supervisors, avoid any appearance of stillness, ending up distracted from many insights. Noticing a critical opportunity could easily double the productivity of a process. With a frequent process, one could quickly save thousands of hours of effort. A solution?

Ohno Circles:

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The 8 Wastes: Introduction

In quality improvement, we look for 8 common wastes. They are not entirely comprehensive, nor exclusive. The wastes are cues for issues you have ignored or forgotten. I will write comprehensive posts for each waste. For now, here is a brief summary, with examples:

1: Waiting

This is the most obvious, any time people are left waiting. Sure, people could take the opportunity to meditate or check their phones, but they would usually prefer to do something else, somewhere else. This category can also be used to identify idle equipment that could be utilized.

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