Use the correct Observation worksheet
Both process observation worksheets come as part of the Lean bundle of Systems2win templates.
For a highly repetitive short
For most processes...
Unique to the TimeObservation.doc template
Unique to the Observation.xls template
|Observe the same process several times - ideally 10 times - all recorded on the same worksheet.||If you observe the process more than once, (which is usually recommended), then record your observations on separate printed sheets.|
|Start by observing and listing the work elements - without timing them. Just write them down as you see them, then ask the person performing the work if it looks right to him or her - and then start recording times for each work element.||Time as you observe.|
|Make notes about unusual
interruptions, but don't enter a line item for them.
Use notes to define conditions for Work Elements that don't ALWAYS happen. (Examples: Different products require different amounts of time. A step is not needed for some products...)
If one product is extremely different from the other products that are made in the same work cell, you might want to do a completely separate time study.
|Write down the start time for EVERYTHING that the person does. Even interruptions unrelated to the process.|
Use 2 stopwatches (or 1 plus your wrist-watch)
If you miss timing an element during one cycle, just leave it blank, and be sure to observe it in the next cycle.
|Just use a wrist watch with a second hand.|
|Time unit of measure is almost always in seconds.||Time unit of measure is usually in minutes.|
|If relevant, sketch the layout
diagram on a separate sheet of paper.
Or use the Layout Diagram template.
|Hand-sketch the layout diagram in
the upper right corner.
Add dimensions only if travel distance is an issue.
After all observations have been completed - fill in the column for the second lowest time for each work element.
Tally up the sum of the second lowest times for each work element, which is the "lowest repeatable cycle time" (which is sometimes lower than the lowest actual total cycle time that you recorded)
Transcribe your time observations to the As Is worksheet of the Standard Work Combination Sheet for this process.
|Process Observation results might
be used in:
and your Lean team might have your own rules for how to determine the times to enter into each type of tool.
|Use the Standard Work Combination Sheet to analyze Value Add Time, and Types of Waste.||Analyze Types of Waste right there on the Observation worksheet.|
|Special instructions for process observation for Value Stream Mapping:|
|Common to both TimeObservation.doc and Observation.xls templates|
If more than one person will be observing the process (perhaps your entire Value Stream Team) - then divvy up assignments. For example: Interviewer, documenter, timer, issues and ideas recorder, photographer, existing documentation gatherers...
Personalize the A3 Interview worksheet to contain the
questions that your team wants to ask.
Introduce yourself and explain what you're doing and why
Engage the person doing the work - to help to identify things that get in their way - and ideas for how to make their work easier
Using an erasable pencil, handwrite on a blank printed copy
of the template...Start with a blank printed copy of the
Each Work Element should be the "smallest increment of work
that could be handed off to another person".
Tip: Leave a few blank spaces, and don't number your sequence numbers until after the entire time observation process is completed. It is VERY common to notice extra work elements after you get started.
Record walk time in its own row. (even though it doesn't get its own sequence number, and will be combined in the same row with Work time on the Standard Work Combination Sheet)
Record time spent waiting for a machine to finish in its own row.
While you're there, also measure the machine cycle time. (The time that a machine runs - with no regard to whether or not the machine is attended.) One observation is usually sufficient.
Review what you've written with the person doing the work - to make sure that
you got everything right.
Confirm your scheduled time to complete the
Fill in sequence numbers last - after all observations have been completed -
and the observations have been reviewed by the person doing the work.
Take some time to reflect on your observations.
When the process is improved - personally follow up with the person doing the
Less common process observation methods
While personal observation with a stopwatch is usually preferred, there are
circumstances that can justify video observation instead.
(e.g. remote observation, or trying to observe a process that moves too fast or too slow for real-time observation...)
Use a video camera with time stamping on each frame.
Then enter times into either a copy of the Observation.xls worksheet, or directly into the purple columns in your Standard Work template.
When playing back the video, freeze the frames to document the start times when a new work element begins.
Other process observation methods
Refer to the instructions for the Voice of the Customer Data Collection template that comes with the Six Sigma tools.
And don't be afraid to create your own process observation data collection method to meet the unique circumstances of the process you need to observe. That is really the root of Lean A3 Problem Solving - teaching and empowering people to come up with creative ways to eliminate waste.