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Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Frequency Codes

for your Standard Work template

Frequency Codes:

What, Why, and When?

How do you analyze process steps that happen on frequency cycles other than 'every Run Cycle'?

Some examples might be:

  • Setup changeovers

    between shifts and/or batches

  • Product mix percentages

    for a process that makes more than 1 thing

  • Inspection, or testing, palletizing, mid-shift routine maintenance

    or anything that happens on any frequency cycle
    other than 'every Run Cycle'

    See lean glossary for Out of Cycle Work

cartoon - confused

How to handle Out of Cycle Work?

The answer is...

Use the 'Frequency' column of your Standard Work template.

How to use

Frequency Codes

On the StdWk sheet of your Standard Work template (StdWork.xlsx)...

the value for 'Time per Unit' is calculated as

'Time' multiplied by 'Frequency Factor'


In this picture of the sample data (see image)
(that you can play with on the Sample sheet of your template)

notice that in the second row of data, 'Time' is 14 seconds (this is the observed Process Time per occurrence)

but because Internal Setup only happens once per Batch, and the Batch Size is 500 units, the Frequency Factor is 1/500 (or 0.002) and the Time per Unit is 14 seconds * .002 = 0.03

And you might also wonder...

Yes, you can use everything you know about Excel to round your values to your desired number of decimal places

That last (optionally hidden) column multiplies Time per Unit by your (optional) factor for Personal Fatigue and Delay

Before we discuss more examples, let's first cover the basics...

Standard Work Frequency column

In the 'Frequency' column, you can either:

1) Use the drop down list to choose a Frequency code

which will then auto-populate the 'Factor' with the value from the Frequency Table

(which you will learn about in the training at the bottom of this page)

2) Leave it blank

If you leave the Frequency cell blank, that is the same as choosing '♥Run' from the drop down list.

In other words, that Step happens every single Run Cycle

(not once per Batch, or once per Shift, or any other frequency)

If a Work Element happens EVERY Run Cycle, you should usually leave 'Frequency' blank.

This Time Observation Video
demonstrates how to
use Frequency codes

3) Enter a number

If you enter a number in the 'Frequency' column, then the Frequency Factor is that number per your chosen unit of measure for Work Time Available.

Example: If your WTA-UOM is 'Shift', and you enter '3' in the Frequency column, that means '3 times per shift'.

If this is a office process (where no one ever does anything for an entire shift), and your WTA-UOM is 'Batch', and you enter '3' in the Frequency column, that means '3 times per batch'.

Learning Experiment:

Try it !

on the 'Sample' sheet of your Standard Work template

If you don't yet own a licensed template, download your free trial

What are the standard Frequency Codes?

Where to find your table of Frequency Codes

Option 1) Scroll down

The table of Frequency Codes is below the primary data entry area on the StdWk sheet.

Option 2) Click the Anchor link


Whenever you see a link icon that looks like an anchor, (anchor link ) that means that when you click it, it will take you to someplace within that Excel workbook.

If you click the anchor link at the top of the Frequency column, it will take you directly to the Frequency Table below the primary data entry area.

Standard Work Frequency column

What are the standard Frequency Codes?

The first 3 codes at the top of the Frequency table are pre-defined by Systems2win

(and should never be edited or personalized)

Standard Work Frequency Table


The Frequency Factor for '♥Run' is calculated as:

1 / QtyPerRun

(QtyPerRun is the cell name for Quantity Per Run Cycle)

If you didn't skip the very first Standard Work training video, then before doing anything else with this template, the first thing you did was enter your default data in the pink double border cells (see image) and Qty Per Run Cycle is one of them. (near the bottom)

Tip: If you leave the Frequency column blank for any Step in the primary data entry area, then that is the same as choosing '♥Run' from the drop down list.

In other words...
unless you specify some other Frequency code, the default is to assume that each step happens every Run Cycle.


The Frequency Factor for '□Batch' is calculated as:

1 / BatchSize


The Frequency Factor for '∆Shift' is calculated as:

1 / DemandQty

(DemandQty is the cell name for Demand/Shift)

Or... if this is an Office or Administrative process
(where no one ever does anything for an entire shift)

then your Demand Quantity will be for whatever Unit of Measure you specified for your Work Time Available.

(perhaps 'Batch Cycle'? 'Order Processing Cycle'? Periodic Processing Cycle? Patient visit?)

Learn more about Lean Office

Standard Work pink cells for default data


How to personalize your own

Frequency Codes


Your leaders

Before assigning anyone to begin using your Standard Work template, your leaders should have already personalized your master template for your organizations Frequency Codes.

In addition to the usual instructions for how to personalize any one of your 150+ Systems2win templates, this training page provides special instructions for how to personalize your Frequency Codes in your Standard Work template

Personal art

Your personalizations
get found and transferred
each time you upgrade

Your document authors

In addition to the Frequency Codes pre-defined by your leaders, any document author can also edit their own working document for Frequency Codes unique to their process.

Do not ever edit the first 3 codes


Do NOT edit the first three codes
(♥Run, □Batch, and ∆Shift are predefined by Systems2win)

How to add your own Frequency Codes

You can define unlimited Frequency Codes.

If you need more rows, simply Insert Rows above the thin gold line that defines the bottom border of the table of Frequency Codes.

Enter a name for your user-defined code in the 'Code' column

This is the BRIEF code that will appear in the drop down list in the primary data entry area.

Do not edit the formula in the blue cell in the 'Factor' column.

As a rule, you should never edit any blue-shaded cells in any Systems2win template.

(If your template is version 14, however, we messed up, and the cells in the denominator column were left blue, even though it is okay to edit those cells below the first 3 pre-defined codes that you should not edit)

Enter your user-defined formula using the Numerator and Denominator columns

Refer to the examples on the Sample sheet to get ideas.


Twice per Batch = 2 / BatchSize

Numerator column: 2

Denominator column formula: =BatchSize

Every other Batch = 1 / (BatchSize * 2)

Numerator column: 1

Denominator column formula: =BatchSize * 2

Standard Work Frequency Table

More Examples:

Every third Run Cycle = 1 / (QtyPerRun * 3)

Numerator column: 1

Denominator column formula: =QtyPerRun * 3

Every third item = 1 / 3

Numerator column: 1

Denominator column: 3

Notice that this would produce the same result as 'Every third Run Cycle'
if (and only if) QtyPerRun = 1
if your process makes 10 per Run Cycle (as in the Sample data),
then the results are different.

Twice per Shift = 2 / DemandQty

Numerator column: 2

Denominator column: =DemandQty

Twice per Periodic Processing Cycle = 2 / DemandQty

Numerator column: 2

Denominator column: =DemandQty

Notice that the formula is identical for these 2 examples.

The only difference is your chosen Unit of Measure for Work Time Available.
A manufacturing process usually runs for an entire shift.
An office or administrative process will usually specify some other UOM for Work Time Available...
such as 'Periodic Processing Cycle', 'Batch Cycle', 'Patient Visit', etc.

Because your DemandQty is per your specified Unit of Measure for Work Time Available, the same formula works.


Twice per week

would depend upon how many shifts (or office processing cycles) you run per week

If you run 5 shifts per week, then your formula would be = 2 / DemandQty * 5

Numerator column: 2

Denominator column: =DemandQty * 5

Product mix of 70% Part A; 30% Part B

would involve 2 Frequency codes.

Part A

Numerator column: 0.7

Denominator column: 1

Part B

Numerator column: 0.3

Denominator column: 1

And then once your leaders have defined your Product Mix ratios in the Frequency table,

the user of the primary data entry section of your document simply selects the correct Frequency code for those rows of Work Elements that are performed only for Part A or Part B.


Are you starting to get the idea?

Every unusual frequency pattern that you might encounter in any type of process can be expressed as a formula based upon one of these 4 foundational values:

Frequency Code FAQ's

Why do the Systems2win pre-defined codes start with symbols?

Many of our international customers own language translations.

By using these symbols (rather than English words), the formulas still work correctly when you switch your template between Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, or Chinese.

Switch languages

Easily switch between

Why isn't there a pre-defined code for 'Each'?

The sample data includes the formula for 'Each'

(which is simply 1 divided by 1, which equals a Frequency Factor of 1)

'Each' might be valuable for some customers who make multiple units per Run Cycle

(as demonstrated in the sample data on the Sample page, where Quantity Per Run Cycle = 10)

but for many processes, the Quantity Per Run Cycle = 1, and then the Frequency Factors for 'Each' and '♥Run' are identical

(they then both have a Frequency Factor equal to 1)

so many document authors will want to delete the Frequency Factor of 'Each'

How to save your personalized master template

If you personalized your master template,

(not just a working document created from a copy of your master template),

then follow the usual instructions for how to personalize any Systems2win master template.

testimonial quote

Now that you know how to use Frequency Codes

Perhaps for the first time in your career...

or your Sales Manager asks the question...

"How long to fill a custom order?"

or your Chief Operating Officer asks the question...

"How many people do you need?

when your Chief Financial Officer asks the question...

"How much does it cost?

you can look them in the eye, and honestly answer,

"I'll give you an accurate answer tomorrow."

cartoon of person thinking