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Lean Tools, Training, and Systems

Standard Work

Why standard work?

Standard Work is perhaps the single most important lean principle

because it avoids backsliding into old habits


What's so wrong with backsliding into old habits?

Standardized Work

Video: Selecting the right
Standard Work Tools

See more Standard Work videos


Standardized work doesn't just happen.

Without leadership,

people will naturally settle into doing things their own way.

Without Standard Work Instructions,

it's hard to remember what everyone agreed was

'the best way to do it'.

Without Standard Work templates,

it's hard to remember your standardized ways to standardize your work.

Standard Work templates

Standard Work templates empower your people

to analyze, improve, and standardize every process in every corner of your organization

Standard Work Combination Sheet

9 tools in 1:

  1. Standard Work Instructions
  2. Time Observation
  3. Layout diagram spaghetti map
  4. Value Add analysis & pie chart
  5. Operator Work Load Balancing & bar chart
  6. Standard Work Analysis
  7. Standard Work Combination Chart
  8. Change Over setup reduction
  9. TWI Job Breakdown for employee training

Download free trial Standard Work Template


Yamazumi Board

also known as Workload Balancing

To rearrange tasks to eliminate waste and balance work loads.

Download free trial Yamazumi Chart template

Standard Work Chart

also known as Layout Diagram or Spaghetti Map

Draw spaghetti maps and layout diagrams with this easy-to-use Excel template (without the cost and learning curve of Visio).

Free trial — as part of the Standard Work Combination Sheet

Leader Standard Work

Edit col class for Flex item 1 How Standard Work is layered

Process Analysis

To easily hide and unhide rows of popular lean metrics, and easily use everything you know about familiar Microsoft Excel to add unlimited additional rows of unique metrics to measure results for anything importan to your process

Takt Time Calculator

To calculate:

Kanban Calculator

A teachable, repeatable system to avoid common mistakes when calculating the correct number of kanbans to minimize stock outs and maximize throughput.

Very easy to use with default settings, yet powerful enough to easily handle unlimited types of Lead Time, unlimited sources of Demand, and user-defined formulas for Buffer and Safety margins.

A3 Illustrator for Stick Figure Drawing

Easily illustrate PowerPoint, Word, and any other type of document with intuitive stick figure drawings that access the creative, intuitive, problem-solving side of the brain.

Especially useful for illustrating standardized work for Lean Office and Lean Healthcare

A3 Illustrator

Cross Functional Flowchart

While the Standard Work Sheet is the right tool for highly repetitive processes, the Cross Functional Flowchart is often a better choice for less repetitive processes

(think sales order entry, engineering changes, and most Lean Administration processes)

Download free trial Swim Lane Flowchart

Cross functional flowchart

Standardized Work Instructions

The visual Work Instructions template is the right tool for training new-hires, temporaries, and cross-trained workers — by providing pictures of each step, and written training instructions that are far more detailed than is appropriate for Standard Work Instructions.

Download free trial Work Instructions template

Work Instructions template

Job Breakdown Sheet 

Instructor Notes used by a supervisor or trainer to prepare to effectively train a worker using the TWI Job Instructions training method.

Free trial — as part of the Standard Work Combination Sheet

Job Breakdown Instructor Notes

Standard Operating Procedure

This simple Word template is popular for documenting office procedures and less repetitive processes.

It comes with online help for how to insert screen shots and images, use numbered outlines, Link Icons, dynamic Table of Contents, and more features of Microsoft Word that your people probably would not use if they did not have this easy-to-use Word template with online training and videos.

standard operating procedure software template

Standard Work Audit

Just because you trained everyone and got them to agree to swear to always do it the best way that everyone agreed to do it... does that mean that everyone will actually do it that way?

A management axiom is: "Expect people to do the right thing — and be prepared to correct."

This Standard Work Audit form is intended to be printed and completed in handwriting as the Auditor is making observations at the work area.

Then review with the Auditor's mentor, as part of Leader Standard Work.

Keep paper archives — to have a history of progress.

Lean Kaizen Standard Work Audit Excel template

5S Audit

To audit workplace cleanliness and organization.

The only way to solve problems is to reveal them.

And problems are much more easily revealed in a clean, organized workplace.

Download free trial 5S Checklist

5S Scorecard

Standard Work Elements

To maintain a master list of Standard Work Elements that can be exported to multiple Standard Work documents.

Learn more about Standard Work Estimating

Standard Work Elements template

Tool Selection Matrix

Use your Tool Selection Matrix to choose the right tool.

Download free trial

Also see the other Lean Tools, Heijunka Flow, and Leader Standard Work templates that come with these templates for Lean Standard Work

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Standard Work Definition

What is Standard Work?

Detailed instructions for the best proven method to produce a product or service.

Work is broken down into clearly-defined sequential work elements.

Any variations from the currently-agreed-upon best practices will probably waste time or cause quality problems.

Standard work serves as the baseline upon which to improve. If someone comes up with a better way, then standard work should be revised so that everyone does it the new better way.

Standard Work must be a foundation of any Lean Six Sigma program

It (alone) allows you to 'ratchet' your hard-earned gains — without constant backsliding into old habits.

"There is no improvement without standard work."

~ Taiichi Ohno - Toyota

The Three Basic Elements of Standard Work

  1. Takt Time

    The rate of customer demand. Process Cycle Time must satisfy this demand.

  2. Work sequence

    The order of steps that must be performed (operator work, walk, & wait time, and machine time)

  3. Standard work in process inventory (WIP)

    The amount of inventory normally stocked at specified places within the process in quantities sufficient to facilitate process flow while minimizing the 7 deadly wastes.

messy boys

Who needs standard work?


Standard Work Instructions

Your Standard Work Template is 10 tools in 1

  1. Standard Work Instructions
  2. Time Observation
  3. Layout Diagram spaghetti map
  4. Value Add Analysis (auto-draws pie chart)
  5. Operator Work Balancing (auto-draws bar chart)
  6. Quick Changeover tool for setup reduction
  7. Standard Work Analysis for both the Shift Cycle and Run Cycle
  8. TWI Job Breakdown for employee training
  9. Standard Work Combination Sheet visual time chart
  10. Standard Cost Estimating
Standard Work template

Sample Standard Work examples - download free trial

This is the ideal tool to analyze a process to identify and eliminate waste.

For additional details for any work element, you can drill down to a related document

such as a training video, PowerPoint, Work Instructions, Job Breakdown, Standard Operating Procedure, flowchart, value stream map, or another Standard Work Sheet.

Any or all of these related documents can then be taped to the wall near each work station

to provide visual standard work instructions to remind workers not to cut corners or invent renegade ways of doing things that might reduce productivity or cause quality problems.

Learn more about your template for Standard Work Instructions.

Standard Work Combination Sheet

In your Standard Work template (StdWork.xlsx)

simply click a button to auto-draw the standard work table

Standard Work Combination Sheet Excel template


Yamazumi Chart

Your Yamazumi Chart template provides workload balancing analysis similar to your Standard Work Combination Chart.

Less thorough, but easier and faster to use.

It is not uncommon to use both tools to analyze the same process in different ways.

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What is ISO 9000?

ISO 9000 is a set of international standards for quality.

Organizations are certified and audited
to ensure that work is actually being done
the way that it is documented.

Any of the types of Standard Work templates (at the top of this page)
can optionally be ISO 9000 templates

as long as they are controlled according to ISO 9000 standards.


Are you ready for your next audit?


Suggested Reading and Resources for

Lean Standard Work

More Suggested Reading

"Time waste differs from material waste in that there can be no salvage. The easiest of all wastes and the hardest to correct is the waste of time, because wasted time does not litter the floor like wasted material."

~ Henry Ford


Process Improvement


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