Standardized Work Instructions – Not a Replacement for Skill & Knowledge
I am continuing to reflect on some of the thoughts and principles from the Lean Experience presented by the Lean Learning Center. This one centers around standardized work instructions (SWI). Most people are aware of the benefits of having standardized work instructions:
- Provides a baseline to improve upon
- Reduces variability in the process
- Increased predictability in the output of the process
- Reduces ambiguity in what is expected
- Enables troubleshooting when there is a deviation from the standard
I can’t say that any of this was a new epiphany to me, but the quote from Jamie Flinchbaugh that really sunk in was “Standardized work instructions are not a replacement for skill and knowledge.”
I have always taught that SWI is not meant to turn people into robots. It is there to free up the person’s mind from thinking about the routine, repetitive tasks and let them think about how to improve the process. No matter how I explained it, I always had a hard time getting people to buy in that have great skill and knowledge in the area.
A great example Jamie used was an airplane pre-flight checklist. I might be able to go through the checklist (which is a form of SWI) and complete, but there is no way you would want me to fly the plan. I do not have the skill or the knowledge to do so.
To me just saying the words, “SWI does not replace your skill and knowledge,” would seem like it would engage the employees more. It can reassure them that we aren’t trying to replace them by creating standardized work instructions. It is there to help apply that skill and knowledge in a consistent and effective way.
This was a point that really resonated with me.
Other blog posts about my learnings from the Lean Experience Class:
- Give people experiences
- Being systematic with waste elimination
- Problem solving down to the generative level
- Kaizen events are workarounds
Posted on December 1, 2010, in Development, Engagment, Learning, Standardized Work, Tools and tagged Jamie Flinchbaugh, Knowledge, Lean Learning Center, Learning, Skill, Standardized Work. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.