Making Leader Standard Work Visual
Two of the most popular lean tools are standardized work and visual management. In most cases, these tools are talked about separately. These tools can be very powerful when they are combined at a leadership level.
One group I have been working with wanted the supervisors of the area to get better at following standardized work. The department manager had seen the benefits of using visual management in other parts of his business and I had taken him on some tours showing how other companies use the tools in combination.
With this in mind, the department manager tasked an employee to interview supervisors in the area as well as other areas to determine the tasks they need to do on a daily basis then develop a visual way of displaying the standardized work. This is the result of the work.
The tasks are listed down the left hand side. The days of the week across the top. Under each day of the week, is each supervisor’s name by shift. When the task is completed the supervisor checks it off. At the bottom the department manager has a daily task to audit the standard work for the supervisors to be sure they are not just pencil-whipping the board.
What the department discovered were a lot of unintended benefits. One of the biggest was the operators holding their supervisors accountable for doing their standard work. The operators would challenge the supervisors about filling out the production paperwork as well as other tasks that weren’t running the line. The operators would say they were too busy and if the supervisor said it needed to be done, the operator would counter with then why haven’t you done your standard work. You can’t hold me accountable for something you won’t do yourself type of comments. From that moment on the supervisors have stuck to their standard work. Now the supervisors are leading by example which makes the operators want to follow them.
Now to the next level. When talking with the department manager, he mentioned the tasks are pretty much listed in the order they need to be completed. I asked how they could make it visual as to when the tasks should be completed? How can they make it visual to show what tasks are OK to miss if the supervisor is out of the plant or in a kaizen event for the day? What tasks can’t be missed and their needs to be a backup plan if the supervisor is out?
The board is great. It has produced some great results for the team. I hope it is an example that others can learn from….inside the facility as well as outside the facility.