Standardized work instructions are in important part of Deming and lean manufacturing management systems. Processes need to be standardized and continually improved (kaizen). Without a documented standard process variation normally increases over time as processes drift away from the desired standard. As new ideas for improved are proposed those changes can be tested using PDSA and adopted if successful.
The key is not having a document saying this is what the standard process is, the key is having a document that is actually used. For that reason it is essential that the work instructions are easy to use (visible and as simple as possible) and easy to update (to avoid the common problem of the process changing and the work instructions losing touch with what is actually done).
Resources on standard work instructions:
- Visual Work Instructions Basics by Mike Wroblewski
- Why Standard Work is not Standard: Training Within Industry Provides an Answer (pdf format) by Jim Huntzinger
- Standard Work is Kaizen Instruction for Managers [the broken link was removed] by Jon Miller
- Toyota Way Fieldbook by Jeffery Liker
- True Purpose of Visual Work Instructions by Mike Wroblewski
- Shorter Text for Visual Work Instructions [the broken link was removed] by Dr. Steven Blackwell
- Reflections on Standard Work [the broken link was removed] by Jon Miller
- Standardized Work [the broken link was removed] by Bill Brockhurst