Standard work is an essential starting point for improvement. Processes that are poorly documented and inconsistently executed are difficult, if not impossible, to improve. The idea of standard work is fairly simple, but it can be deceptively difficult to achieve. Organizations can struggle to bring consistency to the process of defining and maintaining standard work. Software designed to support continuous improvement can be an enormous help. Here are some of the advantages to pairing improvement software and standard work.
Every Process Without a Standard is an Opportunity
The first step to achieving standard work is identifying every process for which a current standard is lacking. If you are using improvement software, each of these processes becomes an opportunity for improvement. They can be documented in the system and prioritized. Owners can be assigned and the effort to define and document the current best practices for the process can begin.
Review and Improvement Can Be Baked-In
Standard work is not an event. It is a living roadmap that needs to be reviewed, updated, and reevaluated as improvements are applied. The best improvement software contains workflow capabilities that allow users to set alerts and notifications, reminding them to reconsider the standard work for each process. This keeps it from becoming a one-and-done project with little lasting value.
Employee Ideas are Collected and assessed
In between reviews of standard work, employees may have ideas for future improvements or may spot errors in the way the work is currently being applied. Improvement software gives them an easy way to document these ideas or concerns and ensures that supervisors review them and decide if immediate or future action is required.
Collective Wisdom is Preserved
Perhaps one of the most important roles of improvement software in relation to standard work is its service as the repository for the knowledge and history of each process. Documents, including images and video, can be collected and stored centrally, making them easy to access from anywhere.
The partnership of standard work and improvement software form the bedrock of your organization’s improvement efforts. Together they serve to set you on the path toward increased efficiency, reduced costs, improved quality, and happier customers.