Building up Standard Work Using Job Instruction

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In response to this post back in May, Dan said...

"Hey Bryan: Congratulations on being a dad and glad you're recovering from your hospital "adventure." When you get a chance, could you please elaborate on point #4? I'm curious about what you discuss in regard to standard work and also what you mean by "I also change the methods used in how to achieve standard work." I've studied the section on standard work on the TWI website, but I'm still not sure where you're coming from on this point. Standard work is something my company always struggles with and any help I can get to make the JI-Std. Work connection more clear would be appreciated."

I'd be happy to Dan. First we have to think about what we are seeing in front of us with Job Instruction. We have a four step method, a Job Breakdown Sheet and a Time Table for planning the training and meeting the needs of the business. What we don't understand is that these forms are the result of a lot of planning and many years of practice. To sum up this first point, there is a lot to learn beyond the 10 hr session that we aren't seeing.

So to be clear, I'm still working out the kinks on how this is all working towards achieving standard work. But I'll explain what I've learned so far.

Next, let's understand what is a Job Breakdown Sheet (JBS) and what is Standard Work (SW). First, a JBS is a reminder for the trainer to put over keypoints to a trainee while using the four step method to instruct. If you missed that part, that's o.k. Go to a 10 hr JI session and you will be up to speed! SW is typically known as three components: 1) takt time, 2) work sequence and 3) standard wip. If you know what takt time and standard wip are, great. If you are really using those concepts in your plant, I'd like a tour sometime.

The SW work sequence is what we are interested in here. On a SW combination sheet which is what most people associate as the form Toyota uses for SW, you will see a list of tasks down the left hand side of the sheet. Each one of these tasks could be a potential JBS.

Now, why is this important, you are probably asking? Because the nature of pull systems is such that hiccups in material flow will disrupt things, we have got to be fully committed to minimizing variability. If you are, then you will know that sometimes people don't do things the same way. JI is a good way to minimize that variability, maintain the standard wip and meet takt time.

So, most people will say that JI is the missing link to th Toyota SW model. What they mean is that JI is standard work, but that isn't really true. JI is critical skill that supports SW in that training is used as a countermeasure against variability.

Now, JI trainers do have a point. JI is a great way to get people who do the same job to get on the same page about how to do that job. My modification to the JI program will be that perhaps we bring in a group of mechanics and we have them rebuild a component or a pump. Each one will observe the other and try to write a breakdown sheet. Mind you, this is happening only after the group has gone through the first three JI sessions. This exercise of genba observation usually reveals the following results:

Joe - 5 steps
Randy - 8 steps
Lisa - 6 steps
Chris - 7 steps
Larry - 7 steps
Michel - 5 steps

I don't have to say a thing to convince them that they should "standardize" the task by using Job Instruction. But the different steps isn't really what convinces them, it is the observations that they make while trying to capture keypoints that wakes them up. The reason for this is that keypoints represent the largest percentage of those tribal knowledge elements that everyone claims is "their way" or "I don't do it like that!" When people see others doing the job better or worse than they do, they become very cooperative because they realize that either way, this situation is a problem for them. In short, the experience opens their eyes to problems that affect them personally.

This technique works on just about any group I've used it with. Finance, mechanics, assemblers, injection molding operators, packers, etc. It doesn't really matter. This technique was not detailed in the original manuals, but I find it very useful for tackling several issues as a team:

- excessive quality problems coming from a group
- no training system in place, but new hires are coming
- supporting changes made in a kaizen event

It doesn't work if you just let people fill out the JBS. You must have them go through the sessions in order for them to pick up the skill, the rest kind of takes care of itself as long as you use the standard JI follow-up methods on the progress and check results.

In fact, this is the standard work cycle that many companies are missing today. Finally, JI is a way to close the loop on the standardize/plan-do-check-act cycle. The photo below more or less sums up what the ideal state (at least what many think is the ideal state) might look like:

Job Instruction cycle of Standardized Work

If you click on the image, it might look a little grainy. It is a hi-res image. Use your browser to zoom to the appropriate viewing resolution. I use the hotkeys ctrl++ or ctrl-- to bring web graphics to the right zoom level.

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Job Instruction and 5S

Last week, I was in a location that implemented a Job Instruction program in the laboratory. We were actually there for an assessment, but often, the conversation came back to Job Instruction. Why? Because the Job Breakdown Sheet (JBS) captures the current known standard and when you are making a judgment, you need a known standard to hold that judgment against.

For example, during the 5S assessment, we were talking about some documentation, manuals, papers, etc. that were well organized. Since a good standard was in place, the conversation gradual moved towards what the next improvement might be. Our judgment then, was that the area had good standards, but needed to move to the next level of organization and improvement. A question arose about point-of-use storage of his equipment manuals.

As we talked the problem through, the lab tech said this: “Look, I want to put all of these manuals together in one location away from the workstation because I don’t use them unless there is a failure. But with 5S we are taught to use point-of-use. I don’t use the manuals to do the job. That is captured on my JBS. So, if I move the manuals to a central location, I can decentralize the things I need, supplies for example – and move those things I really need to the point of use.”

When asked how he came to this conclusion, he offered a surprising answer:

“When I’m training a person using the JBS, I know I need the supply, but because I don’t have a spot for it, I have to go and retrieve it during the middle of training. It should be right here where we use it every time we do the job. Isn’t that a better utilization of the space?”

I couldn’t agree more!

There are two “Get Ready” points in Job Instruction that are not covered in a standard 10 hr session. The first is Get Ready Point #3:

“Get Everything Ready in the Area. Do you have the right equipment, materials, supplies, tools and information?”

Sounds like the basic 1S level of Sorting. Are we able to determine what is needed? Do we determine usage of materials? Is the information we need complete and accurate? These are good 1S sorting level questions to ask.

The second Get Ready point that is not covered in a standard JI session is #4:

“Have the workplace properly organized and standardized. Just the way the person will be expected to operate and maintain it.”

Sound familiar? 5S overlaps so many things. This Get Ready point brings us further into the 5S world, making us consider the 2, 3 and 4S levels. But what we were experiencing in this assessment however, was someone operating within an element of the 5S level: continuous improvement and standardization of the solutions. After all, we are told in Ohno’s Workplace Management that the real meaning of the 5th S: “sustain”, really means to teach. In the context of lean, we are looking to teach self discipline and improvement.

The Job Breakdown Sheet plays a critical role in all of this: a snapshot of the standard. More critical however, is the self discipline to maintain those standards and to open our eyes to waste that violates our own rules. It requires enormous amounts of energy for everyone in the organization to motivate themselves to do this. The most important part of the JI/5S equation is that management assumes a leadership role to learn and then teach the critical skills of seeing waste, problem solving and standardization. The last part of the puzzle is to follow up in order to motivate people on an ongoing basis to constantly be practicing these simple skills.

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Exact isn't Always Right

My oldest son is taking Algebra I this year. He had a good question yesterday: "Dad, why does the book only ask us to use 3.14 instead of pi?" I replied with a quizzical look, thinking to myself, "aren't they the same thing?"

He read my thoughts and said, "if I used the calculator, my answer would be more correct, or more precise, right?"

Ahhh...significant digits. That awful, misused concept that makes me think that with more context, my answer is more correct than yours. Or, my son was trying to trick me into using his calculator for math homework. Nice try, son, but no deal.

A = PI(r)^2

So, my area with radius r = 2 is 12.56

His area with radius r = 2 is 12.566370614359172953850573533118, at least according to the Microsoft Windows calculator! Can you set sig digs on this thing?

As we drove away from the soccer field, I tried to explain to him how sometimes the exact answer isn't necessarily the right answer, especially in engineering and manufacturing where just because something was designed a certain way doesn't necessarily mean it can be built that way. Of course, he didn't buy it one bit which has me a bit worried that he will be a (the horror!) a desk engineer or even worse, an industrial engineer! :) I'M JOKING!

So, my next idea to convince him of this concept is to have him build something to a print. Or maybe I'll bring a flashlight home and have him try to assemble it within a theoretical cost accounting generated cycle time limit and then brow beat him for not meeting the cycle time! He might understand then!

Just remember the concept of significant digits when you are breathing down somebody's neck with a stopwatch out in the genba: exact isn't always right!

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What is Most Important - Online LinkindIN Poll by Toyota Manager

Update: 3/23/2013...sort of old news. However, it is interesting to see the results four years later after this poll was posted on LinkedIn by a Toyota manager.

Old post:

Interesting poll over at LinkedIN. A Toyota Manager posted this simple question:

What is MOST important?

Product Development
Process Development
People Development
Results Focused

There are not too many responses yet, but perhaps you will be interested in the results. For example, about 30% of the respondents who said "Results Focused" was most important were executive or owner level. Mean anything to you? Want to see more results? Go to the hyperlink.