What Is Standardized Work in Lean Manufacturing?

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Standardized work is an essential element of lean manufacturing.

It’s also got a non-intuitive name, because although standardized work sounds static, it’s actually a dynamic process (due to its lean manufacturing buddy, kaizen).

In this article, we’ll explain what standardized work is and explain its relation to kaizen within the lean manufacturing methodology, and we’ll give you some tips for getting started with standardized work now.

Before you begin reading about lean manufacturing and standardized work, know that we’ve included a free lean manufacturing infographic you can download at the bottom of this article, too!

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Instructional Design Opportunities In Energy Generation, Transmission & Distribution

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Dr. Tom Baer is an instructional designer with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) in the Seattle, WA area.

Faced with changes in the industry, PSE has recently doubled-down on their investment in instructional design and training at their organization. Tom was hired to perform instructional design work as part of that increased emphasis on instructional design at PSE, and he was nice enough to take some time and explain some of the instructional design opportunities in this industry.

We’ve got a recording of the discussion with Tom immediately below. And if you’d prefer to read, we’ve got a transcript below that.

We’d like to thank both Tom and Puget Sound Energy for their contributions to this discussion and tip our hats to them on their hard work. Hopefully, we’ll touch base with them again at some future point for an additional conversation (fingers crossed).

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What Is Value Stream Mapping in Lean Manufacturing?

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As a continuation of our look at key concepts in lean manufacturing, this article is going to explain value stream mapping.

Value stream mapping is an important part of attaining the general lean goal of reducing waste in manufacturing (or in any workplace).

Before you begin reading about value stream mapping, know that we’ve included a free lean manufacturing infographic you can download at the bottom of this article, too!

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“Thinking, Fast and Slow” at Work

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Not all workplace performance issues have to do with human motivation, behavior, thinking, and decision making, but plenty of them do.

As a result, if you’re in any way interested in workplace performance, it’s helpful to know more about what motivates people (see this article on workers and motivation), how people behave, how they think, and how they make the decisions they do. This is true if you’re in HR, it’s true if you’re in learning and development, it’s true if you’re in operations, it’s true if you’re in health and safety–it’s true no matter what you do at work.

And that’s why it’s helpful to study fields concerned with human thought, behavior, and decisions in addition to what you may think of as your core field. Psychology, sure, but even something like anthropology can be very helpful.

And that’s also why we’re interested in behavioral economics. What is behavioral economics, you ask? It’s a blending of economics and psychology that considers why people make the decisions they make (which are often not in their best interests). You may have caught our earlier article discussing Dan Ariely’s book The Upside of Irrationality, or perhaps you caught our more recent article based on a book by the folks at Freakonomics. These are both works of behavioral economics.

But even as popular as something like Freakonomics is, it’s perhaps true that the true big kahuna, the real grand poobah of behavioral economics, is Daniel Kahneman. He won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, after all.

And in this article, we’re going to take a quick look at Kahneman’s classic book Thinking, Fast and Slow to give you some insights from that book into why people think what they do and why they make the decisions they make so you can apply those insights to help you create a more productive, efficient workplace.

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5 Principles of Human and Organizational Performance (HOP) with Dr. Todd Conklin

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One of the most influential, most innovative, and most controversial thinkers in occupational safety and health these days is Dr. Todd Conklin, who’s famous for his human and organizational performance (HOP) approach to safety matters.

It’s likely you’re familiar with Dr. Conklin and don’t need me to explain to you who he is. However, if the name IS new to you, you might want to check out his Pre-Accident Investigation podcast series, or his HOP Hub website, or his books on pre-accident investigations, learning more by asking better questions, preventing workplace fatalities, or the 5 principles of human performance, which is what our discussion below will focus on.

Todd was nice enough to stop by for a chat with us and explain the 5 principles of HOP and some other HOPpy stuff, and we can’t thank him enough. We’ve included an audio recording of the discussion below and hope you enjoy it.

(Note: If you’re the type who’d rather read than listen to an audio, the transcript is below).

Also, feel free to check out some of the articles we’ve written about Dr. Conklin’s books, below:

We haven’t yet written a quick intro to Todd’s most recent book (5 Principles of HOP) but stay tuned for that–plus, of course, this interview basically fills that need and you can’t do better than to get the goods from Todd himself.

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Risk Management Basics: What Is Risk Treatment?

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In this installment of our Risk Management Basics series, we’re going to learn about risk treatment.

If you’ve been reading our Risk Management Basics series, you know we addressed the Three Stages of Risk Assessment in a recent article. Risk Treatment is often the next step in the risk management process after risk assessment.

We’ll be writing more in this Risk Management Basics series, so if you’re liking it stay tuned. Plus, feel free to use the comments section at the bottom to ask risk-related questions or to suggest risk-related article topics for the series.

And finally, even though an organization can and should use risk management for all of its objectives, we want you to know we’ve got a free downloadable guide to using Risk Management for Occupational Safety and Health Management at the bottom of this article for you. 

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Risk Management Basics: What Is Risk?

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In this installment of our Risk Management Basics series, we’re going to get very, very basic. In specific, we’re going to ask what does “risk” mean in risk management. How that’s for a basic Risk Management Basics topic?

And before we get going explaining what risk means in the context of risk management, we’d like to invite you to use the comments section to suggest topics for future risk management basics series articles. Just let us know what risky topic you’d like to learn more about…

And if you’re involved in occupational safety and health, feel free to download the free Guide to Using Risk Management for Occupational Safety and Health at the bottom of this article (but note, this article addresses risk management and risk assessment in a general manner and can be applied to any aspect of enterprise risk management).

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What Is 5S? Infographic

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5S is one of the foundations of lean manufacturing. If you want to implement lean at your workplace, 5S is a great place to start. And even if you don’t want to go “full lean,” 5S can be very valuable at your workplace, leading to improvements in productivity, efficiency, quality, and safety.

To help you get started with 5S or lean, we’ve prepared the free 5S infographic for you at the bottom of this article. Download a copy for yourself today! 

In addition, you might want to check out some of our other articles related to lean manufacturing:

Downloading the 5S infographic below is a great way to get up to speed on 5S now–enjoy! 

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Free “What Is 5S?” Infographic Download

Download this free infographic explaining 5S, one of the foundations of lean manufacturing.

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7 Wastes of Lean Infographic

7 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing Infographic

One of the foundations of lean manufacturing is to reduce waste.

In the early days of the Toyota Production System (TPS), which is where lean manufacturing originated, Toyota engineer Taiichi Ohno developed a list of seven wastes. You can download a free infographic at the bottom of this article that lists all of these wastes for you.

In addition, you might want to check out some of our other articles related to lean manufacturing:

We hope the infographic below helps your organization identify and root out waste and start providing more value to your customers.

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Free Seven Wastes of Lean Manufacturing Infographic Download

Download this free infographic listing the seven wastes of lean manufacturing as originally devised by Taiichi Ohno of the Toyota Production System (TPS).

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5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing Infographic

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Lean manufacturing is dedicated to reducing waste in order to increase value. In the book The Machine that Changed the World, James Womack, Daniel Jones, and Daniel Roos identified five principles that underlie lean manufacturing efforts.

Download our free 5 Principles of Lean Manufacturing infographic below to learn the five principles.

In addition, you might want to check out some of our other articles related to lean manufacturing:

We hope the infographic below helps you get started on your own lean journey.

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Free Five Principles of Lean Download

Download this free infographic explaining the five principles of lean manufacturing as listed in the book The Machine that Changed the World.

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Create a Culture for Maintainability, Reliability & Continuous Improvement

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Would you like to create a culture that supports maintainability, reliability, and continuous improvement? Sure you would!

So how should you do that? Well, one of the ways it is look at (and perhaps improve) your organizational culture. In fact, our friend Dr. Klaus Blache from the University of Tennessee Reliability & Maintainability Center (UT-RMC….read below to learn more about our partnership) says this on the topic: “For as long as I can remember, culture has been, simultaneously, the top roadblock and leading opportunity for large implementations and ongoing improvement.”

Source: Efficient Plant Magazine, “Cultural Improvement Takes Work,” February 2018, page 36

In this article, we’ll talk a little more about the importance of organizational culture for increasing maintainability, reliability, and continuous improvement and give you some tips for improving culture to see some of these benefits.

This is another in our series of collaborations with UT-RMC. If you’ve missed our previous articles in this series, you might want to check out our What Is Reliability & Maintainability? article.

Also, feel free to download the free PDCA infographic at the bottom of this article.

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