New Horizons in Standardized Work: Techniques for Manufacturing and Business Process Improvement, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

New Horizons in Standardized Work

Techniques for Manufacturing and Business Process Improvement, 1st Edition

By Timothy D. Martin, Jeffrey T. Bell

Productivity Press

179 pages | 79 B/W Illus.

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Enabling management to verify that processes are being performed correctly and in an efficient manner, standardized work provides limitless opportunities for process improvements. So much so, that it has become a vital component of improvement efforts in Lean enterprise systems.

New Horizons in Standardized Work: Techniques for Manufacturing and Business Process Improvement is an all-inclusive guide to applying standardized work principles to virtually any business in any industry. It facilitates a fundamental understanding of standardized work principles and the logic behind their development, so readers can successfully extend and adapt them to their own work situation. It also:

  • Supplies an accessible introduction to standardized work, from a cyclic perspective
  • Explains how to instill and maintain quality in work processes right from the get go
  • Provides the foundational basis required to apply standardized work concepts to a wide range of work situations
  • Includes several appendices with helpful tips and problem-solving tools

In a step-by-step format, this book discusses the relationship of the work period and the takt time, as well as the importance of the three main worker interface levels in job design. It includes an array of examples that demonstrate how the concepts discussed can be applied across a range of industries—including health care, construction, business processes, and food services.


By going through the process of creating standardized work that Tim and Jeff have outlined in this book, you can go from having process knowledge that is only held by two or three people, to being able to post the correct standard work for doing the work every day. … There can be no doubt that standardized work is a base for a solid Lean enterprise system. To continually improve your operating systems, there has to be a base to begin, and standardized work is that base.

—Rick Harris, President, Harris Lean Systems

Tim Martin and Jeff Bell have assembled all of the process and accompanying details of how to build standard work, so that anyone in any field can learn and apply them. While learning by doing is a must to develop the skills of developing excellent standard work, New Horizons in Standardized Work gives you the baseline (and an abundance of supporting details) to follow to successfully become skilled at standard work and continuous improvement.

—Jim Huntzinger, President, Lean Frontiers

Table of Contents

What is Standardized Work?

A Foundation for Stability

The Best Method at the Moment

A Basis for Improvement

How do we get Standardized Work?

The Required Components for Standardized Work

Types of Standardized Work


Making Observations and Formulating New Questions

How to Break Down Work Element Observations for Standardized Work

Establishing Work Element Standards & Graphical Notations

Methods for Work Element Data

Evaluation of the Data

The Importance of Observing the True Situation

Learning to See Below the Surface

Cyclic Standardized Work

Work-Component Types

The Effects of Variation

How to Document Standardized Work: The Standardized Work Chart

Tools for Standardized Work: The Work-Combination Table

The Importance of Geographic Relationship

Making the Problems Visible

Long-Cycle Standardized Work

Applying Standardized Work Principles to Long-Cycle Applications

The Concept of Parallel Work Steps

Other Cyclic Standardized Work Issues

The Concept of Takt

Looking for Other Ways to Express the Concept of Takt

Job Design for the Worker : Understanding the Levels of Interfacing

Decoupling-When is Protection from Interruption Needed?

Protection Expressed by Units of Time

Effects of Coupled Jobs

Using the Interface Levels for Design of Good Standardized Work

Striking a Balance: Man and Machine

Some New Rules and Some New Tools

Noncyclic Standardized Work

Parallel Work Steps or Tasks on Demand

Workers on Patrol

Merging Takt Time and the Work Period

Assisting the Worker: Standardized Work Drives Equipment Needs

Assisting the Worker: Tools for Complex or Infrequent Tasks

Applying Standardized Work to Transactional Processes

In Summary

About the Authors

Tim Martin has more than 30 years manufacturing engineering experience in the electrical and electronics industries where he designed systems and equipment. Tim has recently transitioned from manufacturing to healthcare. He holds a BSEET from Purdue University and a MSM from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Jeff Bell has over 25 years in the aviation manufacturing and automotive electronics manufacturing sectors where he designed numerous manufacturing systems using standardized work as a basis. He holds a BSIE from Kettering University and a MSIE Purdue University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control