Standard Work is Driven by Customers


Share on LinkedIn

Lean has reacted and supported the improvement of services through the foundation based on Deming’s 14 Points Applied to Services (Quality and Reliability). In Deming’s view, management was responsible for 85 percent of all quality problems and, therefore, had to provide the leadership in changing the systems and processes that created them. Management needed to refocus attention on meeting customer needs and on continuous improvement to stay ahead of the competition. I am a firm believer and follower of Deming. These 14 points apply as much today as they did when they were first written. However, I believe that many Lean Practitioners have taken these points and internalized them. We need to re-think these points placing the customer and user experience as the center.

If there is one indicator of successful Lean Companies it is their discipline to do Standard Work. Enclosed is a short workbook for you to attempt Standard Work. I have also included an outline of on how to implement standard work on a broader scale.

Download Sales and Marketing in Lean SDCA Workbook

PDF Download of SALES SDCA

The Five Lean Principles continue to play a major role:

  • Specify VALUE of a specific process
  • Identify the VALUE STREAM for each process
  • Allow value to FLOW without interruptions
  • Customer PULLS value from the process
  • Continuously pursue PERFECTION

Can you identify how these apply to Standard Work? Think of the definition of value? We struggle many times because we must view from the customer perspective. I have seen it defined several times by “what a customer is willing to pay for.” However, is a customer willing to pay a retailer for a block and mortar building? So a further definition of value is needed, such as:

  1. Value Added ( what a customer is willing to pay for)
  2. Non-value added (incidental tasks that are necessary)
  3. Non-value added (tasks that are not necessary)

Typically, we can define the value added. If we do not know we at least know who to ask (the customer). Many people will call #3, waste or in many Lean implementations; low hanging fruit. We often rid ourselves of this by performing 5S and through the Standardization process. If not, it surfaces very quickly after we have standardized. Item 2 that incidental waste that we deem important and the customer is either unaware or really does not care (Bookstores vs. Amazon) creates the more difficult decisions. This is where PDCA comes into play. As Taiichi Ono says, Where there is no standard, there can be no kaizen (improvement). In SDCA and any improvement process (PDCA) or a design process (EDCA), we must come to an agreement about the work that needs to be done, a STANDARD.

A bridge between SDCA and PDCA:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here