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Standardisation of Repeated Operations

Standard Operations

Any process that is allowed to operate in a non-controlled manner will inevitably produce variations in the products or services it generates. These variations are a consequence of the differing methods, employed by different personnel and different shifts etc.

The end result of these variations in process will be quality concerns, equipment failures, the inability to achieve performance objectives and health and safety concerns etc. In addition, if the entire process is susceptible to variation, it is extremely difficult to isolate the specific variation that is the current cause of failure; this makes process fault finding virtually impossible.

Standard Operations are a way of ensuring consistency; they should be viewed as the basis upon which any improvement can be developed. The Standard Operation should also be used as the basis for training new staff.

The Standard Operation is a written control and audit document defining the way in which a particular task should be carried out and should form part of any organisational operating policies such as QS9000.

The definition of the Standard Operation is “The best current method of carrying out a function as determined by the Stakeholders in the process” Stakeholders, in addition to personnel involved in the actual process itself, should include representatives from Quality, Health and Safety, Engineering and Management ensuring that organisational objectives are not undermined.

Involving the personal that will actually work within the confines of the standard operation in its development, in contrast with outsourcing the function to a third party ensures that:

* A sense of ownership of the Standard Operation is developed.

* The Standard Operation is seen as an integral part of the process and not something forced upon the process owners by the management team.

* It is updated continuously as improved methods are developed.

Standard Operations should also be seen as a way of securing process improvements, as soon as an improved method is developed the Standard Operation should be updated in order that the improved performance is maintained. It is from this baseline that subsequent and ongoing improvement activity is based.

The Lean Group have extensive experience of aiding organisations in the implementation and use of Standard Operations.

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