Standardized Work: The Foundation for Kaizen – September 26 – San Diego, CA

Standardized work is one of the most powerful but least used lean tools. By documenting the current best practice, standardized work forms the baseline for kaizen or continuous improvement. As the standard is improved, the new standard becomes the baseline for further improvements, and so on. Improving standardized work is a never-ending process.

Basically, standardized work consists of three elements:

  • Takt time, which is the rate at which products must be made in a process to meet customer demand.
  • The precise work sequence in which an operator performs tasks within takt time.
  • The standard inventory, including units in machines, required to keep the process operating smoothly.

Establishing standardized work relies on collecting and recording data on a few forms. These forms are used by engineers and front-line supervisors to design the process and by operators to make improvements in their own jobs. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to use these forms and why it will be difficult to make your lean implementations “stick” without standardized work.

The benefits of standardized work include documentation of the current process for all shifts, reductions in variability, easier training of new operators, reductions in injuries and strain, and a baseline for improvement activities.

Standardizing the work adds discipline to the culture, an element that is frequently neglected but essential for lean to take root. Standardized work is also a learning tool that supports audits, promotes problem solving, and involves team members in developing poka-yokes.

Course Outline:
This workshop is based on a “hear-see-do” format, so you’ll learn the key concepts through instruction, discussion, simulation, and small-group exercise. You’ll learn:

  • Standardized work basic concepts and examples from various industries.
  • The difference between work standardization and standardized work.
  • The three elements of standardized work (takt time, work sequence, standard in-process inventory).
  • The three documents for establishing standardized work (production capacity sheet, combination table, work chart).
  • The three requirements for standardized work (work, equipment and line, quality)
  • Standardization techniques: poka-yoke, visual management, SWIS, checking and auditing.
  • How to choose the standardization techniques suitable for your environment so that you can effectively ensure your process is consistent and your results are predictable.
  • The Toyota approach to kaizen.
  • How to observe work before you standardize it.

“I was extremely amazed by how easily Sammy Obara can teach the lean methodoloy, concepts and techniques. This makes learning so interesting and alive. The training was very effective, the didactic was perfect, all or questions were eliminated and our goals were completely fulfilled.”

– Paul Viezzer
Volvo, Powertrain Brazil

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of standardization and its importance in the foundation of a lean system.
  • Prepare standardized work forms.
  • Introduce standardization techniques to improve:
    • Training
    • Waste elimination
    • Sustainability of improvements
    • Predictability of results

Suggested Reading:
This workshop assumes you are familiar with basic lean terms and concepts as described in Lean Thinking by Jim Womack and Dan Jones. A good article to read prior to attending is “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System” (Harvard Business Review).

Who Should Attend:
Those who would benefit from this workshop include:

  • Operators (by understanding the importance of following standardized work rigorously and how they can make improvements through kaizen)
  • Line supervisors (by learning how to observe people’s cycle times, movements, and process steps)
  • Engineers and lean leaders (by understanding how to introduce, support, and teach standardization)
  • Managers (by understanding how to audit for adherence)
  • Organizations at any stage in a lean transformation that are struggling with:
    • Failures to sustain the results from past kaizen events
    • Problems training new employees
    • Inability to work within takt time or consistent cycle times

Other Resources:

Standard Work Forms



Suggested Reading for this Workshop:


Kaizen: the Culture of Continuous Improvement – September 25 – San Diego, CA

Learning Objectives:
At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of Kaizen and its importance as a central aspect of a lean system
  • Document Kaizen improvement
  • Judge improvement proposals according to their compliance to the Kaizen requisites
  • Commence a plan for the introduction of Kaizen in your organization


The Kaizen Teian or Kaizen methodology promotes the sustainable continuous improvement as a daily way of life for every member within the organization. It supports the flow, implementation and recognition of improvement proposals made by all collaborators.

Kaizen is the original concept that has been used by Toyota until today and that has become the culture in all Toyota sites in Japan and overseas.

It provides a structure to channel the opportunities for improvement detected by any employee and convert them into realized changes that have a positive impact in the way people perform and perceive their work.

Kaizen requires a formalized structure within the Organization, where collaborator’s proposals are evaluated, implemented, reviewed and recognized according to their alignment to the company’s declared objectives for continuous improvement. The recognition system also helps motivate collaborators to participate, either individually or through team work, in the proposal and implementation of their improvement ideas.


The benefits of Kaizen include the participation of all collaborators in improving and transforming (evolving) the organization in small, every day, incremental steps that do not lose effectiveness over time.

Some of the elements utilized to support Kaizen are: Visual Management Kaizen Boards, Kaizen proposal format, Proposal scoring matrix, Kaizen rewards system, Monthly metrics reporting, etc.

Besides the tangible benefits, Kaizen is regarded as a most effective technique to improve engagement and culture within a company.

Course Outline:
This workshop is based on a “hear-see-do” approach, so you’ll learn the key concepts through instruction, discussion, simulation, and small-group exercise. The topics covered are:

  • Kaizen: Toyota’s original concept
  • How Kaizen fits in the TPS house
  • Why use Kaizen in your organization
  • Examples of Kaizen from around the world
  • How to start a Kaizen culture
  • What are the steps for preparing the organization
  • Structural requirements for implementation: training, forms, evaluation, steering board, guidelines.

“I congratulate Sammy on how he conducts his explanations. He gives us a clear vision of how we can leverage the continuous improvement process in our organization, emphasising the total involvement of everyone in search of the simple and effective.”
– Osvaldo Louzane,
Johnson & Johnson

Who Should Attend:
Those who would benefit from this workshop include:

  • Office personnel and Operators – to understand the importance of following Kaizen as an every-day occurrence
  • Leadership- to learn how to evaluate people’s Kaizen forms (improvement proposals)
  • Engineers and lean leaders – to understand how to introduce, support, and teach Kaizen
  • Organizations at any stage in a lean transformation that are struggling with:
    • Failures to sustain the results from past suggestions or kaizen events
    • Problems in getting collaborators to propose improvements for their work areas
    • Poor ownership and accountability from employees, for changing the status quo

Workshop Suggestions:
To maximize your learning experience we recommend that prior to attending this program you take following workshops or have a good understanding of the concepts presented within them.

Suggested Reading for this Workshop:


Lean Problem Solving – September 24 – San Diego, CA

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this workshop you should be able to:

  • Follow the steps of the lean problem solving process (PDCA)
  • Know how to use different problem solving methodologies in different circumstances (Problem Solving Flowchart, A3)
  • Understand what it takes to develop concise problem solving A3’s and or Problem Solving Flowcharts
  • Understand and be able to explain the “thinking process” and infrastructure needed to sustain problem solving at all levels

Sustaining a lean transformation requires continuous problem solving by everyone in the company. Success hinges on how well we teach and apply a robust, shared problem-solving method at all levels to incorporate “evolutionary learning” into the company culture.

In order to build the culture of problem solving, an organization needs a “Community of THINKERS“, working together on continuous improvement and the A3 problem-solving process which aligns with organization’s business objectives. Their goal is to design a sustainable rigorous problem-solving process that is, in effect, an experimental test of any proposed changes.

In this workshop we will practice several of the problem-solving steps. We will also briefly discuss the infrastructure required to develop and sustain problem solvers, and touch on areas such as strategy deployment, standardized work, visual management and Go and See. “Go and See” will be a key component discussed within ALL the steps of the lean problem-solving process.

We will also discuss how to “bring to life” the Values a Company has set as their guiding principles or mission statements. We will do this by explaining the specific steps/actions to consider while using problem-solving process in daily activities.(i.e. – communication, buy-in, engagement, purpose, customer satisfaction and more). We will discuss each participants “Line of Sight” to the company goals or business plan (Hoshin), normally centered around the key performance indicators (i.e. Quality, Cost, Productivity, Safety, and HR Development).

This workshop introduces Lean Problem Solving as a teachable, scalable approach based on the scientific method (PDCA), which can be applied to the vast majority of your problems. When linked to core management systems, it helps to strengthen standards and build your lean management system organically, based on your needs. It becomes the nervous system of the learning organization.

Course Outline:

  • The lean problem-solving process
  • How each step ties into PDCA
  • How to use a Problem-Solving Flowchart
  • “Line of Sight” Activity in order to align value added activities in your daily work.
  • Tangible actions required to support and “bring to life” organizational values/principles.
  • Relating problem solving and core lean activities


Who Should Attend:

  • Managers at all organizational levels and change agents
  • Organizations that want to institute company-wide change