Pete Abilla over at Shmula.com has put together an excellent 5-minute video exercise on standard work. The training teaches the “Standard Pig Game.” It asks you and your team to go through three different scenarios of drawing a pig. The first is with no standard, the second is with a written standard, and the third is with a visual standard. You can access the video here:
Note: You will need to supply your email address to view the video, but when I entered mine, I only received one email asking if I would like to receive more information from Smula.com.
Thoughts on Visual Standards
I like this video because it makes a clear point, and it’s easy to share with my team. From this, I plan to work more on creating visual guides for standard work. Diagrams in the warehouse of how to package a product properly is an easy start, but what about the many processes in the office such as writing a purchase order or analyzing sell-through data?
In an effort to train on standard work, I have written scores of step-by-step procedures, similar to the one in round two of the game. However, when I refer others to learn the process from the document, they often soon return to me and ask that I walk them through the process. Essentially, what I have failed to hear is that they are asking me for a visual standard. Written procedures are just too confusing or overwhelming for most standard work. Small businesses especially are always working to document their processes, so this is an important rule to learn early in the creation of standard work manuals.
Recognizing that visuals are the key to standard work has given me a couple ideas. The written procedures that seem to work well have many graphics and screenshots in them. I now strive to add a visual for every step of instruction. (If you don’t take screenshots often, then here’s a great visual process of How to Take a Screenshot)
A great example of visual standards are the instructions for changing the toilet paper in our office’s bathrooms. The toilet paper dispensers in our building are actually quite difficult to figure out; you have to rip off the cardboard to change the roll. However, after posting the directions below, our problem of empty toilet paper rolls quickly resolved.
The next level of visual standards that I am striving for is creating how-to videos. When I want to learn how to do something new, I go straight to YouTube and look for a tutorial. I hope to build that same type of resource in my company so that employees can easily learn standard work on their own. Whether it’s a quick video taken with a cellphone or recording your screen as you walkthrough how to access information from a database, videos showing how to do something are gold compared with pages of text. I have yet to find a screen recorder that I absolutely love, but I’m evaluating a list of free screen recording programs for windows.
What can you do in your company to increase visuals for standard work? How can you create training resources that employees will actually use and apply? Share your thoughts below, including how your team liked the Standard Pig Game training.