No Standard No Kaizen is a common saying in lean and process improvement circles.
The principles of Visual Management are related to each other, with the over-arching goal of the following:
- Visual Management Makes Problems Visible
- Visual Management helps to immediately distinguish “normal” versus “abnormal” conditions
- Visual Management helps us to respond immediately
But, for us to know “normal versus “abnormal” conditions, there must be a standard.
A Basis for Comparison
A standard can be described the picture below:
The image above shows a hill, a wedge, and a ball. Each element represents the following concepts:
- Hill represents Improvement
- Wedge represents Standard Work
- Ball represents the thing we’re trying to improve – product, process, service – whatever
Once we improved the process, service,or product with Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA), then the newly-improved process is standardized via the wedge, or standard work. Then, we continually improve via PDCA. And whenever we do, we standardize the new process.
A Standard allows us to have a basis for comparison and allows us to see what is “normal” versus “abnormal” conditions. Without a standard, we don’t know and cannot tell what condition our process, service, or product is in.