Job Breakdown Sheet

There are a number of tools for creating the standard work. Each is important and useful in its own way; some are better suited for manufacturing, others for knowledge work. One of the most powerful, because of its simplicity and clarity, is the Job Breakdown worksheet.

Certainly, documenting the way we do our work is not new. But our traditional methods often fall short:

  • Training materials may read like tax code; complicated, hard to use, too wordy, complex
  • We often miss the opportunity to communicate key tips
  • We forget to state why steps are important

As a result, our employees find it difficult to follow the documented way, because we fail to communicate the importance or we make the information unapproachable.

A Job Breakdown Sheet is a straightforward way to document standard work. It outlines the things that are important for people to remember in order to do work the agreed-upon best way, as well as the key points for how the steps should be done and the reasons why. It must be succinct, so it’s easy to teach and easy to remember. In a recent Lean event, King County District Court created Job Breakdowns for many of the key activities in the infractions process like the one below for scanning (see below).

To fully understand the powerful impact that standard work can have on an organization, it is critical to understand the historical context in which it was born. The entrance of the United States into World War II placed unprecedented demands on the country’s manufacturing industries.  At the same time, quality standards were growing more and more demanding and much of the skilled workforce was overseas fighting the war. In response to these challenges, the War Manpower Commission created the Training Within Industry (TWI) program.

TWI focused, primarily, on the following elements:

  • Documenting the best way to do the job – called the “job method”
  • Implementing a formalized training approach – called “job instruction”
  • Adhering to the job method until a better method is developed
  • Striving to improve upon the existing job method, using PDCA

The results were stunning. Across 16,500 plants, production output increased by 86% and scrap loss was reduced by 55%. So what happened to TWI’s standard work approach? It was all but abandoned in the U.S. in the post-war economic boom, but war-ravaged Japan latched onto it and other concepts that would later become the foundation of Lean.

We might not have a war that is motivating us to standard work, but we can still benefit from understanding what worked in the past.  We continue to face declining revenues and increasing demands for quality services. Returning to standard work is becoming more of a necessity again, and it is the foundation for continuous improvement.

King County District Court Job Breakdown for Scanning

Important Step

Advances the work

Key Point

Tips about steps that:

  • Make or break the job
  • Injure the worker
  • Make the work easier
Reason

. . . for key points

Sign Affidavit Required by policy
Log into scanner
  • Using network ID and password, log into computer and scanner application
Open new batch
  • Select template type and location as indicated on the Batch Cover Sheet.
  • Write down batch ID, Date, Initial on Batch Cover Sheet
  • Distributes documents correctly
  • Page break sends docs to the proper location
Load documents
  • Face down
  • Top of document toward you
  • So document image scans
Scan
  • Monitor document scanning
  • Check for errors
  • Ensure quality
Final quality check
  • Confirm accuracy & make changes, as needed (delete blanks, # of pages, etc.)
  • Documents can be askew, so long as all info is visible
  • Ensures quality
  • Do not spend time reworking scanned docs, unless absolutely necessary
Complete index fields
  • Per Batch Cover Sheet (Case #, Document Type, File Date)
  • Saves time
Close Batch / Repeat or Log off, as applicable

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