The Leader Standard Work (LSW) for Managers

Even if a newly promoted manager has technical experience, he can lack management structure. As a result, the manager might forsake essential activities if he continuously reacts to unforeseen issues on the production floor. Not to mention that senior supervisors and newly promoted supervisors will adopt different management behaviours. This situation is especially challenging for companies facing workforce turnover and labour shortages.

Typically, manufacturers standardize their employees’ work and daily activities with schedules, work procedures and performance management. 

What about supervisors and managers? How can organizations standardize management across different shifts and sites?

What is the Leader Standard Work (LSW)?

The Leader Standard Work (LSW) is the set of recurrent management practices, tools, and skills standardized in the manager’s daily and weekly routine.

The Leader Standard Work empowers managers at all levels to sustain systematic practices via floor tours where the operation occurs (gemba) and collaboration in recurrent meetings (daily huddles). The organization equips managers, promotes the best management behaviors, establishes management standards and structures recurrent responsibilities into daily, weekly and monthly routines. By doing so, the management system relies on processes and objectives rather than the individual rigour toward excellence.

The goal is to standardize the management performance across managers, improve problem-solving processes, facilitate cross-team communication and foster the improvement culture.

How to Standardize The Frontline Leaders’ Work?

What are your frontline managers’ daily tasks, management tools and standard behaviours? For example, do your supervisors perform recurrent meetings, inspections, and daily checks from team leaders to directors?

1. Standardize your management practices

An organization can standardize management practices to establish daily control, supervise activities, escalate issues and ensure better communication between teams and hierarchical levels. It also formalizes how managers detect problems and follow up on corrective actions.

Daily checks (Proactive Gemba Walks)

  • Objective validation
  • Team leader Gemba Walk
  • Supervisor Gemba Walk
  • Direction Gemba Walk
  • 5S, EHS, Performance Gemba Walk

Audits and recurrent inspections

  • Quality inspection
  • HACCP, ISO, SQF Audit
  • Health & safety inspection
  • Equipment inspection
  • Standard Operating Audit
  • 5S Audit

Visual management

  • Monitoring KPI dashboards
  • Monitoring the management performance of supervisors
  • 5S System

Tiered-meetings structure

Procedures and training

  • Troubleshooting
  • Operational procedures, Setup (SMED)
  • Employee evaluation
  • Best practices
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Employee onboarding
  • Training procedures

2. Equip team leaders and directors with management tools 

It might be challenging to sustain management standards with traditional tools such as SMS, email, paper-based inspection, whiteboards, post-its, and Excel. Over time, the administrative workload and transcription of information harsh the adoption of strong management practices. In contrast, using a digital daily management system increases supervisors’ adherence to the organization’s management processes. For example, Kruger Products has gone digital to manage daily operations.

3. Establish daily, weekly and monthly routines

The daily, weekly and monthly routines set the managers’ recurrent management practices, such as recurring inspections, audits, floor rounds, daily meetings, etc. Top managers can also monitor the level of adherence to these management rituals.

4. Establish objectives and performance indicators

It is easier for managers to monitor the objectives they have for their departments with key performance indicators. Manufacturers usually standardize monitoring performance indicators within the manager’s daily routine. Establishing objectives also helps promote ownership and accountability to the management roles.

5. Promote the best management behaviours

Global manufacturing leaders standardize the management behaviours to step up everyone’s performance. The tools and management routines promote the best management behaviours for team leaders and supervisors. For example, the recurrent 1:1 meetings allow discussion about objectives and frontline managers’ performance. In addition, with regular coaching on the floor, supervisors and managers get more efficient, proactive and accountable.

Operator and Leader Standard Work

Manufacturing leaders usually involve frontline employees in the improvement culture and the standardization of the work. For example, companies standardize the operator’s work with procedures (SOPs), instructions, schedule, operator rounds, 5S at workstation and performance targets. At some point, the operators’ daily work is more standardized than the managers’ work is.

What about managers, support groups and directors? A manager without a management standard and daily routine improvises more to support his team and might undermine his employees’ standards. Both employee and leader standards matter.

Standardization at all management levels helps with operational excellence and continuous improvement from employees to direction:

What are the benefits of standardizing a manager’s daily work?

Rather than putting out fires, manufacturing companies standardize their management system and equip managers to promote proactive control which increases a sense of ownership when objectives are completed. A Leader Standard Work also helps to:

Why do digital solutions help sustain management standards?

A connected platform helps frontline workers and managers support the management of daily operations while reducing the administrative workload, transcription, word-to-mouth communication and paper-based analysis that harm the managers’ standard work.

We standardized most of our recurring meetings. For example, shift transfer meetings enable better communication from a supervisor to another. Having a defined standard helped us streamline new manager onboarding.

Marie-Anne Côté, Production Director at IPL Plastics

Managing Daily Operations with Tervene

Tervene supports organizations’ daily operations control. Our connected platform empowers frontline teams and top management to reach operational excellence with stronger daily management, collaboration and problem-solving processes.

Manufacturing and operation leaders such as Safran, Mars Wrigley, Lactalis, Siemens, Cascades and many SMBs digitized their management practices with our help: Gemba walks, daily checks, audits, inspections, operational meetings, digital procedures, improvement management and much more.

Follow us on LinkedIn