Leader Standard Work (LSW) Examples for Lean Manufacturing

, Communications Lead
Communications Lead

How TrakSYS Optimizes the Creation and Execution of Leader Standard Work

To Those Who Would Lead

In the world of lean manufacturing, Leader Standard Work(LSW) emerges as a pivotal concept, highlighting the essential role of leadership in driving effective daily task management. As the name implies, LSW—deeply rooted in lean best practices—begins at the leadership level and cascades through the organization to foster an environment of continuous improvement and efficiency. This guide explores the concept of Leader Standard Work, its impact on various operational facets and job functions, and how TrakSYS, our industry-leading manufacturing execution system(MES), empowers leaders to implement and optimize LSW for meaningful, operation-wide improvements.

What is Leader Standard Work?

Leader Standard Work is a systematic, structured approach that defines the key activities and behaviors to be performed by leaders at various levels within a manufacturing organization. It acts as a blueprint for leadership roles, outlining specific, repeatable tasks and responsibilities that are aligned with the principles of lean manufacturing. In harmony with lean manufacturing objectives, these tasks are crucial in ensuring operational consistency and efficiency. It is important to note that LSW is not limited to a particular management tier; it is vital for everyone from team leads and middle managers to upper management and C-level executives. The essence of LSW goes beyond merely maintaining a daily schedule. It involves embedding lean principles into the daily rhythm of leadership activities. Doing so ensures that every action and decision leaders take not only sets a positive example but also sets their team—and the company—up for success.

To visualize what LSW looks like in practice, imagine yourself in the shoes of a Plant Manager. Keeping in mind the principles of LSW, the start of your work days see you operating from a standardized checklist with tasks pertaining to production schedules, safety checks, team objectives, and the day’s production targets. This routine, replicated across various leadership roles, creates a consistent rhythm of repeatable, standardized activities, all coinciding with reducing process variability and waste and operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. In essence, LSW transforms leadership from a reactive to a proactive role, where leaders are not just solving problems as they arise but are actively working to optimize processes and prevent issues before they occur. This proactive approach is a defining characteristic of effective lean leadership and is at the heart of what makes LSW a critical component for manufacturing environments.

Common Examples of Leader Standard Work in Lean Manufacturing

For this guide, we will focus on four areas where leader standard work can have the most immediate and far-reaching impact for most manufacturers: 5S Audits, Gemba Walks, Visual Management, and Training.  

5S Audits 

5S Audits—a foundational activity in lean manufacturing—provides a structured approach to organizing and optimizing the workplace. With TrakSYS, these audits become more than a compliance exercise; they transform into a dynamic, continuous improvement process. Leaders can use TrakSYS to meticulously plan each stage of the 5S(Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) audit. The platform enables detailed tracking of each phase, from identifying unnecessary items in the workspace to ensuring standardized practices are followed consistently. TrakSYS’ advanced data analytics play a crucial role in this process, providing leaders with real-time insights into the effectiveness of implemented changes and helping identify areas for further improvement. The system’s capability to store historical data also allows for comparison over time, making it possible to measure progress and set tangible goals for future audits.

Gemba Walks(Proactive Daily Check-ins)

Gemba Walks are an integral part of LSW, focusing on the principle of “going to see” to understand the actual conditions on the shop floor. TrakSYS facilitates these walks by allowing leaders to document observations and insights directly into the system during their walkthroughs. This could include noting workflow inefficiencies, potential safety hazards, or opportunities for process optimization. TrakSYS’ mobile compatibility means leaders can input data on the go, making the Gemba Walks more efficient and effective. Post-walk, TrakSYS helps analyze and contextualize the collected data, correlating findings to functional areas like production, performance, quality, and maintenance, enabling leaders to identify and implement process improvements. The platform’s ability to provide visual representations of workflows and processes further ensures that any changes made are clearly understood and effectively communicated to the team.

Visual Management 

Visual Management in TrakSYS goes beyond traditional display boards and spreadsheets. It provides an interactive, real-time visual representation of manufacturing operations. Leaders can use TrakSYS to create custom dashboards that display key performance indicators(KPIs), production trends, and operational bottlenecks. This real-time visibility enables leaders and production team members to quickly identify and address issues, streamline workflows, and make informed decisions about resource allocation. For example, if a production line experiences frequent downtime, TrakSYS can help visualize these patterns, prompting leaders to investigate and resolve underlying issues. The platform’s visual management tools are instrumental in fostering a culture of transparency and continuous improvement, making it easier for all team members to understand their impact on overall operations.

Training & LSW Meeting Strategies

In the context of LSW, effective meeting strategies and training sessions are pivotal for disseminating lean principles and ensuring team alignment. TrakSYS supports these aspects by providing a centralized platform for scheduling and documenting various types of meetings. Utilizing the insights gained from Gemba Walks and 5S Audits, Leadership committees can align on strategic decisions and track the implementation of high-level initiatives. Daily production meetings become more data-driven, with TrakSYS providing real-time production data to inform daily targets and objectives. Moreover, TrakSYS can be used for organizing training sessions, tracking attendance, and monitoring the effectiveness of these sessions, ensuring that all team members are proficient in lean practices and their roles within the manufacturing process.

TrakSYS for Lean Manufacturing

Leader Standard Work(LSW) is more than just a foundational element in lean manufacturing; it is the lifeblood that ensures leadership at every level is not merely aligned but actively propels the journey towards continuous improvement. The integration of LSW with TrakSYS marks a significant evolution, transforming it from a traditional methodology into a dynamic, results-oriented practice. With its ability to help elevate performance, streamline task management, and foster process automation, the platform perfectly corresponds with leaders who desire to improve their operations. This potent combination of LSW and MES paves the way for businesses to become standard bearers for what operational excellence can look like in their respective industry. For more information on how TrakSYS enables lean manufacturing, click here.


Leader Standard Work is a systematic approach where leaders at various levels in a manufacturing organization perform specific, repeatable tasks and responsibilities daily. These tasks, aligned with lean manufacturing principles, ensure operational consistency, efficiency, and continuous improvement. LSW involves creating a structured routine for leaders that encompasses critical activities such as overseeing production processes, ensuring safety standards, and conducting regular team meetings to set a positive example and drive operational success.

  1. Identifying Key Tasks: Start by defining essential tasks that align with your manufacturing goals and lean principles. This could include safety inspections, process reviews, and team briefings.
  2. Establishing a Standard Routine: Develop a consistent daily or weekly schedule for leaders to execute these tasks. This routine should be replicable and ensure regular engagement with all critical areas of the operation.
  3. Utilizing Tools for Visualization: Implement tools like TrakSYS to visually manage and track these tasks. TrakSYS can provide dashboards for real-time monitoring of processes, making LSW tasks more manageable and transparent.
  4. Engaging in Continuous Monitoring and Improvement: Use the insights gained from TrakSYS to continuously review and refine LSW tasks. This step involves analyzing performance data, seeking feedback, and making necessary adjustments to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

A Gemba Walk is a hands-on lean practice where leaders physically walk through the work floor(the’Gemba’) to observe processes and identify improvement opportunities. This proactive approach allows leaders to see firsthand how operations unfold, engage with employees, and gain insights into workflow efficiencies and challenges. During Gemba Walks, leaders can use TrakSYS to record observations, which aids in making informed decisions for process enhancements.

LSW plays a pivotal role in improving employee engagement and Overall Equipment Effectiveness(OEE) by fostering a culture of proactive leadership and continuous improvement. Leaders consistently engaging in LSW activities sets a tone of commitment and diligence throughout the organization. Utilizing tools like TrakSYS in LSW activities helps maintain focus on key performance indicators and operational efficiencies, directly contributing to enhanced OEE. This consistent leadership approach ensures that processes are optimized, resources are efficiently used, and employees are actively involved in the organization’s lean journey.

By integrating LSW with the capabilities of TrakSYS, leaders can systematically manage their responsibilities, ensure continuous process improvement, and sustain high levels of operational excellence.

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