Job observations enhance quality, promote continuous improvement.

To ensure quality and promote quality, world class manufacturing companies conduct daily PJO’s.  Team leaders and supervisors – both with an Operator Instruction Sheet, (OIS), in hand – observe an employee doing a job.  An OIS is a detailed job description for each job on the shop floor.   An OIS describes step by step how the job or task is to be completed.  For example,  1) “Obtain (1) bolt from tote to your left.  2) Position the bolt to the hole on the left side of the widget and hand-start (3) times.  3)Obtain electrical nut-runner hanging from balancer on your right, position to bolt and run down.  4) Release nut-runner to balancer.”

Critical to Quality

It is critical that employees follow the OIS to the letter.   Having every employee on every shift perform the same operation the same way prevents mistakes that can impact the quality of the product you are manufacturing.  If the employee obtains (2) bolts they have the potential of dropping the other bolt, in this case the widget has a cavity in the center.  A dropped bolt could cause serious part failure in the final assembly of the finished part.

Employee Safety

Safety is another important concern.  On each OIS sheet should also be a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) that list all the protective equipment the employee needs to wear when performing the task.   If the appreciate gloves, mask, goggles, or hearing equipment is not being used properly, the employees could get hurt.

Team Work

Once the team leader and supervisor have observed the employee doing a job for a few cycles, the team leader will take over for the employee – giving the employee the opportunity to time to meet with the supervisor for a one-on-one discussion to address any issues or concerns identified on the job.  This is a great two –way formal process / opportunity to openly discuss and share ideas, if any, about how the job might be done more efficiently to reduce waste or perhaps done is a safer manner to avoid potential injuries.

Continuous Improvement

Issues that are brought up during these discussions are reviewed, documented and investigated.  If modifications are made to the work process, everyone on the team signs off on them and they are documented on the revised OIS going forward. 

Inverted Triangle

This in-depth employee communication process ensures the continuous improvement is driven from the bottom up.  Who better to educate management then the person performing the job?


100% alignment to and compliance with the work standard for each job/operation

Ensure team members work to documented standards

Work standards are fully understood – Implementation of an easy to learn and understand Predetermined Time System, (PDTS), is key!

Waste is eliminated

Continuous improvements are made to the workstation

Implementation of OIS

Supervisors and Team Leader need to perform PJO evaluations at a minimum of one every day on every shift. Twice a month with every Team Member is the ideal goal.

Proactive review of work standards through a teaching & coaching forum, versus punitive reaction.

Engagement, Commitment and two way Communication that builds relationship strengthening (trust & respect) between Supervisors & Team Members.

Engage the workforce so that there is 100% commitment and compliance with process standards: Standards are fully understood and followed. Waste and abnormalities are exposed

Teach the Team Members the process standards by providing a deeper knowledge of the operation and gaining commitment to comply with standards

Benefits of PJO’s- JSA – OIS?

Continuous Learning process for both the Team Members and the Process Coaches

Everyone understands the importance of following Standardized Work and follows work standards without excuses.

Sharing of continuous improvement ideas & knowledge. Collaborative discussion without fear. Team Members help to eliminate process abnormalities (hidden factory).

Mutual respect for each other’s ideas, everyone can contribute to improve the process.

Are predetermined time systems right for your company?

Are you interested in improving their assembly line productivity? Do you use PDTS in your facility?  Are you correctly using your PDTS? Are you considering using PDTS vs. a stop watch for setting production standards?  Is a PDTS right for your organization and culture to determine with precision exactly what the reasonable amount of time is required to complete any defined task by any typical operator or laborer?