Masters Week is finally here! All of the golf world has descended upon Augusta, Georgia for April 8-14 for the 2013 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
Last year at the 2012 Masters I was sitting with someone near the green of another hole on Sunday when we heard the roar of the crowd from the #2 green. Louis Oosthuizen had just scored an albatross (or double eagle, or three-under-par) on hole #2 – he took two shots to complete a par-5 hole by knocking his long second shot from the fairway onto the green and straight into the cup.
This was the first-ever albatross on hole #2, in this the 76th Masters.
So I was asked “Shouldn’t the best score reflect best practices and thereby become standardized work?”
It was a good question but also comes with a humbling theoretical AND actual answer – no.
Theoretically, standardized work should be a reflection of the best practices but also stand as easily repeatable. Expert precision and consistent conditions should be documented and also repeated.
In golf, such expectation is unrealistic. Oosthuizen could not have expertly predicted what should happen with his shot, given the conditions. In addition, even if he repeated his swing and stance exactly as he had last year, the conditions will have all changed – weather, moisture of the grounds, humidity, wind, etc.
And in real life…the results speak for themselves. No one else has done what he has.
If conditions and activities can be easily repeated for every stroke on the golf course, then yes, standardized work can come about. Unfortunately golf does not lend itself to standardized work. That’s why players have so many different clubs in their bags and why scores are always different.
Let’s look at a non-sports example.
A few years back I helped facilitate a Kaizen event on a manufacturing line. The injection molding press was moving to a different plant location, and the work cell layout might have to change. Based on available space (according to blueprints of the plant’s future state) we ran a time study for the assembly/quality check process that previously required two operators.
In our short time study we saw we could complete the assembly and quality check process within customer takt time using just one operator. However, that operator was running from one station to the next to complete both tasks. It is certainly possible to complete the entire process with one person, but this one person required superhuman energy and a lot of stamina to do so. With the customer expectation set for us and the costs associated with significantly altering the work cell standing higher than what we expected to invest, we streamlined the process for use with two operators but cut out a lot of other waste activity.
So just because a process CAN be completed at the highest level of productivity or performance doesn’t mean it is ideal. Standardized work should reflect what SHOULD happen most of the time, aside from blips in performance either up or down. If customer expectations or available resources for investment were to change, then the standardized work and work cell layout could as well.
We’re also giving away 2013 Masters pin flags – click here to learn more!