Standardized work (SW) is a type of action-oriented procedure that sets a basis for continuous improvement in the Toyota Production System. However, the usefulness and applicability of this practice to construction is still unclear. Furthermore, while some studies have addressed the key elements of SW, the role played by the concept of slack as a fundamental element of operations design is rarely discussed in an explicit way. This is a drawback since slack resources allow for the system to cope with variability from different sources. Considering the context of the construction industry, the aim of this study is to carry out an exploratory investigation of the role played by slack in SW. This analysis is mostly based on a matrix that checks strategies for the deployment of slack resources against sources of variability in construction. Results indicate that SW, in construction, should account for a broader range of slack resources in comparison to what is accounted for in manufacturing. In addition, we propose that slack resources and the corresponding variability sources be explicitly anticipated when designing SW for construction operations.
Slack, Standardized Work, Variability.