Standards are an important component in Lean environments. They can improve quality and reduce variability in products or services, keep quality consistent, make it easier to train new staff, allow for a respectful workplace for everyone involved, create a safer working environment, and are a basis for continuous improvement. With standards in place it is easy to point out problems or mistakes. For example, in the Memorial Union Building kitchen there is a shelf that contains a variety of different cooking oils, dressings, mixing bowls, and serving platters.
Before the MUB staff implemented standards the shelf was an unsightly problem. It was hard to find what you were looking for, there was no order for putting things away, and it was a potential hazard. Once they began to utilize standards and visual controls the supplies on the shelf are visible and each have a clearly defined space.