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Guidelines are general instructions on how to make decisions. Unlike specific policies and processes, guidelines are not rigid. Guidelines are loose blueprints for success, such as ‘Don’t swim for 30 minutes after eating.’

Contrasting with policies and rules, there are generally no sanctions for disregarding guidelines.

While there is a time and place for guidelines, most Lean operations require more structure than guidelines provide. For example, using a kanban system effectively requires religiously following the rules of kanban and delivering high quality product requires the consistency that Standard Work provides. Guidelines simply do not provide the needed structure for frontline, customer facing processes.

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