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Competition for its own sake is taking its toll on corpo­rations around the world. At breathtaking speeds, mar­kets are being swamped with torrents of faster and faster new product introductions. In the software world, Win­dows 95,98,2000, NT4, client/server systems, and Web-based systems are all technologies implemented in recent years. Each of these introductions has had a major im­pact on how systems are written—requiring rewrites and obsolescence of current technologies. Whenever a new system is introduced, there are issues of cost, training, compatibility with existing systems, and acceptance. Often before one technology can be fully deployed, an­other leapfrogs it. How does one make changes on a timetable that is conducive to a strong operational foun­dation? In today's lean and mean economy, with fin­icky customers and rising cost and quality pressures, technological superiority is not enough to justify the enormous costs of numerous implementations

This article will explore the interplay between stan­dardization and innovation in products, systems, and processes. Standardization initiatives such as ISO9000 and innovation requirements such as speed-to-market projects are often viewed as mutually exclusive. This ar­ticle will focus on how to balance the two, when to use one to compliment the other, how to standardize with­out stifling creativity, and how to continually improve a process without upsetting the corresponding system.

What is the proper balance between innovation and standardization? At Chrysler, we created large procedural manuals—a procedure for everything. These manuals could become a reason for not doing anything, because if some­thing was not in the manual then only the owner of the process really understood what was in die manual and what was not. A few years ago, someone said, "Throw out all the manuals." This launched our "cowboy" process where in­novation reigned supreme. We could move very fast and change silos—create platform teams without much thought for the implication because the old way wasn't working and something new had to be tried. Unfortunately, the twin sister of innovation also reigned—overlap and du­plication. We are now struggling with the proper balance between these two extremes. Having a plan is key; without a plan, chaos will reign. The following article will help you to create that plan and stay on target, while preserving the advantages of both innovation and standardization while avoiding the many disadvantages.


Part 1  Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7  Part 8

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