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Before going very far down the standardization road, some key questions must be asked and answered. The first is how to decide what to standardize and what not to worry about. To answer this question, you must docu­ment the benefits of standardizing a given process ver­sus the pain. Another key consideration is whether, once made, the change can be instituted across the board or if the change will need to be evaluated every time it is implemented. Another question is how to leverage con­sultants and technology. One technology may be able to be used in multiple places but another, "better" tech­nology may only be used in one area or requires sub­stantial modifications to duplicate elsewhere. Some of the benefits versus cost for standardization:



      No confusion on what is the process/system

      Reduced training

      Don't pay for product duplication—often by the same

      Outputs can be compared against different locations
and people.


•   Time to complete—everything stops?

      Time commitment of people doing standardization—
usually only added to their current tasks

      How do you standardize multiple initiatives—both
systems and their processes simultaneously

•   Systems drive processes and vice versa but you are attempting to standardize both in a semi-vacuum. Standardization can only be successfully accomplished if cross-functional teams are used. The makeup of the team is very important. There must be enough functional areas covered so that an informed decision can be made and accepted by areas that must feel they were represented. The other important part of the team makeup is an appropriate management level of the members. They must be fairly high up in the corporation so the decisions are not continually being second-guessed and the decision of the team holds power. If experts are needed to make a decision, they should be used as part of a subcommittee, not as part of the main team.

What must be realized is that this is not a quick pro­cess—it takes time and resources. The pain stated above is real and there is considerable burnout that can occur. Whenever I complete a standardizing initiative, I say that I have made one person happy and everyone else un­happy. The corporation reaps substantial benefit, but an individual person, plant, or department may suffer substantial cost and timing penalties. There must be a certain amount of rotation on teams or ambivalence occurs with the continual time commitments and diffi­cult decisions being made.


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

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