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Continuous Improvement - Part 8 of 8

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SURPRISES

 

The largest surprise we noticed was the camaraderie. Shared war experiences always create a strong bond­ing. Morale increased by team members and even some non-team members. People are often looking for boundaries, and knowing where these boundaries are helps people to be innovative within these limits. In a large corporation, it is often difficult to understand where certain initiatives originate and what is the power behind the push. With a firm structure in place, it provides a framework that everyone must work around, and this can be used to your advantage by asking new suppliers or other employees to adhere to the standardization process. Mostly, it was a knowl­edge process. In the past, few knew about new initia­tives until they were rolled out. This resulted in unneeded resistance, overlap, delay, and additional cost. Just providing a forum for documenting these systems was a gigantic leap forward.

Another surprise and hence the largest warning is the amount of time required to complete standardization. There is a significant time requirement, but this is needed if you want to make a decision that is supported by all parties. The last big surprise was the amount of support that was received when the work was completed. Although much resistance was recorded initially, when the information was driven to non-subjective hard data, resistance melted away. At the end of the process, the original combatants became supporters.

CONCLUSIONS

There's no doubt about it, standardization management can help your business stay competitive and be more profitable. Standards eliminate excess costs, boost productivity, satisfy consumer needs, and protect the workforce and the public. Far from impeding business, standards are the foundation for innovation, because they hasten the rate of implemen­tation of new technology. Standards and technology are natural partners to the strategic marketing plan, which is clear evidence that standards should be the concern of business managers as well as of the engineers and technicians. Even with the best of intentions, why do processes and systems always tend toward non-standardization or sheer overkill on standardized processes? It is called vested in­terests. Keeping this balance is a challenge that takes con­stant oversight and management. It is tempting to always latch on to the latest and greatest, but there is a price to pay: basically cost, training, and quality. But you cannot lag behind your competition just because you are afraid to make changes. The question is not which is most im­portant, but how to use one to complement the other-using only one is a strategy for corporate failure.

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


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