There is a lingering argument in many manufacturing companies about standardization. Some say it is just an added activity where there is no concrete benefit. Some say it is just a waste of time and requires more effort to implement. Though this might be true in some ways, people who believe this notion is either not accepting the effectiveness of standardization or just plain not looking at all. So why do we really need standardization if there are concerns about it? Here are some of the things you need to know about standardization in Lean Manufacturing:
1. Standardization answers the 5W’s and 1H (Who, What, Why, When, Where and How). Through standardization, a project or a work can be identified with the tools needed, manpower needed the right location and the scope of work. This way, each and every job can be performed effectively and efficiently.
2. Standardized work is an output of a series of known best practices performed previously. Since this is part of a continuous activity improvement, a standard will always continue to change particularly when a better practice is obtained along the way. This is the beauty of standardization – a collection of the best practices that are always changing and improving.
3. Standardized work defines required input to obtain the required output. In standardized work, there is a measured input that is required to reach a certain output. This means that there are no excessive materials to be used in order to create an output. This also means that there is a maximized profit due to fewer raw materials used. And maximized profit is always a welcome addition to every company’s achievements.
4. Standardization is friendly for quality concerns. In terms of having arguments on whether a process is not performing as intended, it is actually eliminated when the work is standardized. Through standardization, a metric or a graph can be generated in order to monitor the performance of a process. If something goes wrong on a process, it can definitely be seen on those graphs and that’s where discussions should come in to do something on that matter. This is where the discussion should come with the aim to work on the abnormality and create a collected activity to fix it.
5. Standardization is not stopping and will not stop. If you think a standardized work will stay as it is when it was incepted, then it’s probably not yet a standardized work. A standardized work should always be improving, a type of which does not stay at it is as there are is always something to work on. There is always something to improve on. Even if it’s just small, it’s also an important change on the drive for the best-standardized work.
Standardization is actually a tedious task (yes it is). But after all the tedious work and series of activities performed in order to standardize a certain work, the effort will become smaller and things will be maximized to their full potential. It is seemingly a difficult task but the fruits of your labor will be most rewarding. It is strongly suggested to use standardization in all companies for many reasons. But standardization is just a fitting way to continuously improve.