Standardization for Increased Productivity & Efficiency
Standardization in production methods increases both productivity and efficiency in a manufacturing environment by improving quality and by reducing research and development time for your products. Standardization also makes it less likely that problems result from human error and, when they do, can lead you to the source of the problems more quickly. Standardization facilitates incremental improvements in your production system, and when workers uses standardized methods, system-wide changes are easier to implement.
Henry Ford, 20th-century mass production pioneer and founder of the Ford Motor Company, used one worker to do one job in the assembly process in one way. Ford standardized workers’ methods so each could complete his step in the process quickly and efficiently. Ford's standardized worker's methodology also made it possible to train replacement workers quickly. An assembly line wouldn't shut down because a single worker was absent; a new one could be hired and trained, avoiding interruptions in production.
Standardization affects efficiency in product development because you aren’t continually designing new parts for the same function. In its 2012 Annual Report, Toyota readily credits standardization in different vehicle models as a means to improve production efficiency as while reducing costs. One example of this kind of standardization was the Ford Model T. In his autobiography, “My Life and Work,” Ford said a person could purchase a Model T, “in any color he wants so long as it was black,” so the company only needed to stock paint in one color.
Poorly made products require replacement or reworking, whereas parts with errors are ground, sanded, filed or otherwise reworked to remove errors. A standardized production method for each product makes it more likely that products are produced correctly. This increases quality in your production effort and means more products are produced more efficiently without the need for reworking. As you eliminate reworking or rebuilding of parts, productivity, efficiency and quality rise without spending more money.
Using standard methods makes it easier to introduce gradual changes in your production methods that enhance quality, efficiency and productivity. Because the improvements are introduced uniformly throughout your production system, they become a new standardized method. Standardization also makes it easier to spot changes that should be made, such as altering the location of production machinery for the sake of efficiency.