Successful product standardisation reduces design time and associated costs in sales, engineering and production. Product standardisation consists of several key activities;
Product standardisation is a process of defining uniform characteristics and simplification of a product. Standardisation can but does not need to reduce features or options. A principal goal of product standardisation is to do more with less. Every feature and option is carefully evaluated and challenged before being included. However, it is likely to add many additional features and options during the standardisation process.
Product standardisation is the start of other initiatives
Successful product standardisation is the start of many other initiatives that can transform a business. Product standardisation provides a framework to attach accurate costs, leading to more accurate customer quotations and product margin control. Quality improves as more consistent, and better-prepared information reduces rework and creates fewer demands on management.
Sales configurators become possible which can automate product selection and quote generation. A further step can lead to design automation, where the output can drive 3D modelling, drawings and document creation together with downstream processes.
A product audit is used to catalogue and benchmark all existing products. The audit determines the key objectives of the product and how well the product performs these. The complexity of each product is determined to include a list of all variants, options and features. It is necessary to determine the location of information held for each product and who in the company has detailed product knowledge. Give careful consideration to your customer’s requirements for the product’s and how well the product meets these requirements.
Agree on a priority for each product, and develop a plan to start the standardisation process.
A fundamental requirement of product standardisation is a simplification process to extract reusable modules from the non-modularised product. Modules allow the product to be broken down into either functional or assembly-based modules, the sum of which forms the product.
High product complexity usually increases the urgency for standardisation. Breaking down complex products into smaller re-usable sub-assemblies simplifies the management of the product and allows configuration to take place. Unless a company manufactures completely bespoke unrelated products, there are opportunities to standardise the product.
It is essential to create a central library of product standards to allow easy access to product standards by both people and systems. Quick access reduces time to locate information and ensures that the information is always current and accurate. Customer satisfaction increases as they receive better quality information faster. Errors are corrected at source as there is only one source of information. The maintenance of product data is significantly simplified.
Product standardisation is essential to remain competitive
Product standardisation addresses many different business issues, reducing company overheads and delivery time. The implementation of product standardisation can lead to a more competitive product and increased profitability.
Gatehouse Design can help companies achieve product standardisation. We can help by providing a free product audit; we can offer advice and also provide direct design help.
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