Every business always has the same goal: to become world-class through everyday changes by meeting the needs of demanding customers who will become more demanding, all in a constantly evolving marketplace.
This can be a particularly challenging dilemma for those entrepreneurs who create businesses around high quality goods or specialized information. One way to work around this challenge is to present those goods or information as customized thereby enhancing the customer’s experience. Organizations realize they can often add value for their customers by tailoring or customizing their products to meet the special needs of individual buyers.
However, there is a limitation.
Pure customization requires starting from scratch every time you receive a new customer request. This can be time consuming and ultimately drives up the total cost of the finished product or service. Even though you want to be flexible to meet client needs, being overly customized has some serious down sides.
And this is where the incorporation of some type of standardization comes to the rescue.
At a time when we are constantly being told to value the new and the different, it may come as a shock to learn that the standard, the shared and the common can be a driving force of change. Indeed, many of the innovations that have transformed the world, including railroads, modern manufacturing and interchangeable parts, money, agriculture, containerized shipping, numbers, the Internet, even language, only succeed because of standardization.
Advantages of standardization
- Rationalize different varieties of products.
- Decrease the volume of products in the store and also the manufacturer cost.
- Improve the management and design.
- Speed up the management of orders.
- Facilitate the exportation and marketing of products.
- Simplify purchasing management.
- Establish quality and safety level to the service and products.
- Inform to the characteristic of the products.
- Make easier the comparison between the different offers
- Simplify the production of legal text.
- Establish quality, environmental and safety policies.
- Help to the economical development.
- Facilitate the business.
One of the best-known examples of standardized mass production was the ‘Model T’ car produced in 1908 by Henry Ford. An unchanging design, standardized parts and (from 1914) a moving assembly line all helped reduce costs dramatically, from $850 in 1910 to $360 in 1916. Hence, the term Fordize: “to standardize a product and manufacture it by mass means at a price so low that the common man can afford to buy it.”
A modern day example of the power of standardization is the GSM™ mobile communication technology and its successors (3G, 4G…), truly global phenomena, in which ETSI has played a leading role. Although GSM was originally envisaged as a solution just for Europe, these technologies have been deployed worldwide. As a result, travelerstoday can communicate and use familiar services in every corner of the world – all thanks to standardization.
Without standardization these innovations may not have happened or may have not reached as many people as they have.
Standardization is not a bad thing, but like anything else when it is not used properly or with the right intent it can cause people to fear it. Don’t be afraid of standards. Use them to help you toward your creative goal. You don’t need to reinvent your process each time you have a new customer. Figure out the best systems for working with a client and use them over and over again. If you create strong standards, you actually have a better platform to generate customizable projects. If you save time and energy on the basic things, you can get your creative on where it will make the most impact.