As we discussed in Part 1 of our series on using Standardization to Reduce Manufacturing Costs, there are many types of approaches to standardization. We already discussed the highly effective zero-based principle approach; this article will highlight the other forms of standardization used to reduce manufacturing costs and improve overall efficiency.

Tool Standardization

Tool standardization is used to determine how many types of tools are required for each step of the manufacturing process. Companies must list the tools required in each stage (assembly, alignment, calibration, testing, service and repair) and analyze the tools used for existing products. In order to find the most common tool, companies must review and prioritize tool usage history. Collaboration among all areas of the manufacturing department is needed in order to determine the tool preferences among different departments. Once the common tools are determined, companies can develop their common parts list.

Feature Standardization

This type of standardization focuses on standardizing “features” using the same procedures used to standardize parts and tools. A “feature” is any configuration that requires a separate tool, such as a drill, hole punch or cutting tool bit for machine tools.

Raw Materials Standardization

This approach focuses on standardizing raw materials in order to make manufacturing processes more flexible. Once raw material standardization is implemented, different products can be made without any setup required to change materials, tools or mechanisms. The following materials can be standardized: bar stock/tubing, protective coatings, sheet metal, programmable chips and molding/casting.

Process Standardization

In order to standardize processes, the engineering of the products and processes must be simultaneous. This ensures that the processes are predetermined by the design team rather than determined as the product is designed. All processes must be coordinated and common enough to ensure that all parts and products can be built without any setup changes.

The standardization of parts, products and processes can lower manufacturing costs by 50%. Standardization can increase efficiency, improve quality and maintain the flexibility required in the manufacturing process. Download our “How to Choose a Manufacturing System” guide to determine if your current system has what it takes to implement these important standardization strategies.