STANDARDISATION – IS IT BETTER TO LET PEOPLE RUN THEIR OWN RACE?

Mark Twain once observed: 

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” 

Many enterprises allow their executives to adopt whatever means they believe legal, ethical and necessary to achieve their business objectives. Other enterprises insist on one way of doing things, supported by a specific system or set of systems. The first group encourages more unbridled initiative, whilst the second encourages initiative within a framework and values teamwork. So, is it better to let people run their own race or is it better to insist people toe the line? 

So there are at least two types of people. People who value maverick-like behaviours and people who value conformity. Put simply, people who value doing things their own way and those who value standardisation. Why does it matter? 

Look at our world today and, without much effort, you can list many examples where, for whatever reasons, people have not achieved (or even attempted) standardisation across the globe. Take a look at the list and just think what these things mean for the effectiveness and efficiency of national economies in terms of the support networks behind each of these: 

■          wall power sockets

■          electricity voltage

■          food ingredient labelling

■          minimum readable font sizes

■          invoice presentation

■          representation of dates

■          shopping trolleys

■          road laws

■          the side of the road we drive on

■          railway gauges

■          weights and measures

■          clothing and shoe sizes

■          building codes

■          municipal rubbish bins

■          warranties

■          trademarks

■          sockets and cabling

■          accounting standards

■          emergency telephone numbers

■          mobile phone batteries

■          mobile phone chargers

■          coffee pods 

I hope you are thinking “Yeah! How ridiculous it is that the world is this way!” 

Imagine a world where these items had a single standard. Everywhere you looked, the wall socket was the same shape, delivering the same voltage through standard connectors to standard batteries in standard electronic devices, etc, etc. 

In such a world, resources would not need to be duplicated, triplicated, quadruplicated or any higher multiple of ‘plicated’. Scarce resources would be applied to the important issues of the times. 

Unfortunately, many of these things will remain non-standard across the world. However, at an enterprise level, standardisation of processes and supporting systems is fundamental to the achievement of a number of important enterprise success measures, including: 

■          lower cost and faster speed to implement

■          lower cost to train and directly support

■          lower capital intensity

■          lower cost and faster speed to transform

■          greater enterprise agility

■          minimisation of overheads

■          increased scalability

■          integrated management information

■          faster speed to market

■          increased potential resources for product development

■          higher productivity. 

So there really are two types of people. People who accomplish great things effectively and efficiently, and people who embrace the ridiculous and claim to have achieved great accomplishments, but at great cost to the enterprise.

Related Blogs:

POLICY – DO YOU CREATE ROBOTS?

INNOVATION - HAVE YOU CONSIDERED THE COST OF STANDING STILL?

HOW DO YOU CLIMB A MOUNTAIN THAT LOOKS TOO TALL TO CONQUER?

DOES ‘ONE SIZE’ REALLY EVER ‘FIT ALL’?

WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING WITHOUT AN ASSET REGISTER FOR 100 YEARS?

 

 

 

  • 2016-03-09 16:01:51
  • Mark Spicer
  • Effectiveness and Efficiency, Standardisation, Systems Planning, Cost of Ownership