If you create handcrafted goods, handmade, niche items are currently en vogue. But part of the appeal is their uniqueness, and the fact that they are hand-crafted by an artisan. These specialty items are great for a single-person operation, but if you live in the manufacturing world, you know that there is a different truth that still exists: People want stuff that is cheap and reliable. From iphone charge cables to nails to batteries, we have come to expect most of the components that make up our life as consumers to be the same each time we buy them. This is where standardization can make all the difference.
Different Machines, Different Products
If your products are created on an automated system in multiple locations, you may find that there is not quite the standardization you are hoping for. Even a change in material size of millimeters can make one machine significantly more expensive than another when you multiply the products into the thousands and millions.
It’s important to find the right choice when it comes to your final product. Saving material can only save you money until you create a product that is flimsy and unreliable. A product that isn’t as durable as you advertise can cost customers, and as a component of something like a vehicle, can cost lives.
Finding the Sweet Spot
When you decide it’s time to standardize your item, it’s important to consider exactly what specs your final product should have. The hallmark of that perfect product includes three things:
Quality: You have a product with reliable fit and durability.
Cost-Effectiveness: The cost per unit is something that allows you to function as a profitable business.
Appeal: This is something that thousands or millions will want to buy, especially like this.
Test for Consistency:
Once you have established your perfect product, and tested it in the consumer market, it’s time to make sure you have every one of your machines creating the perfect product. From material composition, to size and fit, to measurements unique to your product, the standardization list can be complicated. If you are a large company, this means hiring a quality control department. If you are a small company, you can hire a testing company like Four Hound Solutions to come in and design the tests for you. They can then come in as often as you deign to perform the tests, design automated test equipment, or train your employees for a daily quality check.
Most important to consider is if this design should stay eternal, or if it needs an occasional styling or material facelift. Check the trends and technologies once every year or so to keep your item fresh, but still fitting the standard your customers count on.