The Power of Standardization
At Faith Technologies, our culture has always been to be innovative, think outside of the box, and to question the status quo in order to propel us forward in the electrical construction market. This has allowed the company to be best in class in many of the items and services that we provide to our customers. One of the byproducts of this culture of innovation has led us down the path of standardization. Standardization by definition means to bring to or make of an established standard size, weight, quality, strength, or the like; to standardize manufactured parts.
Standard assemblies are discussed in many, if not all of our offices and projects; some of the most commonly used are MC whips for in-wall rough, trapeze hangers, electrical panel stands, and in-wall rough device boxes. Rather than explain how we have standardized each one, I’ll use trapeze style support hangers for this example. Our Excellerate Task Force used the 80/20 methodology of thinking in order to determine standardization for this particular assembly type. Using key personnel from Operations, Excellerate and VDC, we determined the length and size of strut, and length and size of threaded rod that we use 80 percent of the time when building and installing these supports for projects. The end result of this research and development is a list of standard trapeze hangers that we, without a doubt, use over and over again on our projects, that now have defined catalog part numbers.
Once developed, there are some pros and cons that come along with this move to standardization:
- Quicker speed to market for our installation teams
- Ability to stock standard fabrication pieces
- Ability to market/produce/sell standard assemblies outside of Faith Technologies
- Less time for VDC to reproduce assembly drawings for the same items in a project
- Increased Excellerate build-time efficiency and quality
- Standard parts sometimes require minor altering once received by installation teams to allow for proper installation
In creation of these standard assemblies, the team also recognized the need to standardize electrical components and vendors that we use when building these fabricated solutions. By doing so, we are able to better leverage our buying power as a company by not buying 1,000 of 20 different items but instead buying 20,000 of one item. If you’ve been to a Sam’s Club or Costco, you likely understand the value of buying in bulk.
You may be asking, if we standardize the way we do our work or the way we prefabricate for electrical systems installations, how do we continue to be innovative? The answer is actually pretty simple: we never think that what we have created is perfect and there is no way to improve on it. By continuing to ask ourselves what more we can do to make an item or process better, innovation at Faith Technologies will continue to drive us forward.
Think about how standardization can help your life at or away from work and ask yourself, can you really afford not to standardize to reach the goals you have set?