Standardization is the process of developing and implementing technical standards. Standards are documents that describe the characteristics of a product, service, or system. They can be developed by government agencies, industry associations, or companies.
There are several types of standards:
Technical standards: These describe the physical or functional characteristics of a product, service, or system.
Quality standards: These set out the requirements for quality assurance and control. Quality standards can be used to assess whether a product, service, or system meets the required level of quality.
Management systems standards: These establish requirements for management systems, such as those for environmental management or occupational health and safety.
Information technology standards: These deal with the interoperability of hardware and software, data formats, and communication protocols.
Definition of Process Standardization
Process standardization is the task of unifying a company’s procedures in order to create patterns and scripts for the various activities that a company engages in. This allows a company to operate more efficiently and effectively. In order to accomplish this goal, it is imperative that everyone involved in the operation of the business adhere to the aforementioned guidelines.
Standardizing and unifying processes is a strategy that ensures the quality standard of your company, without flexibility and without fluctuations, regardless of the sector or person responsible for the activity, and this is especially important when the company has multiple branches or multiple areas of operations.
Examples of a Process Standardization
Auto Insurance Handling
For the purpose of illustrating, the procedure of providing customers with quotes for auto insurance involves the collection of various types of data and the completion of a number of steps. Standardizing a business process involves defining how that process will be carried out so that it is carried out in the exact same manner and in the exact same order each time a customer requests a quote.
Manufacturing Process Standardization
The assembly sequence is of paramount importance for manufacturing. In absence of a standardized process, quality issues may emerge which leads to an increase in warranty costs. A manufacturing SOP details the sequence of steps that need to be followed so that the desired level of product quality can be achieved
Trauma Care Process Standardization
In a hospital, if trauma care is not handled properly, it can result in chaos and disruption in services. It can lead to significant loss of time which may result in higher mortality. A standardized process allows all doctors and support staff to work seamlessly so that maximum utilization of resources and time is possible
What does it mean to standardize a process?
When it comes to completing tasks, your company should maintain a certain degree of consistency in order to fully benefit from the benefits of standardization. Your company should ensure that all of its procedures are consistent, at least somewhat, with the most effective procedures used in other organizations. When we discuss a standard process, we are interested in learning how the product or service was developed, how it is being utilized or distributed, the technologies that are currently available, and the steps that have been taken to satisfy the requirements of your customers.
The primary goal of this approach is to guarantee that all of the responsibilities and documents will be addressed in the same manner, despite the fact that it is carried out by a variety of individuals and departments. Any worker will have the ability to comprehend what was done, how it was done, where it was done, and when it was done.
In point of fact, it is very common for businesses to suffer losses in both customers and financial resources, even though the quality of service provided by one of their locations may have been superior to that provided by another.
This is something that occurs in administration as well, as the information should be handled in a way that is integrated and systemic; when this is not done, everything starts to become out of alignment.
It is possible to define process standardization as the improvement of operational performance, the reduction of costs brought about by a decrease in the number of process errors, the facilitation of communication, the reaping of benefits derived from expert knowledge, and the provision of flexibility without requiring the implementation of organizational controls. Standardization is a practice that, by its very nature, contributes to an organization’s success.
The 8 Step Process of Standardization
There are generally 8 Steps involved in Standardizing a Process. We will explore each of them in detail followed by an example:
Study of the workflow: A Good First step to start is to study the process in detail. Generally, every process comprises several smaller steps.
Documentation of Each Step: Each step of the process is studied in detail. Generally, from a manufacturing and service setup, a detailed time study is done. Each element of the process is called a Work Breakdown Structure or WBS
Prioritize: After a detailed study, it is required to find issues pertaining to each step. We must understand that all processes cannot be standardized or require a significant investment of time and resources. A Pareto analysis of most time-consuming processes or processes which generate maximum errors should be prioritized for standardization
Brainstorming of Inadequacies: Inadequate processes should be brainstormed with the stakeholders which involve employees and the customer. The customer can be both internal and external.
Proposals for alternatives: After brainstorming an alternative process needs to be devised. This will help in creating a few alternatives which can be tested in the real-life scenario
Selection of Improved Process: The most suitable process after testing should be selected. Leadership teams and managers need to be updated and processes need to be documented.
Creation of Visual Guides and SOPs: SOPs and Visual Guide help in the implementation of new process standards. In case of confusion, employees, and workers can refer to those visual and textual guides and guide a process accordingly.
Generating Feedback: Standardization is a continuous process and works in generating and implementing continuous improvement across the board. The deficiencies of the newly adopted process should be corrected in the subsequent cycles
What are the merits of adopting a standardized approach to procedures?
Reduction of Manual Tasks
It ensures that unnecessary manual tasks can be avoided through process automation by establishing a standardized process.
This results in a reduction in the operational costs incurred by the business. In addition, the staff at the service desk do not need to start from scratch when confronted with a situation that they have already resolved in the past because the process that they follow is standardized. As a result, the staff at the service desk will have more time to devote to working on the problem itself and finding a solution. The fulfillment of Service Level Agreements and the reduction of Operating Costs are both made easier as a result of this.
Overall efficiency is achieved when users are able to complete processes using the minimum amount of resources while simultaneously maximizing the value they derive from those resources. This results in a reduction in costs across the board, which is a natural byproduct of increased efficiency. It is projected that by the year 2023, a reduction in operational costs of thirty percent will result from relying on process standardization to support hyper-automation.
Increase in Productivity
When businesses optimize their business processes by utilizing the most effective practices, they are able to experience significant productivity increases. Standardization of business processes, which is one of the first steps in implementing intelligent process automation (IPA), is essential to the reduction of 50–60% in the amount of time spent on straight-through processing in IPA facilities.
Enhancement of Knowledge Base
It is now possible to form a knowledge base that democratizes access to useful information throughout the entirety of the service desk as a result of the manner in which the knowledge that is generated within the organization is gathered and stored. The individuals working at the service desk will be able to achieve a level of self-sufficiency with the assistance of this knowledge base. They will be better able to solve problems, as well as achieve greater efficiency and speed while carrying out a task, as a result of this.
Standardization brings about more transparency, both in terms of the processes involved and the results obtained. It encourages the implementation of particular regulations in every process that is carried out inside the service desk. Because of this, organizations guarantee that all of their operations are in accordance with the regulations that are necessary for the kind of business that they conduct.
Great Customer Experience
Customers Who Are Happiest With Their Experience A high customer satisfaction rate is the end result of providing services of higher quality in a shorter amount of time. This transforms them into devoted customers who are happy with the service they receive, which is beneficial for any company. This is one of the most significant benefits of standardization, as it contributes to the creation and maintenance of satisfied customers.
Importance of Standardization in Quality Control
A good quality product or service is one that does not contain any manufacturing defects, deficiencies, or process variations. This is the gold standard for determining quality. This is accomplished through a comprehensive process that includes quality assurance as well as quality control.
Therefore, in order to ensure and continue to maintain good manufacturing practices, a set of quality standards for manufacturing must be established and adhered to throughout the entirety of the manufacturing process in order to achieve and maintain uniformity.
In addition to this, some of the advantages that come along with quality standards are as follows:
- Continuous enhancement of the overall quality of the results
- Compliance with the necessary regulatory requirements in a timely and effective manner
- Reduced inconsistency in the process as well as product flaws
- Increased worker productivity and protection from harm
- Increased contentment amongst one’s patronage
- A continuous and unbroken flow of operations
Principles of Process Standardization in Quality Control
The seven tenets of quality control also apply to the process of establishing quality assurance standardization, and they can provide guidance for developing a quality control standardization that is better suited to your company and your field of work.
The following is a list of the fundamental principles underlying quality control standardization:
This directs the company to make sure that the requirements and requirements of the customers are fulfilled by establishing quality standards that are in line with those requirements and requirements.
Leadership refers to the organization’s commitment to implement leadership principles across the organization in order to promote a healthy culture of collaboration. This aspect of the organization’s commitment is referred to as “leadership.”
The engagement of people is essential to sustaining the engagement of workers in the direction of improving the value they provide to the organization and their customers.
The term “process approach” refers to the method of dealing with each project and process as if it were a component of a larger, more integrated, and effectively operating system in order to direct all efforts into maintaining the business.
This highlights the need for an organization to continuously improve by encouraging proactive innovation and consistent recognition of successful initiatives.”
Making decisions based on evidence gives people the ability to recognize the significance of data and analysis, as well as the ways in which they can implement these concepts in real-world scenarios, such as ensuring that quality standards are met.
This enables organizations to look at the overall supply chain management and how it affects the processes, stakeholders, and suppliers. Relationship Management
What makes a Process Standardization ineffective?
The primary focus is the process and not the customer
Ignoring the fact that the standard operating procedures that are currently in place do not adequately address the current work conditions is an example of pragmatic ignorance. Work tasks, rather than the process itself, are the primary focus here.
Stress due to compliance
Compliance causes an increase in stress because employees have to work to deal with a mismatch between the current situation and standard operating procedures. In this situation, there is a tendency to redouble one’s efforts in order to apply the policies and procedures that have been prescribed.
Lack of Managerial oversight due to processes
Adaptation entails the realization that standard operating procedures might be advantageous but call for certain adjustments to be made to the mirror. It is possible that resistance to standardization will result in changes being made to a prescribed process, which will ultimately result in an overly complex system that will make managerial oversight difficult.
Process Standardization to Ensuring Continuity of Processes
If you’ve standardized a business process, pat yourself on the back. You’re already ahead of most companies. Now it’s time to move forward and integrate that process into your enterprise. Doing so will improve efficiency and reliability while also providing a framework for expansion.
There are several ways to approach enterprise integration, but they all have one goal: make the process part of the company fabric. The most common method is using enterprise application software (EAS), which is built to support large-scale initiatives. This software typically includes a process engine, which executes the process steps, and an integration layer, which ensures that data flows smoothly between different systems.
Other approaches include service-oriented architecture (SOA) and business process management (BPM). SOA defines how different software components should interact and BPM provides tools for designing, executing, and monitoring processes.
No matter what method you use, enterprise integration is essential for unlocking the full potential of process standardization. By making the process part of the company infrastructure, you’ll set the stage for increased efficiency, reliability, and growth.
Process standardization is a powerful tool that can help organizations improve quality, reduce costs, and increase efficiency. By definition, process standardization is the implementation of best practices across an organization. When done properly, process standardization can have a dramatic impact on an organization’s bottom line. In this guide, we’ve discussed the advantages of process standardization, the steps involved in implementing it, and some of the challenges you may face along the way. If you’re interested in improving your organization’s performance, process standardization is definitely worth considering.
Samrat is a Delhi based MBA from Indian Institute of Management. He is a Strategy, AI and a Marketing Enthusiast and passionately writes about core and emerging topics on Management studies. Reach out his LinkedIn for a discussion or follow his Quora Page