2.1 Introduction
A standard is defined as a model or general agreement or a rule established by authority, consensus, or custom, created and used by various level of interest. Standardization is the orderly and systematic formulation, adoption, application and review of industrial standard which lead to simplification or variety reduction. This implies reducing unnecessary varieties and standardizing to the most economical sizes, grades, shapes, colour or types of parts. The word “standard” is multivalued as it may means physical standard prototype of mass or a technical document. Industrial standard s is the generally accepted statement of the requirement.

Standardization eliminates the rule thumb method as the width of the thumb varies widely from one individual to another. Simplification is the process of reducing the variety of items. It reduces the number of types and sizes of item s to a minimum; consistent with the needs of an organization. Simplification in company operators is an essential process of standardization.
Standardization is the process of formulating and applying rules for a beneficial and orderly approach to specific activity. It is based on consolidated efforts of science, technology and experience, reflecting in:

  1. units of measurement
  2. Terminology
  3. Products
  4. Process
  5. Safety of persons.

The term “standard,” or “technical standard” includes:
Common and repeated use of rules, conditions, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, and related management systems practices. The definition of terms; classification of components; delineation of procedures;
specification of dimensions, materials, performance, designs, or operations; measurement of quality and quantity in describing materials, processes, products, systems, services, or practices; test methods and sampling procedures; or description of fit and measurements of size or strength.

2.2 Types of Standards
Standards may be classified in numerous ways. Standards can be differentiated based on purpose.

  • A basic standard has a broad ranging effect in a particular field, such as a standard for metal which affects a range of products from cars down to screws.
  • Terminology standards (or standardized nomenclature) define words permitting representatives of an industry or parties to a transaction to use a common, clearly understood language.
  • Test and measurement standards define the methods to be used to assess the performance or other characteristics of a product or process.
  • Product standards establish qualities or requirements for a product (or related group of products) to assure that it will serve its purpose effectively.
  • Process standards specify requirements to be met by a process, such as an assembly line operation, in order to function effectively.
  • Service standards, such as for repairing a car, establish requirements to be met in order to achieve the designated purpose effectively.
  • Interface standards, such as the point of connection between a telephone and a computer terminal, are concerned with the compatibility of products.
  • Standards on data to be provided contain lists of characteristics for which values or other data are to be stated for specifying the product, process or service.
  • International Standards have been developed through a process that is open to participation by representatives of all interested countries, transparent, consensus-based, and subject to due process. The existence of non-harmonized standards for similar
    products, processes, and services in different countries or regions can create barriers to trade. Therefore, export-minded countries and industries have recognized the need for internationally accepted standards to help rationalize the international trading process.

Standards may also be classified by the intended user group. Some examples include:

  • Company standards are meant for use by a single industrial organization and usually are developed internally.
  • International standards are developed and promulgated by international governmental and non-governmental organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
  • Harmonized standards can be either an attempt by a country to make its standard compatible with an international, regional or other standard or it can be an agreement by two or more nations on the content and application of a standard, the latter of which tends to be mandatory.
  • Industry standards are developed and promulgated by an industry for materials and products related to that industry.
  • Government standards are developed and promulgated by Federal, State, and local agencies to address needs or applications peculiar to their missions and functions.
  • Another distinction among standards is the manner in which they specify requirements.
  • Performance standards describe how a product is supposed to function. A performance standard for water pipe might set requirements for the pressure per square inch that a pipe must withstand, along with a test method to determine if a specimen meets the requirement.
  • Design standards define characteristics or how the product is to be built. The specification that a pipe be made of a given gage of copper would characterize a design standard. Government agencies are encouraged to write technical regulations and standards in terms of performance, rather than design characteristics.

Still another classification scheme distinguishes between voluntary standards, which by themselves impose no obligations regarding use, and mandatory standards. A mandatory standard is generally published as part of a code, rule or regulation by a regulatory government body andimposes an obligation on specified parties to conform to it. However, the distinction between these
two categories may be lost when voluntary consensus standards are referenced in government regulations, effectively making them mandatory” standards.

It is clear, then, that standards cover a broad range of types and serve a wide variety of purposes. Where appropriate purchasing should work with design, engineering, and operation to seek opportunities to standardize materials, components and supplies to increase the usage of standardize items. For example, a car manufacture could design different models of automobiles to use the same starter mechanism, thus increasing its usage and reducing the need for multiple items storage space. While allowing for large quantity price documents. This will also reduce the number of small value purchases for less frequently used items.

The task force, responsible for standardization must follow procedure to get the items standardized. They should get all relevant facts from the concerned executive. They should develop standards which are easy to understand and to implement. There should be a constant reviewing, updating and monitoring committee so that best benefits accrue to the company. The process of standardization can be conceived on a three dimensional plane. To include factors such as levels, aspect, subject and there interrelation .the level includes individual, departments, company, industry, nation, international, and universe. While the aspects may include forms,
ethics, code of conducts procedures, contracts, inspection, testing sampling, agreements or reporting, notes etc. The third dimension, namely the subjects, encompasses industry, education, agriculture, communication, transport, mining, trade, commerce, energy, family planning, construction and administration.

The standardization process may take the form of a document containing a set of conditions to be fulfilled, a fundamental unit or physical constant or an object for physical comparison. The apex body of standards in Kenya is the Kenya bureau of standards (KeBS).
At international level, international standard organization is based in Geneva.

Items to be standardized
The warehouse and inventory manager should involve executives from design, maintenance, inspections, operations and costing department in order to ensure that the recommended standards are implemented. This team should update its knowledge on the latest available technological development to effectively implement the process of standardization. If the standard is approved as a company standard, the standard department should make necessary reproduction and distribute copies as mandatory to all concerned.

We have the kilogram as standard of weight, meters as the standard of length. Keeping to the right as the standard of the road, motors are made only in certain ratings, bulbs only in specific voltages, etc. Procedures, formats, reporting system, sampling inspections plans, letter heads, operating manual, standard costing method, etc. are the examples one comes across in the field of standardization. It is advantageous to tackle non critical high value, easily available item for standardization, as otherwise there will be opposition from design department. MRO-maintenance, repair and operation items like fasteners, hardware items, maintenance, etc. are a good starting point to impose standardization.

When ever published standards are available from outside sources the same can be applied. The frequency distribution of demand for each type and size of an item in terms of quantity of materials purchased/used /or products sold, would be an excellent starting point for standardization and variety reduction in an organization. For instance, consider the example where the diameters in millimeters of pipes are 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 and the past pattern shows that only two sizes 5.1 and 5.4 are often used. Then the orders for the remaining three dimensions can be gradually discontinued if these items are not critical from performance and safety angles.
The preferred number series-a series of standard sizes is suitable steps used in the bulbs and currency-developed by Renaud and known as R-5, R-10, R-29, R-40 etc is another way of stating the standardization process.

2.4 Simplification
Simplifications refers to reduction of the number of the company, supplier, or standard materials used in the product or process during product design. For example, an engine starter manufacture could design all of its starter model to use a single type of housing or solenoid. Thus, simplification can further reduce the number of small value purchases while reducing storage space requirements, as well as allowing for quantity purchase discounts. Simplification can achieved as follows;

  • Accumulating Small Order to Create a Large Order
    Number small orders can be accumulated and mixed into a large order, especially if the material request is not urgent. Otherwise, purchasing can simply increase the order quantity if the ordering cost exceed the inventory holding cost. Larger orders also reduce the purchase price and unit transportation cost.
  • Using a fixed order interval for specific categories of materials/supplies
    Another effective way to control small orders is to group materials and supplies into categories and then set fixed order intervals for each category. Order intervals can be set as biweekly or monthly depending on usage. Instead of requesting individual materials or supplies, users request the appropriate quantity of each item in the category on a single requisition to be purchased from a supplier. This increases the dollar value and decreases the number of small orders.

2.5 Benefit of standardization
The warehousing and inventory manager must have an unambiguous nomenclature for identifying the terms, in order to serve the customer promptly.

  • In this process, standardization which reduces the variety plays a vital role by reducing the number of varieties of the same item held in the warehouse.
  • More than any other executive, the stores in charge comes into direct contact with a variety of materials. He can gain knowledge on the uses of materials in the store and can contribute significantly to achieve standardization.
  • Standardization enables one to concentrate on large quantity of fewer items.
  • It is possible to place economic order quantity or orders of staggered deliveries with bulk discount.
  • Economic lot size at manufacturing will not be a problem as items can as items can be manufactured with the same set up timings for standard items.
  • Since the inventory is likely to be less, the working capital commitment of the organization will also be less.
  • The items can be easily identified by all persons in stores as the bin location can also be standardized.
  • Standardization reduce the time involve in negotiation process with the suppliers as communication is better with prompt delivery schedule.
  • The procurement lead time gets reduce as everyone knows the item clearly.
  • The buyer-seller relations can be improved as all dimensions including price analysis. Specifications lead time etc, are standardized without scope for disputes.
  • Standardization promotes healthy competition amongst vendor as standard items can be bought by several companies.
  • Standardization minimizes obsolescence.
  • It is possible to have rate running contracts for standardized items.
  • Standardization reduces design time by concentrating on fewer parts.
  • It minimizes draft time through respective of standard drawings.
  • It expands the engineers list of known and power items.
  • It reduces specification writing by repetitive use of standard specifications.
  • Interchangeability of parts is assured through standardization.
  • Lower cost of production through continuous manufacturing run with less material handling problems and increased capacity utilization is achieved by standardization.
  • The workers at all levels and departments become more efficient by repeated handling of items and it is possible to utilize less skilled workers for standard operations.
  • Standardization enables reduced inspections and quality control burden.
  • Since methods are standardized, it ensures safety to all.
  • Standardization directly reduces the variety and improves the information system of the warehouse manager.
  • Standardization enables reduced number of maintenance tools and improves maintenance practices.
  • Standardization aims at maximum variety of finished product with minimum categories of assemblies, sub assemblies and components.
  • In general, standardization result in simple operations, minimum paper work, improve inter departmental coordination, ease of computer application and pinpoints areas involving inefficiency. In short, standardization is a means to faster and better understood communication, with fewer mistakes and hence smoother life.

2.6 Roadblock to standardization
Standardizations should not lead to monotony and prohibit innovations. For instance, it is not possible to introduce standardizations of end products in job shops, but assemblies/parts constituting a final product may be standardized. Similarly, it is possible to standardize items like shoes in terms of seven, or eight sizes. Standardizations must not lead to rigidity in design or restrict technical development. Standardizations is also based on previous practices.

In summary, the following points should be borne in mind;

  1. Identify the relevance of standardizations in warehousing and inventory management
  2. Discuss the benefit of standardization to different departments in the organizations
  3. Explain how you will identify the items of standardizations
  4. Describe the procedures for standardizations
  5. Enumerate the pitfalls of standardization
  6. Elucidate the applications of the concept of frequency distributions to standardizations
  7. Clarify the concepts of preferred number series in relations to standardization
  8. Specify the interrelationship between standardizations ,simplifications and specifications
  9. Explain the role of Kenya bureau of standards in development of standards
  10. Examine the scope of standardizations in job shop, office and administrations.
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