Case Study Highlights: Standardization

Muthukumaran Kanniappan March 10, 2015

manufacturing_standardizationIn product design, engineering and manufacturing, standardization is the practice of normalizing affordable parts and manufacturing components “across the board” making an affordable part or parts the norm throughout a product line, and/or across multiple manufacturing sites.

As opposed to going in-depth into what part standardization is, this article will serve more as a companion piece on the practice, conveying evidence of how standardization has led numerous manufacturers to market success by improving product predictability and lowering redesign risk.

In deciding whether or not to pursue standardization within your company (or any other cost reduction initiative, for that matter), sometimes having real-world data on hand makes a world of difference. For a more focused blog on what exactly standardization entails as a product cost optimization (PCO) practice, check out our article on the subject here.

Highlight: Molding Machinery and Manufacturing Industries

The company in this case study has over 20 years of experience manufacturing molding equipment for health and safety, packaging, medical equipment and automobile industries. Despite this strong industry standing, the company still had challenges adapting to evolving marketplaces:

“With the European markets becoming as price sensitive as the Asian markets, B-WI’s client based in France was faced with reducing the cost of developing injection molding tools retaining the same quality levels.”

B-WI created a custom solution for the company, consisting of four main components to reduce the cost of tool and part development:

  • Completely digitizing 3D model molds and shop drawings
  • 3D animating for full visibility of finished products
  • Standardizing the most cost-efficient model drawings, prepared by different parts and resources
  • Transferring standardized models to fabrication, and providing programing support

With initiatives like design and part standardization in place, the company was able to see great reductions in engineering cost, and improve competitive edge in Asian markets.

Highlight: Filling Machine and System Manufacturer

A trusted leader in filling equipment manufacturing (ice cream, general food industry), the company in this case study sought to reduce productivity issues and challenges to serviceability through PCO initiatives such as standardization.

“B-WI proposed a design that had the drive system on top of the machine instead of at the bottom. The design also rewarded conformance to the existing food and safety standards...

After thorough understanding of the base design, the team developed new concepts. During this phase, it was decided to have the drive system on the top of the machine. Standardization of in-house stock material was featured in the new design.”

B-WI was able to significantly lower the part count of the company’s equipment through standardization, which in turn improved reliability during high volume manufacturing (as is common in the company’s target industry). This also simplified serviceability and maintenance tasks.

Highlight: European Automotive Manufacturer

In another case study, a UK-based automotive parts manufacturer contacted B-WI in order to simplify automation and complex engineering tasks. A major fabricator of transmissions, gear boxes, conveyor chains and mechanical speed drives, the company sought to simplify its global engineering process with product lifecycle in mind:

“On an aggressive organic and inorganic growth path, the manufacturer was faced with the following challenges:

•    Reducing cost of engineering
•    Getting products faster to the market
•    Standardizing engineering practices across global locations
•    Need for cross-utilization of capabilities across distributed engineering teams
•    Flexible growth of engineering teams to handle non-core tasks globally”

At this stage, B-WI stepped in to help the company centralize engineering support and transition into PLM and ERP system standardization. These initiatives led to total cost reduction of engineering, and gave the company flexibility to ramp-up or ramp-down production as needed in short notice.

To learn more about how product cost optimization practices, such as standardization, have been able to help companies around the globe increase productivity and revenues, check out our latest case study, “Structured Approach to Product Cost Optimization.”

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Topics Product Cost Optimization Product Development Solutions