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Standardization – what is it and why is it important?

Standardization simply means a harmonization after certain types. It is mostly used to have a better comparability in terms of data, metrics, processes or systems.


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The major purpose of standardization is to make things consistent and clear that anyone in an organization can access and utilize them in the operations. It is the first step to ensure that data is able to be shared across an organization. Standardization makes it easier to identify issues and speed up the time it takes for you to get actionable insights.

In a maritime relation standardization is seen for example on vessels, where working processes need to be defined with very clear standards to ensure a fluent onboarding of common changing personnel on board.

Why do we need standardization?

There are many business reasons for standardizing processes:

With the reduction of deviations you higher your operational efficiency and productivity. Further a creation of standards brings ability to scale and a much easier process improvement. I think we all have a safe feeling of goods or companies, when we see an ISO certificate printed next to a company or product logo. For us it’s a guarantee of quality. In fact it is not less than the seal of the International Organization of Standardization, which allows us to safely rely on.

When McDonald’s opens a new restaurant they carefully replicate the standardized concept, including standardized processes. The manager of the new restaurant never considers “building from scratch” because there is a process that achieves results the company is happy with. The same applies to new employee training. The entire concept relies on standardization, in the products, in the processes and the entire CI.

“Yes, standardization is important and yes, it makes sense. But not in my house.”

The specialties of a fleet with different types of vessels, the particular mix of nationalities on board, the various shipping routes or the current processes ashore – there are many reasons to pretend that standardization does really not work in a company. But what is the real reason for avoiding standardization? Because above mentioned reasons aren’t.

A ship is a ship. The demand of a vessel is no new discovery, it’s a certain standard. Order catalogues can be adapted, ship suppliers know their job for many years and have supplied each and every kind of vessel and crew already, machines and their parts are used on more than only one vessel. They all work with standards and they all are successful with that.

If we execute any evaluation in our everyday life, we build an average to find a result – so we build standards. So why are we sometimes skeptical and don’t trust in the power of it? Is it fear of innovation, the respect for improvement? Or just the uncertainty of a change where we do not imagine the result?

The famous slogan of a leading sporting goods maker is to “just do it”. And we just did. We evaluated 40.000 ship deliveries from more than 2.000 worldwide suppliers in 200 countries and created a system that relies on actual data by 100%. We just started sailing with a new concept that finally got proved and was worth to enhance and develop. The result is a platform saving substantial amounts of money for ship managers by just shifting responsibilities based on standardization and digitalization.

Summing up we can conclude that standardization kept us where we are and will always be essential for a smarter and innovative future. There will always be individuality and this is an important part of the entire consideration however if we do not at least try to open for the introduction of technical innovations we will surely pay the bill for it. The vessel of innovation has arrived, better to come on board before departure.

This article is shared by courtesy of MESH Maritime Electronic Supply Hub GmbH written by CEO Simon Burhorst. 

Why are we sometimes skeptical and don’t trust in the power of standardization? Is it fear of innovation, the respect for improvement? Or just the uncertainty of a change where we do not imagine the result?

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