Standardize For Savings

Standardization saves time and money. Photos Courtesy Of Andrew Greess

Standardization saves time and money.

Photos Courtesy Of Andrew Greess

You may have noticed that when you order a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder in Anchorage, Alaska, it is exactly the same as the one you purchase in Miami, Fla. This is also true for a cup of Starbucks coffee.

The business strategy–called standardization–is used by many great companies to ensure a dependable result. Creating a uniform product means people know what to expect and can rely on a good experience.

Southwest Airlines is another example of standardization. Every plane the company flies is a Boeing 737. By standardizing its equipment, Southwest has created various efficiencies:

  • Training–Staff members only need to be trained on one aircraft. This applies to pilots, cabin staff, ground staff, baggage handlers, mechanics, accountants, marketing managers, telephone service, and maintenance staff. Think of the time and money this saves the company.
  • Scheduling–All employees can work on any aircraft. For example, if a pilot calls in sick, any other pilot can stand in and do the job without additional training or instruction. This reduces the odds that Southwest has to cancel a flight when the appropriate staff member is not available.
  • Efficiency–Every employee knows exactly where everything is and how to do their job, no matter which plane or flight they are working, supporting, or servicing.  If a flight attendant needs a first-aid kit, it is always in the same place on every aircraft. There is no time lost looking for needed items, figuring out how to do something, or devising “work-arounds.”
  • Maintenance–Mechanics only need to be trained to service one type of plane. The capital (money) tied up in parts inventories is much lower because there are fewer required parts. This also significantly improves the odds that a part will be available when needed. In turn, this reduces the downtime planes are on the ground. In the extreme, the number of backup aircraft that Southwest must keep available is probably lower than their competitors that fly multiple types of planes. Further, any Southwest plane can taxi up to any airport, terminal, or gate to which Southwest flies.

Do It Yourself

Many of these concepts also apply to parks and recreation professionals, their organizations, employees, and equipment. Standardizing landscape equipment will result in many of these same efficiencies for the organization.

If your equipment is already standardized, congratulations, for you are clearly in the minority. Take the next step and standardize

Since filters can be a source of many spray-equipment problems, it is a good place to begin standardization.

Since filters can be a source of many

spray-equipment problems, it is a

good place to begin standardization.

storage locations on vehicles. For example, always store marker flags in location X. By putting specific items in the same place in each vehicle, any employee can find what he or she needs immediately instead of wasting time looking for those items to complete a job.

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