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36 PCB007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 Happy holidays! As 2019 comes to a close, I thought I would take a moment and talk about the importance of standardization. When we talk about the standardization of processes, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to do something the same as the people next door. Sure, there may be some industry guidelines that we all must follow, but there still is a great deal of latitude that allows us to perfect our way of doing things. Some people may rise in the morning and put their right sock on first, while others may begin with the left. Is that a problem? No, the end result is the same—socks on! It doesn't have to be any different in larger-scale process- es. Standardization comes down to an agree- ment that we are to perform a task or set of tasks the same way every time. Putting your engineering hat on, this provides predictabili- ty. If we all agree on how the task(s) should be performed, we can predict the outcome with a high degree of accuracy. Now, to begin with, the word "standardiza- tion" strikes fear into the hearts and minds of many who think about rules, regulations, problems. Not true! All that it means is that we review a task or set of tasks that we routine- ly perform and roadmap it. How we perform the task, and which steps are involved and in what order, results in the standardization of that task or process. Standardizing a process is nothing more than mapping the steps involved and repeating them each time to achieve the predicted result. Unfortunately, this is where many attempts at standardization fail. I've written many processes and standard- ized numerous activities in the workplace over the years, and I have found areas of concern that usually result in a process failure or stan- dardization breakdown. Staying in Your Lane Testing Todd Feature Column by Todd Kolmodin, GARDIEN SERVICES USA

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