Which engineered standards approach is right for your operation?

By Michael Harris

Choosing how to organize and analyze the time values collected during the measurement phase of an engineered standards project depends on how you plan on using the standards once implemented. Whether you use a direct measurement, standard data, or a benchmark standards methodology, selecting the right approach up front ensures long-term success by providing the right balance of detail and precision with the least amount of development and maintenance effort. For example, if you plan on using the standards to drive daily incentive pay calculations, you will need a much more detailed standard (direct measurement) compared to a standard where it will be used exclusively for scheduling and balancing staffing (standard data).

To reach a decision on the right approach, three criteria should be considered when determining the scope of the development effort: the purpose, breadth, and depth of the engineered standards.

Determining the purpose

The primary concern for choosing the approach should be the purpose of the engineered standards. Many times, operations are implementing engineered standards to support a range of purposes. However, the primary purpose of the standards should be explored and defined. Reviewing the purpose will help to define how detailed the standards need to be or how many steps the standards should be broken down into. For example, the purpose of your engineered standards may be planning, scheduling, costing, staffing, performance management, balancing workflow, method analysis, individual and team incentives, training or employees, and training for supervisors to coach employees.

Understanding the breadth of the standards

The breadth of the engineered standards refers to the number of standards required. In other words, how many unique operations are going to be measured by the standard? If this number is small, a less detailed approach may be needed. The more unique operations that are included in the standard, the more time will be needed to develop and maintain the standard.

Defining the depth of the standards

Last, the depth of the engineered standards refers to the degree of variation between the standards that will be measured. The depth influences the amount of variation accommodated in the engineered standards. Ultimately, this refers to the amount of non-unique engineered standards that will be developed and maintained. The more variation between the standards being developed, the more likely it will be necessary to include more detail.

A thoughtful approach ensures efficient implementation and sustainable standards

While there is no right or wrong answer when deciding an engineered standards approach, analyzing the above criteria will help to choose the best approach for the given operation. This could potentially be a blend of approaches to properly utilize the data in an approach that makes the most sense from a development and maintenance perspective. Accuracy of the standards is not affected by the approach used. All three of the approaches can be designed to provide the accuracy required if they are executed correctly. The main difference between the approaches are the level of detail included in the standards, the amount of variation that the standards can accommodate, and the number of standards that will be measured. Ultimately, the right standards approach will be geared towards the main purpose of your engineered standards. Whether it’s a blended approach or strictly set up in one approach, determining the best approach up front will ensure that the purpose of the engineered standards is achieved with the least amount of development and maintenance possible.

West Monroe Partners can help you engineer and execute this approach in your operation.

West Monroe Insights
Improving and Optimizing Cross Dock Operations
View More
Related Insights
Josh Holmes and Paul Cotter will speak at PCI Security Standards Council on how to establish a secure training program
Date : September 13, 2017 Time : 02:55 PM EST

Join West Monroe as we discuss how going beyond a well-established security development training program can reduce the risk of a breach and provide direct business value.

Orlando, Florida
Increase the operational performance of cross dock operations to improve customer experience and throughput capacity while reducing labor expense
Date : August 21, 2017

Our uncommon blend of workforce optimization experts have a proven track record of delivering improvements that are both achievable and sustainable.

Understand the “size of the prize” for retail operations workforce productivity improvement.
Date : August 3, 2017
Our Workforce Optimization Productivity Blueprint establishes a road map to help retailers target and realize improved productivity - reducing costs while driving sales.