In the last post we talked about some of the positive and negative impacts that variation can have on your products. In this article we will be looking at the opposite of variation, which is uniformity. Some of the ways product managers can create uniformity is by standardizing on systems, product features, and pricing schemes. There are people who dedicate their lives to mastering the subject of standardization (think six sigma and lean manufacturing). What I hope to express is that just like variation, standardization can be a double edge sword. Continue reading
I work for a manufacturing company. In my organization we talk a lot about how to create products that are the same each time we make them. Variation is often seen as the enemy in manufacturing. If one worker performs a task in a different way than another worker, the quality of the product can sometimes suffer.
Does this mean that variation is always a bad thing? No, I don’t believe it is. In my department, variation is often something that helps us sell more of our products. We divide our product into two primary categories. Standard products and custom products. We think about these categories in terms of the 80/20 rule. 80% of what we make are standard products, and the remaining 20% are custom orders. Continue reading