Product standardization makes sense for companies that have many locations and utilize multiple suppliers of production equipment. Without setting standards for the components used on new capital equipment, companies incur higher purchasing, manufacturing, maintenance, and training costs.
Sensors and cables, in particular, need to be considered due to the following:
- The large number of manufacturers of both sensors and cables
- Product variations from each manufacturer
For example, inductive proximity sensors all perform the same basic function, but some are more appropriate to certain applications based on their specific features. Cables provide a similar scenario. Let’s look at some of the product features you need to consider.
|Inductive Proximity Sensors||Cables|
· Style – tubular or block style
· Size and length
· Electrical characteristics
· Shielded or unshielded
· Sensing Range
· Housing material
· Sensing Surface
|· Connector size
· Number of pins & conductors
· Wire gage
· Jacket material
· Single or double ended
Without standards each equipment supplier may use their own preferred supplier, many times without considering the impact to the end customer. This can result in redundancy of sensor and cable spare parts inventory and potentially using items that are not best suited for the manufacturing environment. Over time this impacts operating efficiency and results in high inventory carrying costs.
Once the selection and purchasing of sensors and cables is standardized, the cost of inventory will coincide. Overhead costs, such as purchasing, stocking, picking and invoicing, will go down as well. There is less overhead in procuring standard parts and materials that are more readily available, and inventory will be reduced. And, more standardization with the right material selection means lower manufacturing down-time.
In addition, companies can then look at their current inventory of cable and sensor spare parts and reduce that footprint by eliminating redundancy while upgrading the performance of their equipment. Done the right way, standardization simplifies supply chain management, can extend the mean time to failure, and reduce the mean time to repair.