We are excited to continue this series with the fourth key to a successful IWMS integration: standards. If you haven’t read the previous articles, we recommend you take a quick look at them: 1) Internal Champion, 2) IT Collaboration, and 3) Ownership.
What are standards?
Standardsin this context are defined as conventions for assets, people, and places. Standards create a consistent and predictable system for labeling the assets being tracked. They should be easy to understand so everyone can use them. Standards can be compared to the signage on a road; everyone knows what a stop sign looks like, what it means, and what they are supposed to do when they encounter one. In this way, standards are similar to signage in the sense that they create a common understanding for everyone who sees them.
Standards work for a variety of reasons.
Firstly, standards make reporting much easier and accurate. They allow individuals who mine the system to look at and make sense of data very quickly. As discussed above, they create a common understanding. Secondly, and perhaps the most important reason for standards, is that they can be processed by other programs and systems. Data will be pulled out of the IWMS system into an analysis tool to be sorted and adjusted. Standards make it possible to transfer data back with these changes. When data from the IWMS is synchronized to other systems like HR, CRE, Finance, etc., the other system can easily place the information in the correct locations.
It is our recommendation that a company spend several hours working through standards in each of the domains within their IWMS. The naming conventions must be intelligent in such a way that individuals can look at a piece of data and tell exactly what it means. When standards are achieved, their IWMS will be implemented much more smoothly.Another important aspect of creating standards is ownership, discussed in part three of this series. One person within the company must own the standards that are created; the standards must be traceable back to that person so that if there are any inconsistencies, that person can make corrections as needed. If there are repeated inconsistencies within the standard, this person can help correct the root of the problem.
Examples of Standards
1) Standards for a building may include the country, city, and street so it can be easily identified in a large group. For a building named US-SF-MARKET, one can easily tell the building is located in the United States on Market Street in San Francisco, CA
2) Standards for employees could include labels like full time, part time, intern, contract, and vendor, among many others.
When all is said and done, the standards your company uses will create efficiency when it comes to reporting and data transfer and editing. We at RSC recommend that every company create these standards as soon as possible so this efficiency is in place from the beginning and there is no confusion about what belongs where.