Variance in Manufacturing: What It Is, What to Do

Rachel Harmon
Samantha Mikos

When you try on two shirts that are the same size but fit differently, this confusion can be explained by variance. In manufacturing, products are deemed satisfactory if they meet certain criteria within a certain range. No production run is perfect, yet when we see differences in our products, we may become frustrated.

At Cristaux International, we hold our custom awards, gifts, and trophies to a high standard. However, our work is not exempt from inconsistencies. We value excellence and high quality but acknowledge natural differences. Difference is destined to happen, so the best you can do is learn what it is, why it happens, and what to do about it.

What Is Variance?

Variance is the degree of difference manufacturers allow for satisfactory products. It may also be described as tolerance or deviation. Essentially, there is a range of acceptability. When checked for quality, products are measured in regards to that range and, thus, deemed fit or unfit for selling.

Recognition Program Drop Shipping

Why Variance Happens

Identical things are impossible to make because variance is unavoidable. In the world of producing awards and gifts, there are various factors to explain differences in products.

Sources for Materials

If your vendor sources the same material from different locations, then the material will not be the same through and through. For example, Cristaux’s production team specializes in crystal awards. Our procurement team purchases crystal from various vendors around the world. The variety of locations causes differences in the products, such as slight color variations or minor differences in weight.

In 2020 and 2021, demand for materials has skyrocketed as ports have slowed down processing or closed. Organizations that once sourced from one vendor are reaching out to others to build a satisfactory inventory and vendor network. With a greater mix of vendors, there is a greater chance for visible differences in materials.

Different metal material availability. Metal square pipes of all sizes

PMS Color Matching

Imagine that you buy two cans of the same paint from the hardware store, yet the paints dry differently. When considering all the possible moments to create difference – from how the paint is mixed to the surface being painted – variance makes sense. A formula can only do so much.

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is used in manufacturing to identify and recreate specific colors, but it has small deviations. Technology is not perfect. An exact equation does not warrant perfection. Malfunctions are still possible.

Natural Material Deviation

Sometimes, deviations are natural. This is true for materials like stone, marble, and wood. The grains and markings of wood and marble are naturally occurring. Additionally, if your recognition vision calls for any of these materials, be open to the uniqueness of each piece. Together, they’ll create a special cohesion and effect.

No one piece is the same, and for some, this is the beauty of these materials. However, we can mitigate the variance in these pieces by utilizing different finishes like staining, sanding, and glazing.

Laser Engraving Wooden Awards

What to Do About Variance

To achieve excellent uniformity throughout your recognition pieces, you can use various tips and tricks to lessen variance in your completed order.

Order in Bulk

For routine recognition programs, ordering in bulk will diminish differences in products because most likely, all the pieces will be made in the same batch using the same material. However, what do you do with all the extras you order? Connect with a vendor who offers inventory management and storage space for your unused units.

Anticipate Differences

Once you approve of the design, take a moment to remind yourself that some difference is unavoidable. If you expect an almost perfect product, then you won’t be disappointed. Focus on the similarities and the important personal details.

Celebrate Uniqueness

The details of variety make each award or gift special. Like a masterpiece, their beauty cannot be replicated. It is a profound feeling to be gifted something one-of-a-kind, that no one else has.

Work with a Specialist

Connect with an expert who can help minimize the possibility of variance. Certain artisans dedicate their work to specific materials or techniques. Collaborate with the one who is best equipped to realize your vision.

Internal Sales awards Peterbilt crystal and metal

Aim for Excellence, Not Perfection

It may seem counterintuitive to accept anything less than a perfect product. However, when it comes to manufacturing, variance is the spice of life! If you’d like to fine-tune your order to achieve superb consistency, then collaborate with a vendor like Cristaux who values a strong commitment to mastery and quality.

Contact Cristaux to discuss the possibilities for bulk orders and stock pieces.