Standard: a benchmark or a norm for measuring performance. Quantity and cost standards are set for each major input such as raw material and labour time. If actual costs/quantity differs significantly from standards, managers will investigate to find cause of problem and eliminate it = management by exception. Variance analysis cycle: the basic approach to identifying and solving problems. Manufacturing, service, food, and not for profit organizations all make use of standards. Standard cost card: a detailed listing of the standard amounts of materials, labour, and overhead that should go into a unit of product, multiplied by the standard price or rate that has been set for each cost element. Setting price & quantity standards ideally combines the expertise of everyone who has responsibility for purchasing & using inputs. Standards should be designed to encourage efficient future operations not a repetition of past. Ideal standards: those that can be attained only under the best circumstances.