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Benefits Of International Standards (By ISO)

Increasing performance and ensuring quality

ISO standards contain guidelines and instructions which, when implemented correctly, helporganizations deliver the consistently high performance and quality expected by customers.International Standards equip these organizations with the knowledge and tools they need to bringdown cost while improving the quality of their processes, services and products. The consistencyand reliability in outputs leads to increased customer confidence and successful collaboration withother organizations.

Companies across the globe use a combination of ISO standards to fine-tune their activities andoutputs. One such example is the PTT Chemical Public Company, Thailand, that reported an annualcontribution of USD 9.4 million, attributed to the implementation of standards. Moreover, case studiesby ISO and its members consistently report that the contribution of standards to company gross profitranges from 0.15 % to 5 % of the annual sales revenue.

Enabling and promoting trade

The Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Agreement developed by the World Trade Organization(WTO) requires all WTO members to use relevant International Standards, such as the onesdeveloped by ISO. The harmonization of standards across countries promotes trade, enablingcompanies to sell their products and services without having to adapt to multiple markets. By usingInternational Standards, businesses are better equipped to secure a foothold in internationalmarkets, lower their transaction costs and facilitate the establishment and operation of a globalsupply chain.

Estimates by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and theUS Department of Commerce both show that standards and related conformity assessment have animpact on 80 % of the world’s trade in commodities.

Levelling the playing field

ISO standards make it possible for companies around the world to collaborate and compete indifferent areas of work (products and services) and in different markets. Using InternationalStandards helps businesses of all sizes communicate more effectively, both with each other and withtheir suppliers, consumers and regulators. International Standards also serve as a springboard tobreak into new markets and help acquire and disseminate modern technologies and best practices.Moreover, by setting the framework for fair competition, small and medium-sized organizations(SMEs) are better equipped to develop products and services that meet market expectations,overcome artificial trade barriers and compete with companies all over the world.

Health and safety

Whether it concerns the well-being of workers, consumers or the man on the street, health and safetyare important to us. ISO boasts a number of standards whose implementation can increase safetyand promote health in the workplace; these include standards for improving the general workenvironment, ensuring the performance of protective clothing or designing safe and productive worksystems and equipment.

With regard to consumer safety, ISO standards protect the public from unreasonable risks fromconsumer goods, offering practical solutions to stakeholders up and down the supply chain, fromdesigner to retailer. The guidelines enshrined in standards ensure products are sufficiently robust,maintain a certain level of quality and undergo security protocols to prevent mishaps. By applyingISO standards correctly, businesses fulfil their responsibilities to their employees and customers, aswell as meeting their legal obligations.

Helping the environment

ISO has developed over 570 environmental standards that help open world markets to clean energyand energy-efficient technologies, and support climate change adaptation and mitigation schemes.Furthermore, governments and regulatory bodies are increasingly looking to ISO standardsto provide a framework that will ensure alignment and consistency on a national and internationallevel.

The ISO portfolio also has many standards with an impact on climate change that address areassuch as nuclear energy, solar energy, hydrogen technologies, intelligent transport systems, buildingenvironment design, among others. ISO has partnered with key international stakeholders such asthe United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the World Bank indeveloping strategic roadmaps for a system of standards on climate change mitigation andadaptation.Supporting innovation

International Standards bring innovation to the marketplace, facilitating the development of newmarkets and increasing consumer confidence. These standards serve as a bedrock for innovation,acting as a key tool for the creation – and use – of innovative products and services. An underlyingfactor of innovation is industry’s adoption of standards. ISO is acutely aware of this, hence theISO standardization process has been designed to deliver appropriate standards in a simpler, fasterand more efficient way.

Standards can also be seen as a tool for exploiting innovative ideas as they provide a basis for thedissemination of information to the critical mass while, at the same time, boosting consumerconfidence. According to the World Bank, one of the most important economic benefits of standardsis that they increase productive and innovative efficiency.

Interoperability

One of the key roles of ISO standards is promoting the interoperability of products and services –from the most basic industrial parts, such as screws, fasteners and rolling bearings, to complexprocesses like the standard for the exchange of product model data (STEP) used in industrialautomation. By disseminating harmonized specifications and knowledge, International Standardspromote the compatibility of spare parts, accessories and components among product models, linesand brands. In addition, standards enable the interoperability of knowledge, be it through library andarchiving standards, country or language codes or accessible file formats like JPEG, which facilitatesthe access to information and resources by people all over the world.

Source: www.iso.org (ISO - International Organization for Standardization)