Search ASTM
A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS A04 IRON CASTINGS A05 METALLIC-COATED IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS B05 COPPER AND COPPER ALLOYS B07 LIGHT METALS AND ALLOYS C01 CEMENT C04 VITRIFIED CLAY PIPE C07 LIME AND LIMESTONE C09 CONCRETE AND CONCRETE AGGREGATES C11 GYPSUM AND RELATED BUILDING MATERIALS AND SYSTEMS C12 MORTARS AND GROUTS FOR UNIT MASONRY C13 CONCRETE PIPE C14 GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS C15 MANUFACTURED MASONRY UNITS C16 THERMAL INSULATION C17 FIBER-REINFORCED CEMENT PRODUCTS C18 DIMENSION STONE C21 CERAMIC WHITEWARES AND RELATED PRODUCTS C24 BUILDING SEALS AND SEALANTS C27 PRECAST CONCRETE PRODUCTS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D04 ROAD AND PAVING MATERIALS D07 WOOD D08 ROOFING AND WATERPROOFING D09 ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSULATING MATERIALS D11 RUBBER D14 ADHESIVES D18 SOIL AND ROCK D20 PLASTICS D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E05 FIRE STANDARDS E06 PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS E33 BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENTAL ACOUSTICS E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS E60 SUSTAINABILITY F01 ELECTRONICS F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F16 FASTENERS F17 PLASTIC PIPING SYSTEMS F33 DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES F36 TECHNOLOGY AND UNDERGROUND UTILITIES G03 WEATHERING AND DURABILITY C14 GLASS AND GLASS PRODUCTS C21 CERAMIC WHITEWARES AND RELATED PRODUCTS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D06 PAPER AND PAPER PRODUCTS D09 ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC INSULATING MATERIALS D10 PACKAGING D11 RUBBER D12 SOAPS AND OTHER DETERGENTS D13 TEXTILES D14 ADHESIVES D15 ENGINE COOLANTS AND RELATED FLUIDS D20 PLASTICS D21 POLISHES D31 LEATHER E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E18 SENSORY EVALUATION E20 TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENT E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E41 LABORATORY APPARATUS E53 ASSET MANAGEMENT E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS F02 FLEXIBLE BARRIER PACKAGING F05 BUSINESS IMAGING PRODUCTS F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F09 TIRES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F11 VACUUM CLEANERS F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F14 FENCES F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F16 FASTENERS F24 AMUSEMENT RIDES AND DEVICES F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F27 SNOW SKIING F37 LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT F43 LANGUAGE SERVICES AND PRODUCTS F44 GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS A04 IRON CASTINGS A05 METALLIC-COATED IRON AND STEEL PRODUCTS A06 MAGNETIC PROPERTIES B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS B02 NONFERROUS METALS AND ALLOYS B05 COPPER AND COPPER ALLOYS B07 LIGHT METALS AND ALLOYS B08 METALLIC AND INORGANIC COATINGS B09 METAL POWDERS AND METAL POWDER PRODUCTS B10 REACTIVE AND REFRACTORY METALS AND ALLOYS C03 CHEMICAL-RESISTANT NONMETALLIC MATERIALS C08 REFRACTORIES C28 ADVANCED CERAMICS D01 PAINT AND RELATED COATINGS, MATERIALS, AND APPLICATIONS D20 PLASTICS D30 COMPOSITE MATERIALS E01 ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY FOR METALS, ORES, AND RELATED MATERIALS E04 METALLOGRAPHY E07 NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING E08 FATIGUE AND FRACTURE E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E13 MOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY AND SEPARATION SCIENCE E28 MECHANICAL TESTING E29 PARTICLE AND SPRAY CHARACTERIZATION E37 THERMAL MEASUREMENTS E42 SURFACE ANALYSIS F01 ELECTRONICS F34 ROLLING ELEMENT BEARINGS F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS F42 ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES G01 CORROSION OF METALS G03 WEATHERING AND DURABILITY D21 POLISHES D26 HALOGENATED ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHING AGENTS D33 PROTECTIVE COATING AND LINING WORK FOR POWER GENERATION FACILITIES E05 FIRE STANDARDS E27 HAZARD POTENTIAL OF CHEMICALS E30 FORENSIC SCIENCES E34 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E52 FORENSIC PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY E54 HOMELAND SECURITY APPLICATIONS E58 FORENSIC ENGINEERING F06 RESILIENT FLOOR COVERINGS F08 SPORTS EQUIPMENT, PLAYING SURFACES, AND FACILITIES F10 LIVESTOCK, MEAT, AND POULTRY EVALUATION SYSTEMS F12 SECURITY SYSTEMS AND EQUIPMENT F13 PEDESTRIAN/WALKWAY SAFETY AND FOOTWEAR F15 CONSUMER PRODUCTS F18 ELECTRICAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT FOR WORKERS F23 PERSONAL PROTECTIVE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT F26 FOOD SERVICE EQUIPMENT F32 SEARCH AND RESCUE F33 DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES G04 COMPATIBILITY AND SENSITIVITY OF MATERIALS IN OXYGEN ENRICHED ATMOSPHERES D08 ROOFING AND WATERPROOFING D18 SOIL AND ROCK D19 WATER D20 PLASTICS D22 AIR QUALITY D34 WASTE MANAGEMENT D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E06 PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS E44 SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND OTHER ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES E47 E48 BIOENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS FROM BIOMASS E50 ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT, RISK MANAGEMENT AND CORRECTIVE ACTION E60 SUSTAINABILITY F20 HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES AND OIL SPILL RESPONSE F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS G02 WEAR AND EROSION B01 ELECTRICAL CONDUCTORS C26 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE D02 PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, LIQUID FUELS, AND LUBRICANTS D03 GASEOUS FUELS D05 COAL AND COKE D19 WATER D27 ELECTRICAL INSULATING LIQUIDS AND GASES D33 PROTECTIVE COATING AND LINING WORK FOR POWER GENERATION FACILITIES E10 NUCLEAR TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATIONS E44 SOLAR, GEOTHERMAL AND OTHER ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES E48 BIOENERGY AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMICALS FROM BIOMASS A01 STEEL, STAINLESS STEEL AND RELATED ALLOYS C01 CEMENT C09 CONCRETE AND CONCRETE AGGREGATES D02 PETROLEUM PRODUCTS, LIQUID FUELS, AND LUBRICANTS D03 GASEOUS FUELS D04 ROAD AND PAVING MATERIALS D15 ENGINE COOLANTS AND RELATED FLUIDS D18 SOIL AND ROCK D24 CARBON BLACK D35 GEOSYNTHETICS E12 COLOR AND APPEARANCE E17 VEHICLE - PAVEMENT SYSTEMS E21 SPACE SIMULATION AND APPLICATIONS OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E57 3D IMAGING SYSTEMS F03 GASKETS F07 AEROSPACE AND AIRCRAFT F09 TIRES F16 FASTENERS F25 SHIPS AND MARINE TECHNOLOGY F37 LIGHT SPORT AIRCRAFT F38 UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS F39 AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS F41 UNMANNED MARITIME VEHICLE SYSTEMS (UMVS) F44 GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT F45 DRIVERLESS AUTOMATIC GUIDED INDUSTRIAL VEHICLES D10 PACKAGING D11 RUBBER E31 HEALTHCARE INFORMATICS E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS E54 HOMELAND SECURITY APPLICATIONS E55 MANUFACTURE OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS E56 NANOTECHNOLOGY F02 FLEXIBLE BARRIER PACKAGING F04 MEDICAL AND SURGICAL MATERIALS AND DEVICES F29 ANESTHETIC AND RESPIRATORY EQUIPMENT F30 EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES G04 COMPATIBILITY AND SENSITIVITY OF MATERIALS IN OXYGEN ENRICHED ATMOSPHERES C07 LIME AND LIMESTONE D14 ADHESIVES D16 AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS AND RELATED CHEMICALS D20 PLASTICS D26 HALOGENATED ORGANIC SOLVENTS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHING AGENTS D28 ACTIVATED CARBON D32 CATALYSTS E13 MOLECULAR SPECTROSCOPY AND SEPARATION SCIENCE E15 INDUSTRIAL AND SPECIALTY CHEMICALS E27 HAZARD POTENTIAL OF CHEMICALS E35 PESTICIDES, ANTIMICROBIALS, AND ALTERNATIVE CONTROL AGENTS F40 DECLARABLE SUBSTANCES IN MATERIALS E11 QUALITY AND STATISTICS E36 ACCREDITATION & CERTIFICATION E43 SI PRACTICE E55 MANUFACTURE OF PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS E56 NANOTECHNOLOGY F42 ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGIES
Bookmark and Share

PerSpective

PerSpective

Do Businesses Really Need Standards?

Standards as Strategic Business Tools

At the August annual conference of SES — The Society for Standards Professionals, James Pauley, senior vice president of external affairs and government relations at Schneider Electric, challenged the assembled to engage senior level executives in placing high value on standardization and talked about how to go about it.

Do businesses really need standards and conformity assessment?

Most CEOs would probably tell you that they don’t, but that’s because they don’t really understand what standards are or how they can impact the bottom line.

People who work in standardization have the power to solve this problem. We need to engage C-suite executives and change their perception. Without globally relevant standards and effective conformity assessment, businesses would lose market access and be faced with increased and disparate regulatory environments. We need to make sure that CEOs hear this message loud and clear.

After all, what CEOs don’t know will hurt them.

In my view, CEOs really need two things. The first is a basic understanding of standards and conformance: the “Standards 101,” if you will. The second is a strategic understanding of standardization as a business tool.

CEOs need to understand that standardization and conformity activities are powerful business tools at their disposal. These tools can help businesses out-innovate competitors in the global market and tap into new and expanding technologies, and help government and industry to fuel overall business performance and growth.

From design and manufacturing to distribution and marketing, all products and services are affected at some point by standardization. But standards and conformance also impact the strength of the American workforce, inform the direction of innovation and underpin global commerce.

Innovation is based on technology and product development, but it is also about reinventing business processes and building new markets that meet untapped customer needs. More than half of America’s economic growth comes from industries that barely existed 20 years ago. U.S. companies and industries that actively leverage standards and compliance programs foster innovation in the marketplace and, in turn, shorten the cycle between initial concept and global market access. We see this every day with the products we have come to depend on — our smartphones, our tablets, our GPS systems.

But there is another, more strategic aspect of this discussion, and that is the importance of industry participation in the actual development of globally relevant standards. Nearly every day, a standards group or technical committee is meeting somewhere; they are making decisions that affect the salability of products and services.

This is where the rubber meets the road, and it is the most critical part of our message to CEOs. By participating in standards development, companies can influence technical content and align their products and services with changing market demand. They can gain insiders’ knowledge and early access to information on emerging issues, and can reduce redundancy, minimize errors and shorten time to market. Businesses not only decrease the inherent economic risk of R&D activities by participating in standardization, they can also lower their costs by relying on previously standardized technologies.

It is an undisputed fact that standards and conformance are critical to the success of products, personnel and services in the marketplace. They play a critical role in the economy, impacting more than 80 percent of global commodity trade. The jury’s still out on what that will mean for 2013, but in 2012, that 80 percent came to more than $14 trillion.

With numbers like these, it’s easy to see why companies that participate actively in standardization gain a competitive edge.

It is clear that the effective utilization of globally relevant standards and conformance promotes technological interoperability and the competitiveness of all businesses. And greater cooperation and information-sharing will improve the bottom line — a top priority in today’s economic landscape. When individual businesses do well, there is a corresponding improvement in our national economies.

Put simply, standards boost business.

Standards Boost Business

That is why the American National Standards Institute and a group of more than 30 partnering organizations have joined forces for Standards Boost Business, a campaign to help American companies leverage standards and conformance to win a trade advantage in the global market. This is not solely an ANSI program: the institute is coordinating the effort, but it’s a partnership across the standardization community. And to gain its greatest advantage you have to get informed, and — better yet — you have to be involved.

SBB aims to inform and educate C-suite executives and senior public policy officials about the ways that standards and conformity assessment activities boost business performance and innovation, lower costs and help U.S. industry be more competitive in the global marketplace. SBB is also a call to action for corporate America to devote more resources — time, money and manpower — to standardization activities.

SBB case studies and testimonials provide real-world examples of how U.S. businesses are leveraging standards to their advantage.

  • The U.S. Department of Defense is projecting $789 million in cost avoidance on just one of their programs. How did they do it? They focused on parts standardization and process standardization.
  • The electrical fire safety industry collaborated on a critical standard for arc fault circuit interrupters, which is helping to reduce the more than 40,000 home electrical fires each year — fires that result in over 350 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries.
  • Deere & Co. manufactures agriculture and construction equipment that is exported and used around the world. By participating in standards development for component pieces like fittings and fasteners, Deere knows that these components will meet their needs “off the shelf.” And the more standardized components they can use, the less they, and their customers, have to pay.

By participating in standards development activities — and by implementing standards and conformance tools — each of these organizations has been able to streamline processes, trim costs, earn and maintain market access, and boost their bottom line.

We have also posted some great executive videos on the SBB site by several industry CEOs and trade association heads citing their own success stories. One of the latest features Russ Chaney, who is the CEO of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. Chaney says:

"If a company is unsure about participating in standards development, I would remind them that in the absence of their participation, their competitors will decide their destiny. I don’t think anybody — whether in the manufacturing sector, or in the code implementation sector, or in the training sector — would want someone else, particularly a competitor, determining their future."

For companies that develop, manufacture and distribute their products and services all over the world, reliance on globally relevant standards and conformance programs is imperative. Otherwise, you have products, personnel, systems and services that cannot cross borders. As the technical underpinning of many products and services, standards play a critical role in removing barriers to trade, enforcing free trade agreements and expanding foreign markets for U.S. goods and services. This results in increased export opportunities for U.S. companies abroad, which in turn helps create more jobs here at home.

American manufacturers, and particularly small to medium enterprises, should be aware of what they are missing out on in the export market when they do not take advantage of the economic and strategic value of standardization. Ninety-seven percent of companies that export are small- and mid-sized businesses, and yet the majority export to only one or two countries, leaving vast opportunities uncovered. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside the United States, none of us can afford to think within our own borders. We need to grow our exports to grow our economy. Standards and related compliance measures make cross-border interoperability possible, ensuring U.S.-manufactured components and products have market access in all the countries we want to sell in.

Reap the Rewards of Standards and Conformity

In today’s global marketplace, U.S. companies, industry and government need every advantage they can get. Based on some of the lessons we’ve learned at Schneider Electric, here are four important steps executives can take to make sure they reap the rewards that standards and conformance can provide.

  • Participate in standards development activities, both domestic and international. Active participation enables a company to exert influence on technical content and align its products and services with changing market demand. It provides insider knowledge and early access to information on emerging issues, and helps reduce redundancy, minimize errors and shorten time to market.
  • Rely on standards to design your products and services, and turn to recognized conformity assessment systems to test, inspect, certify and accredit them. Demonstrating compliance to standards helps a company’s products, services and personnel to cross borders. Standards also make cross-border interoperability possible, ensuring that products manufactured in one country can be sold and used in another.
  • Treat standardization as a strategic business tool. Standards and conformance are a marathon, not a sprint. As critical business tools, standards and conformance should be managed right alongside an organization’s quality, safety and environmental policies. They are just as important to the long-term health of a business.
  • Make a resource commitment — of time, money and manpower — to the U.S. standardization system. In difficult economic times, many companies feel the need to downsize or even eliminate their participation in standards development. But the resources needed to restart the process later on can be much more expensive and difficult than maintaining a well-functioning system for the long run.

Executives need to foster a company culture that values standardization. That means that they need to have clear internal processes related to standards and conformance, and they need to have employees dedicated to those specific tasks. Once those employees are in place, companies need to continuously support them and not slash travel budgets that would reduce company participation in standards development work, which can occur all over the world. Finally, and especially for smaller companies, they need to make sure that mentorships are in place so that the company isn’t adrift when a standards professional retires.

I started by asking you if businesses really need standards and conformity assessment. The question should really be: How can they survive without them?

Executives have two choices: Position their organization to take a seat at the table and be part of the standardization process, or let their competitors, both foreign and domestic — or the government — dictate the way they will be doing business.

Standards and conformance are essential to a sound national economy and global commerce. And at a time when the public and private sectors are looking to foster economic growth and create good jobs for the future, it is more important than ever that U.S. companies understand and harness the power of standardization.

Our nation has a strong, flexible and vibrant standards system that is devoted to continuously improving to meet the demands of industry, government and consumers. Ours is a solid foundation based on a long-standing public-private partnership, and it is ready today to help tackle the standardization needs of tomorrow. Together we can ensure America’s strength in the innovation age while driving business growth and advancing U.S. competitiveness on the global stage.

Working together, we can harness the power that standards and conformity assessment wield for U.S. businesses in the global market.

James Pauley is senior vice president of external affairs and government relations at Schneider Electric, Lexington, Ky., where he is responsible for that company’s state and federal legislative and regulatory policy. In addition to his responsibilities with Schneider, Pauley, currently is chairman of the board of the American National Standards Institute, has served in various capacities with industry groups and has held numerous leadership positions in organizations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the National Fire Protection Association.

This article appears in the issue of Standardization News.