|New Name for ASTM
At the June committee week, I learned that the society is planning
to change its name to ASTM International.
I am afraid that such a name change is necessary. Standards are
obviously becoming more international, no matter what ASTM does.
ASTM is therefore at risk of becoming a subsidiary body whose
sole purpose is to feed standards to ISO or some other international
group for final worldwide approval. I believe that ASTM has a
better standards development process which can develop superior
standards faster with the interests of the actual standards users
represented better than any competing process can do. To bring
this process to the world, we have to change our orientation and
let the American Society for Testing and Materials become a name
known only to historians.
But I do not like the idea of losing all reference to a meaningful
name in another blur of initials. SAE is no longer the Society
of Automotive Engineers, and ASM is no longer the American Society
for Metals, but we dont have to go that way. We can pick a name
that introduces us and that explains our purpose to business executives,
politicians, news reporters, and other important people who dont
always know us, and we can do it without changing our familiar
I have no complaint about ASTM International as a short form of
our organizations name. But lets agree that the initials mean
Association for Standards and Test Methods.
C. Nelson Schlatter
F23 on Protective Clothing
Thank you for your comments about the impending change to ASTMs
name. As you suggest in your final paragraph, alternative names
using the initials ASTM have been seriously considered. While
some suggestions such as yours nearly met our goal of better defining
the organization, a tagline approach was preferred, so that
efforts to define ASTMs strengths would not be constrained by
having to choose words that form the acronym ASTM. Hence, future
ASTM publications, letterhead, promotional material, and so forth
will bear a new logo for ASTM International, along with a tagline
that defines what we do best. The logo and tagline development
are in process as I write, and will be unveiled very soon. (Editor)
What It Takes to Be Global
I read with a lot of interest Joan Sterlings article, Going
Global (SN, June 2001). She clearly reviewed the reasons for
going global in term of standards: new technologies allowing
companies to market products around the world but whose export
could be limited by local standards, burdens that multiple standards
create in term of logistics and costs, and so on. Based on this,
she advocates for the use of global standards.
As she rightly points out, new technologies such as telecommunications
are leading the way for international standardization, due to
the lack of deep-rooted differences in regional standards.
Although it is more difficult for mature businesses, for example
apparel, all the advantages of global standards apply to any business.
Many brands in apparel are global, and the ones that are not yet,
are moving quickly in this direction. At the other end, the supply
chain is getting global, with a worldwide sourcing base, and certainly
apparel is a good example for this as well.
Still we are facing too many differences between standards (ASTM/ISO).
Ultimately, standards are developed to ensure quality to consumers.
As such, a difference in terms of standards is justified only
if this is related to a difference in consumer habits (e.g., in
textiles: the washing machine). All other differences create complexity
in the global supply chain without providing the advantage to
better protect the consumers.
Joan Sterling writes: For international standardization to be
successful, standards developing organizations, regulatory bodies,
and manufacturers around the world need to work together.
I would be highly interested to exchange thoughts from SDOs, regulatory
bodies and manufacturers about this approach.
Andre Leroy, Quality Manager
Levi Strauss Europe, Middle East
Copyright 2001, ASTM