Standards are norms that create common ways of working. They facilitate, among other things, the compatibility of equipment, improve fair competition and at the same time make everyday life easier for industry and consumers. The standardisation process has laid the foundations for major improvements in cooperation, productivity and innovation.
Standards have been created for different purposes for a long time. The first standards were ways to measure time and space. With industrialisation, standards became more important for technical solutions. In the Industrial Revolution, standardisation played a key role. Firstly, interchangeable parts reduced costs. Secondly, new goods were easier to assemble and cheaper to replace. It also saved workers time and effort. One example is the standardisation of track gauges. Before track gauge standardisation, freight moving between regions had to be unloaded and transferred to new trains because the distance between the rails no longer corresponded to the wheels of the train.
Organisations such as ISO (International Standardisation Organisation) are at the heart of standardisation.
Various organisations such as ISO (international standardisation organisation) are at the heart of standards. ISO is an international standards organisation whose members are national standards organisations, one from each country. The standards defined by ISO have been widely adopted.
The main objective of standards is to enable compatibility between different products and components. This is intended to enhance competition and prevent manufacturers from creating their own closed practices. Standards are typically voluntary, but in many sectors and solutions they are necessary. A good example of necessity is the electrical industry, where equipment has both safety standards required by the legislator and technical standards.
Another important area is the various quality standards such as ISO9001 and best practices in different sectors such as PFMEA (Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis) in the manufacturing industry and APQP (Advanced product quality planning), particularly in the automotive sector. A good example of a practice that is also a quality requirement in legislation and subject to regulatory control is HACCP, i.e. hazard analysis and critical control points in the food and drink industry.
There has been an increase in the demand for responsibility – Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) – with various environmental requirements such as ISO14001 becoming more important. ISO14001 is the world’s best known environmental management system. In the ESG area, there are several similar sets of requirements – for example, the Global Compact, the Sustainable Development Goals and the GRI – Global Reporting Initiative, which allows an organisation to improve its environmental management and promote sustainable development in a targeted way.
In ESG, governance means good management, for which there are various standards. The use of these standards can be expected to increase with the introduction of sustainability requirements.
There are a number of requirements associated with these standards, but they play an important role.
There are a number of requirements. Standards require certifications and management practices that take up significant resources of companies. When there are many standards, they become a significant burden.
Standards play an important role, for example by increasing the quality, safety and compatibility of products and services. Research shows that standards help companies to do business. Moreover, in some industrial sectors, compliance with standards is a legal requirement. They have been shown to boost the business performance of companies of all sizes and increase customer confidence. Standards are used by organisations large and small in Finland and around the world.
Commonly accepted concepts and definitions help to streamline operations, speed up work and reduce errors. Standards help to achieve better results in practice. They also make products and services fit for the purpose for which they are intended. They also help to ensure that products made according to standards are accepted on international markets, i.e. they remove barriers to trade. When there are many markets, managing requirements manually becomes too cumbersome and error-prone.
NordCheck aims to support businesses with its full-service compliance management solutions. With our compliance services, we can help your organisation to manage the stardards.