Standards are a powerful tool for companies of all sizes, supporting innovation and increasing productivity. Effective standardization promotes forceful competition and enhances profitability, enabling a business to take a leading role in shaping the industry itself.
As a business owner, you know how important quality standards are to staying competitive in your industry. Before implementing a quality manual into your business, it's a good idea to know the various standards that are out there. ISO has created over 17,000 International Standards on a variety of subjects, and 1,100 new ISO standards are published every year. Environmental quality standards, quality assurance standards, health protection quality standards, electronic quality standards, are just a few of the many other standards against which businesses and industries are measured.
Standards allow a company to:
- attract and assure customers
- demonstrate market leadership
- create competitive advantage
- develop and maintain best practice.
Standards are powerful marketing tools
The ability to demonstrate compliance with widely recognised and respected standards is an effective means of differentiation in a competitive marketplace. In addition, manufacturing products or supplying services to appropriate standards maximises their compatibility with those manufactured or offered by others, thereby increasing potential sales and widespread acceptance.
As consumers become increasingly informed about their choices, conformity to recognised standards becomes pivotal. An example is the international standard for environmental management (ISO 14001), increasingly used by businesses to demonstrate environmental responsibility.
Standards are a respected badge of quality
Customers look for the independent verification that technical standards provide. Certification marks earned by businesses whose products and practices consistently stand up to rigorous examination are instantly recognizable and act as respected badges of quality, safety and performance.
Standards within business
In modern business, effective communication along the supply chain and with legislative bodies, clients and customers is imperative. Standardization can deliver measurable benefits when applied within the infrastructure of a company itself. Business costs and risks can be minimised, internal processes streamlined and communication improved. The application of standards within the infrastructure of an organization serves to streamline internal and external operations and strengthen the consistency of processes.
Benefits can be gained through:
- Eliminating wasteful investments of time and resources
- Increased internal productivity and quality of communication
- Reduced duplication of effort and improved risk management.
Standardization promotes profitability and sustainable growth
Developed in collaboration with interests from government and society, standards provide powerful support for the identification of best practice. Processes recognised as promoting efficiency and quality demonstrate leadership and make a clear statement to suppliers, partners and customers.
When applied effectively, standardization can be a true catalyst for business growth and strategic development. By providing best-practice guidance, standards help businesses to assess their processes, allowing them to take steps to increase efficiency and become more profitable.