We asked you through our social media channels Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter to tell us what you thought were the benefits of standards, and how they helped you in your daily life.
We received contributions from around the world. Here is a selection of the best.
Helping me care for my kids
Standardizing units of measure is crucial to ruling out the misinterpretation of laboratory test results.
Effective and efficient implementation of International Standards can make the difference between life and death in the medical field. As a mother of three young children, two of whom require specialized medical attention, International Standards are, and will continue to be, of utmost importance to me.
Standards facilitate trade by setting acceptance criteria, specifying service level and harmonizing practices throughout the world. But for me, they do so much more.
Being a mother to a daughter with heart problems, it is important to me that medical laboratories produce reliable and traceable measurements, all the more so because, in most cases, these are used by specialists from outside my home country to treat my daughter. Standardizing units of measure is crucial to ruling out the misinterpretation of laboratory test results. The calibration of all theatre equipment makes a difference in monitoring the progress of the numerous heart surgeries my daughter must undergo to lead a normal life.
In Autism, the diet recommended by the nutritionist makes a difference to my son’s therapy. It is important that all nutritional content is accurately reported and all food items are adequately labelled so that I can make informed choices. As an autistic child, my son cannot speak and communicate any discomfort so his medical diagnosis depends on laboratory test results.
Furthermore, as a mother, it is important to me that the toys my children have to play with are safe. That the paint used in all their furniture, belongings and the house in general does not contain any harmful substances. As a parent, my primary duty is to protect them and International Standards can do that for me because they provide a basis for third-party attestation, i.e. certification which helps making informed decisions easier.
For all these reasons, I hope for a nation that embraces International Standards, and for an industry that cares for consumers and believes that their safety is important.
Making my business easier
International Standards provide an even playing field where everybody plays by the same rules.
I have been working with quality management systems (QMSs) mostly based on ISO 9001 and ISO/TS 16949 (automotive sector) for over 20 years !
I have spent the majority of my career in manufacturing, but I recently moved over to a non-profit service organization which I am passionate about. We are using ISO 9001 to build our QMS so that we may deliver a higher-quality product to our community. We could not have done it without the use of ISO standards, and for that we are thankful !
So how do I see the benefits ? The need for International Standards these days is about as important as the need for global commerce. Can you imagine a world where cost alone drove our objectives ? What impact do you think it would have on our global economy if a consumer only ever made a single purchase ?
Consumers run our businesses, so if we were to succumb to a system where our decisions were based on cost alone, without taking into consideration the quality of the product or service, we would be flipping companies the way we were flipping houses in the early 2000s. International Standards provide an even playing field where everybody plays by the same rules. Collectively, we improve our business practices and management techniques so that we can use our resources more efficiently and keep our customers satisfied for the long-lasting success of our companies. As we evolve towards a global society, so do the antiquated systems of the past. International Standards teach us best practices based on millions of inputs around the globe.
International Standards help me on a daily basis by reducing the amount of research I would normally do before making a major purchase. It also gives me a sense of assurance that I am selecting a company that has taken the extra steps to become the best it can. I am a 20-plus-year veteran of the Quality field and have to admit I have very high standards when it comes to spending money on products or services that do not comply with these world-renowned standards.
In fact, I find it very suspicious when a company that claims to deliver top quality at the best price is not using International Standards. How can that be when years of development, millions of contributors, and tons of research have gone into creating these International Standards? Are they trying to tell me that they alone have found and are using other “ superior ” standards ? That’s highly unlikely and isn’t therefore worthy of my trust as a consumer.
But there is always room for improvement. In my view, ISO could bring added value by strengthening the relationship between ISO 9001 and ISO 31000 on risk management. This would allow those that are new to ISO 9001, and are still building their quality management system, to incorporate risk as part of their foundation. Because, if you think about it, poor quality is a risk in itself !
Helping me aim for success
International Standards have helped me to aspire to, and achieve, greatness.
I have been involved with the financial services industry for nine years, and today I work as a quality assurance manager for an innovative loans-based registered credit provider in Cape Town. I have literally grown through the ranks of the call centre industry and have a strong background in collections and debt recovery.
I believe that International Standards not only allow individuals in emerging markets like Africa to benchmark their expertise and achievements against proven measures, they also allow established first-world countries the opportunity to constantly challenge the status quo and exceed their levels of success.
There are many brilliant minds behind the more than 19 500 ISO standards which cover a staggering variety of subjects. The experts that developed them communicated and cooperated to transcend even continental divides.
With so many things that make us different, International Standards are the one unifying force that focuses our attention, stretches our imagination and closes the gap… allowing us to work together toward achieving one goal.
International Standards have helped me to aspire to, and achieve, greatness within the contact centre outsourcing sector and channel my energy and expertise into one day achieving certification to an ISO standard for my department – which for me is the only certification that counts !
International Standards allow young, confident and ambitious individuals like myself to believe that, by acquiring skills and knowledge in international trends, engaging with key stakeholders and actively getting involved in online forums, accessing first-world markets can one day be an option and not just a dream.
We need International Standards to link experts in various fields, to share ideas and encourage debate. We need them to harmonize multiple standards in use across the globe in order to improve our efficiency in line with best practice.
International standardization should be a prerequisite in all industries. It encourages the spirit of unity whilst allowing for constant growth and crosscontinental engagement. If we could all adhere to a set of rules in our respective industries worldwide, we could guarantee for the future a collaborative leap International Standards towards excellence.
Keeping me safe
With standards, products are made more efficiently, with fewer risks and defects.
Imagine that your company designs an innovative new medical device which has the potential to save the lives of millions. You are excited to introduce your new product to the world, but, before you can begin distributing to overseas buyers, you must comply with all the standards and regulations. You ask yourself : is this really necessary ? Why do I need more paperwork ?
I have some nine years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry (from drips, needles and infusion pumps to dental imaging devices). I am specifically interested in quality and regulation, and I am currently a regulatory affairs specialist with a medical device manufacturer of oral fluid diagnostic and collection devices.
Further investigation changes your perspective on the new requirements and “ paperwork ”. Many standards such as ISO 14971 on risk analysis for medical devices and ISO 13485 on quality management for medical devices contain key elements for producing a safe and effective product. These standards will make sure that a doctor can use your product with confidence, and that no undue harm will befall the patient. The intended purpose of saving a person’s life will be achieved with no negative repercussions. This is where you realize that International Standards are not only necessary, they are also a blessing in disguise, which will protect the public and your company.
Every day we unknowingly utilize objects that must comply with International Standards. It is these standards that prevent useful equipment – from your cell phone to the X-ray machine at the dentist’s office – from becoming a health hazard.
Standards and regulations cover a wide array of products to ensure safety, reduce waste, and lower costs. Above all, they uphold public safety. And when public safety becomes a priority, manufactures will benefit from producing quality products.
With standards, products are made more efficiently, with fewer risks and defects, which in turn increases production and profit. International Standardsare used to create a safer environment for everyone worldwide. They may go unnoticed in the background of our everyday lives, but it is thanks to them that we don’t have to think twice about talking on our cell phones, microwaving our food or driving our cars.