A world without standards is a not a world we would want to live in. Communication between people and machines, collaboration between parts and products would not exist. Standards are not about cross-checking the length and curvature of your bananas, they are about securing a common language in technology and business. Standards make sure your bank card fits into all the ATM machines, standards make sure all the parts for aeroplanes and medical devices are manufactured by competent technicians and tested to particular safety standards. Standards ensure the collaboration and interoperability of products and companies. Standards control how we all do business together and how all businesses’ internal operations fit seamlessly to create a common approach.
“World Standards Day is an annual celebration recognising the collaborative efforts that go into the development of standards at both a national and international level. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of standardization to the global economy and human lives.” – British Standards Institute (BSI)
Since 1970, when the first meeting of delegates from the 25 countries that resulted in the formation of ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) took place, World Standards Day has been celebrated on or around 14th October.
Why do we celebrate World Standards Day?
Standards are ever present in everyone’s lives. When visiting another country, you will recognised the symbols that indicate an emergency exit route. When visiting different regions of the UK, road signs do not differ. We celebrate the evolution of the system that keeps us safe as we go about our everyday lives and the experts that collaborate to continually develop those systems.
We also celebrate standards for keeping communication with technology safe and, well, standard. Because of standards computers and printers, emails and information are kept within common rules and parameters. Standards help facilitate trade, spread knowledge and disseminate technological advances.
Even within your own organisation there are standards. Whether these are how the Board papers are to be set up and sent around, how emails and branding should be handled or the more mundane areas such as how you like your coffee in the morning – all of these areas are covered by “standards”. Yes, some of these “standards are formal and internationally recognised while others are personal and known to a select few. The concept is the same however – it is how things “should be done”.
Now imagine that the best way of doing things right is used in each and every case. Think of the result: a world where people understood what was needed, how to meet those requirements, and were trained, and keen, to carry these actions out and, as a result, the actions taken caused the optimum solution for everyone (customer, organisation, bystander, bankers and shareholders).
This is what the ISO Standards are aimed at achieving. Not all at once, but step by step. Iteratively. And as a result, over time, successfully.
The best way to do this is to ensure that what you do and how you do it is right all the time. This does not mean endless checks, counter checks and bureaucracy. This means learning the best way and sticking to that. Not developing your own version of the official way. Not dropping all formal approaches because you need to expedite a particular order. But consistently applying the right way so that your customers know what to expect and will be happy when they get it (or better!) The more an organisation does this at every level including the Board or top management, the more that it will succeed in its mission – whatever that may be. Even anarchists need to plan to be successful!
How do we celebrate World Standards Day?
Countries across the world celebrate World Standards Day in different ways including dinner receptions, exhibitions the presentation of awards such as the Ronald H. Brown Standards Leadership Award in the US
The UK’s British Standards Institute (BSI) recently celebrated World Standards Day with ‘A Day in the Life of’. An info-graphic was produced to highlight the impact that standards have on our day to day lives in both the professional and personal world. Produced in 2012, the info-graphic demonstrates how prevalent standards are and will be relevant long into the future.
So you can see, quality standards should be celebrated across the globe and Qualitation is proud to be part of an organisation that encourages and develops the collaboration of experts and the development of an ever safer world. If you want to hear how your organisation can increase its market share, improve its bottom line and be in a better position to win public sector tenders, contact us.
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