ISO Founders 1946 (Source
At the beginning of the industrial revolution a lack of international standards was a barrier to trade due to incompatibility and poor quality, especially in manufacturing.For example, during World War II, there were quality problems in many British industries, two parts from different manufacturers won’t fit together because each manufacturer was using different specifications and procedures. The solution adopted to fix these quality problems was to document the manufacturing procedures and to prove by records that the procedures were being followed in each step every time all the time. The development of defence standards from the United States eventually led to a British Standard called BS 5750 in 1979. It was known as a management standard because it specified “how to” to manufacture rather than “what to” to manufacture. In 1987 the British Government persuaded the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to adopt BS 5750 as an international standard, the international standard was named ISO 9000.

This approach was very common in the 1980s and 1990s and many major organisations would only buy products and services from suppliers that were BS5750/ISO9000 accredited.

Since the establishment of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1946, the organisation published more than 19,200 standards. Today the ISO standards cover different industries/services and aspects of life such as a method for preparation of tea standard (ISO 3103) and a human rights standard (ISO 2600).

Recently ISO published a report about the financial advantages of using ISO standards, the report contains many interesting facts and figures, for example:

  • Standardization directly contributes to the growth in the French economy, for up to 0.81 %, or almost 25 % of GDP growth.
  • In Canada, growth in the number of standards accounted for 17 % of the labour productivity growth rate and about 9 % of the growth rate in economic output.

Using an international standard can improve product quality, reliability and reduce cost and also return a direct financial benefit.



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