Industry standards are an important part of the manufacturing process. They are essential to the way that we run our factories, and to the quality of our output. In this article we will explore the role that they play in industry today, and why they are so important.
The technical standards that underpin manufacturing and production are a key component of the industrial economy. They play an important role in helping manufacturers to coordinate their activities, reducing the costs of production, improving quality, promoting competition and they can help consumers by enabling them to make informed choices, or by letting them switch providers more easily.
Industry standards are set by skilled engineers who have been in industry and know what works and what doesn’t. Standards can be technical or safety related. For example, the strength of a steel should be able to withstand an applied force without failure or damage. Another standard may be the depth of a hole for a bolt in a structure – this makes sure that the bolt does not shear and fall off when under stress. Standards are needed to make sure that all manufacturers produce products which are similar and meet specific criteria.
The role standards play in the industry today.
- A standard is a fixed reference point or scale. Industry standards can be used to compare products, processes or services to show if they are complying with the requirements of a relevant authority. In this context we are concerned with industry standards and how they relate to the process of manufacturing.
- Standards also provide a common language between the stakeholders in an industry, including manufacturers, suppliers, users, customers and regulators. The development of standards is led by industry through the consensus process.
- Standards allow for consistent manufacturing practices that meet quality requirements and define specifications such as dimensions, materials and part interchangeability.
- Standards promote innovation by helping to ensure that new ideas are compatible with existing technologies, processes and systems.
- Standards establish a level playing field, allowing consumers to easily compare products and services and choose what best meets their needs. They also help businesses compete on more than just price, resulting in greater innovation and quality improvements.
- Standards provide access to new markets: by meeting the standards of multiple countries, manufacturers can access these markets more easily – bringing about growth opportunities for both producers and consumers.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has laid down certain standards that are important for any producer or manufacturer who wishes to meet global requirements and remain competitive at all times.
Which ISO standards are the best for manufacturing?
ISO standards are developed by more than 1,000 technical committees and subcommittees comprised of representatives from government, industry, academia and consumer organizations from more than 165 countries.
The ISO 9000 family is the world’s best-known quality management standard for companies and organizations of any size. ISO 9001 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to (although this is not a requirement). It can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. In fact, there are over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries certified to ISO 9001.
ISO 14001 sets out the criteria for an environmental management system and can be certified to. It maps out a framework that a company or organization can follow to set up an effective environmental management system. Using ISO 14001can provide assurance to company management and employees as well as external stakeholders that environmental impact is being measured and improved.
ISO 22000 is for Food Safety Management System. Food safety is important for all companies involved in the food chain. It sets out requirements for a food safety management system, which helps organizations identify and control food safety hazards.
ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, and gives guidance for its use, to enable organizations to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill health, as well as by proactively improving its OH&S performance.
In Nigeria, the standardization and quality assurance agency is the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), a parastatal of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The SON also functions as an adviser on all matters pertaining to standardization and metrology to government departments, industries and other bodies or institutions in the country. Certain industries such as pharmaceuticals, building materials, food and drinks, etc. fall under the regulation of NAFDAC who ensure that only the best and safest products get into the market for consumption.
In order to maintain international competitiveness, developing countries like Nigeria have to implement better standards through establishment of National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) that consists of Quality Assurance, Standardization and Metrology; Accreditation; Testing and Calibration; Certification; Inspection; Conformity Assessment; Legal Metrology; Testing Laboratories; Measurement Standards; etc.
In order to maintain these high standards, at RPM, we only partner with manufacturers that are ISO certified. By maintaining a strong relationship with these manufacturers, we are able to provide our clients with quality products at a competitive price.