Back to the basics: Standards explained
Standards are published documents that establish requirements, specifications, guidelines, or characteristics that ensure that materials, products, processes, and services are fit for their purpose. Industries and the technology within the sectors are continually evolving, and so the standards need to be consistently revisited and updated.
All standards support consumer safety, public health, consumer confidence, as well as facilitate the seamless running of businesses. They provide a reliable basis for people to share the same expectation about a product or service.
Standards cover a wide range of areas from food safety to risk management in the medical field. They focus on specific sectors or products, or they are general standards for management practices.
These standards help to ensure the reliability of the materials, products, services, and methods people use every day within businesses. They also address various protocols to provide functionality and compatibility, allowing for the facilitation of interoperability, which is the ability for computer systems and software to exchange and make use of data.
Standards are, however, voluntary and, therefore, do not need to be adhered to by businesses unless incorporated in legislation by countries. Many organisations will only partner with ISO certified companies. Consequently, it is a critical consideration for your business. It creates assurance with interested parties that your company has a management system to address best practices expectations.
There are also many benefits of compliance with ISO standards.
The benefits include:
- Facilitating trade
- Improving management systems
- Providing a framework for achieving interoperability between new and existing products and services
- Enhancing consumer protection and confidence
- Speeding up the introduction of innovative products into the market
- Providing a framework for economies and efficiencies
- Helping organisation work more efficiently
- Reducing product failures
- Reducing workplace accidents (in the case of health and safety standards)
- Keeping sensitive information secure (in the case of IT security standards)
- Preventing food from being contaminated (in the case of food safety standards)
- Reducing energy consumption (in the case of energy management standards)
- Being more sustainable by reducing environmental impacts and reducing waste (in the case of environmental management standards)
Standards can help drive innovation and productivity. They can make businesses more successful as well as make the way they operate easier, safer, and healthier. Most importantly, standards ensure the protection and confidence of the consumer, which is the foundation of all successful businesses.
DQS South Africa is your local business solutions partner, offering solutions that work for your sector. We form part of an international network dedicated to ensuring compliance and business conformity. DQS can assist you in your certification requirements. For any questions about our services or to contact us, please visit dqs.co.za.