New Collection of International Case Studies proves Economic Benefits of Standards

Sidney Vianna

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A series of ground-breaking case studies by ISO and partner organizations based on the experiences of 11 companies operating in a variety of business sectors in 10 countries shows that implementing standards can provide economic benefits from between 0,5 % and 4 % of their annual sales revenues.
The case studies are collected in the newly published ISO book, Economic benefits of standards. The 11 companies that participated come from Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Botswana, South Africa and Germany (two case studies). The size of the companies varies from a small business with 25 employees and annual sales revenue of around USD 4,5 million to companies with several thousand employees and annual revenue of over USD 1,5 billion.
They operate in a variety of business sectors: agri-food, chemicals, construction and construction materials, electrical appliances, electrical power transmission, food retail/food logistics, industrial automation equipment, and information and telecommunication.
Over the last decade, several studies have been conducted with the aim of determining the economic and other benefits of the use of standards. These studies were undertaken by ISO national member institutes and other organizations and had mainly a macroeconomic focus. Although each of the studies confirmed that the use of standards had positive effects and resulted in economic and other benefits, it is difficult to compare the results achieved by the different studies because each used different approaches to measure the impacts of standards.
For this reason, with the support of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, ISO developed “the ISO Methodology” for the assessment and quantification of the economic benefits of standards. Its objective is to arrive at reliable quantitative calculations of the impacts of standards on organizations. By being based on the application of the same methodology, it is expected that the results of the different studies can be compared to build a common stock of knowledge about economic benefits of standards.
Economic benefits of standards breaks new ground in providing the first set of case studies based on the ISO Methodology. According to the chapter giving an overview of the project and its initial results, “Standards can indeed play a central role in creating confidence for potential customers in a new technology, or allowing companies that enter a new market to deliver consistently products and services with the quality required by their customers.”
These case studies were undertaken in close cooperation between an ISO member body, an academic institution, a company in the respective country and staff of the ISO Central Secretariat acting as advisors to the project team.
This is the first set of case studies and more studies are currently being carried out. Readers interested in more details of the preliminary case studies can find the full versions of the reports originally developed by the project teams and summary presentations about each project online at:
Economic benefits of standards – International case studies (ISBN 978-92-10556-7), A5 format, 303 pages, English edition only, is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 38 Swiss francs for paper or PDF edition through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department (see right-hand column).
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