What is ISO?
The International Organization for Standards commonly known as ISO was formed in 1947 as a non governmental body that was given the mandate to formulate international industrial and commercial standards. With its headquarters in Geneva Switzerland the organization has a membership of more that 160 nations from around the world. Member countries contribute representatives from their national standards bodies to the ISO and also pay membership fees which is the money used to run the ISO.
The need for creating the ISO came about when various countries realized that it was difficult to engage in trade while having different standards for each country. The difference in standards was acting as a barrier to trade since goods that did not meet a country’s standards could not be allowed into that country. Having internationally recognized standards has opened greater room for competition among countries and made it easier to measure quality across the globe. The ISO was initially focused on the mechanical sector but has grown with time and currently has more than 2700 committees, subcommittees and groups that focus on an equal number of areas. The standards set by the ISO are recognized as law in countries that adopt these standards and this makes it one of the most powerful international non governmental organizations.
The ISO works to provide a middle ground where businesses can supply products that are up to the required quality of the international society. There are many factors that the ISO standards are designed to control in both the end product and the production process. Issues of safety, environmental friendliness, working conditions, efficiency, interchangeability and much more are addressed by the ISO standards. The most important mission of this organization is to protect consumers and ensure that any products offered by businesses are suitable for use or consumption by the buyer. Businesses that observe and work within the standards set by the ISO are issued with ISO certification that indicates the level to which they have complied with the set standards. Certification is revised with time as advances in technology and unveiled and companies will from time to time need to make adjustments so as to align their processes and products to the newer ISO standards.
Because of the ISO standards we can now enjoy a wide range of benefits which include shared technical advancements, fairer trade among nations, greater environmental responsibility, higher quality products for consumers, better structured competition and much more. When using products that meet ISO standards, you are assured that you will be able to get replacement parts or interchangeable products in most parts of the world. This is especially important as the world becomes more and more of a global village. It also helps where language might present a barrier by providing internationally recognized symbols that are used across the globe.
Businesses looking to engage in international trade will normally have to make sure that their products and processes meet ISO standards so as to increase their opportunities in markets around the world.