International standards ensure the quality and safety of the products that we use in everyday life. Without them we would be at the mercy of the claims of the advertising industry. International standards provide a surety and confidence to the consumer that the product or service he or she is purchasing is backed by an international quality and reliability certification. If a product conforms to international standards then the consumer is assured that the products, systems and organizations are reliable, safe and good for the environment. Thus ISO international standards are at the backbone of the society that we live in and the ISO Consultants play a key role in explaining and implementing these standards in our organizations.
Many research studies have proved that standards give a boost to the economies and business. Due to the standards an estimated $ 81 billion has been put into the economy while in UK they are responsible for annual $ 8.2 billion growth in Gross Domestic Product or GDP.
One key finding is that standards can be utilized to streamline the internal processes of an organization. For example by decreasing the time required to execute specific activities in various business processes, decreasing the level of waste, reducing the procurement costs and enhancing productivity. It has been found out that the standards contribution to the gross profit of companies ranges between 0.15 % and 5 % of annual sales revenue.
As the business is better organized by adopting standards, it helps the business to innovate easily. Case studies have shown that organizations are better able to expand their offerings by introducing and innovating in new products in their distribution network. The standards also help in mitigation of risks associated with introducing new products. Furthermore the standards help in the organization with adding more suppliers to their network.
Standards have been used by organizations as the basis for new product development, entering new domestic and international markets and supporting the market demand of the products. The standards are helpful even in creating new markets. In some extreme cases, companies have far exceeded their profit margins from the figures given above to the level of 33% of their annual revenue. This also helped the companies in positioning themselves as market leaders in their field over a period of time.
WikaBeton, an Indonesian conglomerate active in construction, real estate and trading businesses, used ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001 and various technical quality standards. They developed a unified management system allowing for high quality operations which resulted in increased customer confidence.
The major benefits of using standards allowed the organization to improve its selection and evaluation of suppliers, save resources in research and development, optimize the transfer of information through unified specifications and standard information capture, high quality supplies, optimization of production process and obtain benefits in sales negotiations.
NTUC Fairprice is the largest supermarket chain in Singapore with a market share of over 50%. It uses Cold Chain standards for milk and frozen meat as well as Bar code standard and ISO 9001 and well as HACCP.
The benefits to NTUC of the standards were in doubling the volume of goods handled while having the same number of employees, improving process efficiency, extending the supplier network, raising and maintaining the product level of quality and increasing the level of customer loyalty and confidence.
The benefits were translated into annual saving of approximately USD 3.2 million and also helped nurture a culture of continuous improvement in the organization.
Gefor is a Colombian multinational company which is active in the plastics and synthetic fibers sector in the petrochemical industry. It uses over 200 standards, both national and international ones. The benefits to it were in continual improvement in operations and production, sales and marketing by creating market access allowing it to expand rapidly in the domestic market, and accessing international markets by meeting market entry requirements and conditionsin the design of new products, quality inspections of supplies. The economic benefits of the standards is USD 8 051 919 which is 77% of the company revenues. The company has introduces ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001which have helped in streamlining its processes and increasing its quality and reliability.
Danper, founded in 1994, is one of the largest agro-exporter in Peru dealing mainly in Asparagus and Artichokes. Its business comprises of preserved goods (77% of sales), fresh products (21 % of sales) and frozen products (2% of sales). It is certified to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 and National Peruvian Standards as well as HACCP, OHSAS 18001 and SA 8000 and finally Global GAP and US GAP.
It has benefited by USD 648 158 annually from the standards which amounts to 0.73 % of sales revenue. Using standards has allowed Danper to continuously improve its skills and implement an efficient and reliable production process, manage the cold chain in a highly efficient way and ensuring product quality requirements are met in overseas markets and demonstrate through its certifications to its overseas customers, its ability to produce and deliver safe and high quality products and to qualify as a supplier for them.