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In a Global Economy, Standards Are Crucial to Ensure Quality in Our Goods, Services, and Experiences

Guest editorial by William Troy, American Society for Quality (ASQ) CEO. 10/01/2018
More than a decade ago, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans acknowledged that “adherence to agreed-upon product or service specifications underpins international commerce, enabling trillions of dollars of goods to flow across borders, regardless of the spoken language of any business parties.” Since then, the global economy has continued to grow at unprecedented rates, bringing with it new and increasing challenges in standardization.

As we celebrate ANSI’s centennial, we reflect on how the organization’s achievements have helped make our world a better place—and how its future work will equip us to solve these new challenges we face.

There is no doubt that the role and influence of standards have evolved over the decades. Today, the motivation to develop internationally accepted standards and achieve exceptional quality is greater than ever before. Standards are critical to a sound national economy, essential to facilitating global commerce, and vital to organizations’ ability to strengthen their positions in the world economy. In addition, quality is crucial to ensuring that our goods, services, and experiences meet the increasingly heightened expectations of consumers.

During the past 100 years, ANSI has paved the way for voluntary, consensus-based industry standards and ASQ has been a proud partner on this path. As the Global Voice of Quality, ASQ provides the expertise, tools, and solutions to help individuals and organizations worldwide improve the products and services we all rely upon. Standards play a tremendous role in ensuring the quality and integrity consumers deserve from these products and services.

Through the work of ASQ’s Standards Committees, I have seen firsthand the importance of ANSI’s mission to strengthen competitiveness and prosperity in the U.S. and beyond. ASQ has been a standards administrator since 1989 and, in partnership with ANSI, has helped facilitate the U.S. voice in developing some of the most widely adopted international standards. Our international reach and leadership has increased throughout the years in committees on quality management, environmental management, auditing, and statistics.

Some of our most critical standards work has related to ISO 9001- the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS), and ISO 14001, the international standard that specifies requirements for an effective environmental management system (EMS). Both of these standards are essential to ensuring sound quality management for organizations large and small, across a variety of sectors and industries, domestically and internationally.

The consensus-driven system that underlies the achievement of standards is undoubtedly challenging, but we have been steadfast in our work to encourage agreement and innovation.

Both ASQ and ANSI have played vital roles in influencing the evolution of standards. In a world without standards, we would not be able to achieve the level of quality that is essential for the betterment of our daily lives.

Many industries and organizations—and undoubtedly, many of us as individuals—have benefited from ANSI’s work, and will continue to benefit in the future. As we celebrate ANSI’s centennial and look forward to another 100 years of advancing the organization’s work, ASQ is eager to continue its support of important standards development.

ASQ, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., USA, is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make our world work better. With individual and organizational members in more than 140 countries, ASQ has the reputation and reach to bring together the diverse quality champions who are transforming the world’s organizations and communities to meet tomorrow’s critical challenges.

*This is a guest editorial contributed by an outside source and may not reflect the views of ANSI

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