BSI Education

Benefits of Standards

Why do we need Standards?

You don't wake up in the morning and say, "Thank goodness I've got some Standards!" But if they weren't there life would be more difficult. It's a bit like many of the structures in our lives: you only notice them when they're not there or they're not working.

Standards are there to help industry, and society at large. So even if you're not involved in developing or manufacturing products, you're bound to come into contact with Standards every day.

How do Standards help industry?

Standards support innovation by:

  • sharing best practice, so designers can focus on developing better products
  • setting benchmarks for performance, quality and safety
  • ensuring similar products work together (e.g. making sure all CDs are the same dimensions)
  • making technical requirements
  • reducing risks
  • reducing costs
  • Example: DIY retailer selling timber

    • Standards ensure the timber is of suitable quality, e.g. not rotten
    • Standards enable the retailer to innovate by getting hold of environmentally friendly timber
    • Standards enable the company to strengthen market reputation for responsibility and innovation

Standards enable ideas from one country to become accepted internationally by:

  • exporting ideas that open up overseas markets and raise the profile of national industries and commerce
  • competitive advantage from being world leaders
  • international meetings lead to exchange of ideas
  • Example: nanotechnology

    • from self-cleaning windows to silicon structures that can take drugs to the exact location of the tumour, nanotechnology is predicted to create a market worth over $1trillion within the next 10 years
    • Standards are being developed to assist in the safe development of the technology and to deliver it to the marketplace.

Standards balance the needs of the producer and user by:

  • creating market-led solutions (i.e. what do people want to buy?)
  • reflecting all interests, including small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), consumers, regulators, industry and the environment
  • promoting fair competition and avoiding unhealthy concentrations of economic power
  • reducing costs for development and production
  • increasing the diversity and quality of suppliers for producers and consumers
  • Example: Millennium Bridge, London

    • almost 100,000 people walked across the Millennium Bridge in London when it opened, yet two days later it was closed because it wobbled due to Synchronous Lateral Excitation
    • engineers immediately began working on a solution and, together with BSI, produced a modified British Standards Code of Bridge Loading
    • future bridge builders will now be able to carry our stringent tests to make sure their bridge and its users won't experience the same problem

How do Standards benefit society?

Standards protect consumers
Standards protect consumers' fundamental right to safety, the right to be informed and the right to choose. These rights relate to products, services, processes and materials
Standards improve products and services
Standardization promotes effective research and development, and makes products easier to use
Standards encourage knowledge-sharing
Standardization relies on all sections of society being involved in Standards, providing an opportunity for everyone to share knowledge and make their voice heard

Standards also address broad social concerns, such as the environment and health and safety. For example, energy labelling and inclusive design are supported by Standards that have been developed in response to the needs of society.

Why Standards are like.

...the World Cup?
Standards deliver quality when they focus everyone's attention on a common goal.
...the Armistice Poppy?
Standards deliver quality when they are timely and relevant.
...the Ferrari Enzo?
Standards deliver quality when they demonstrate dependable excellence.

Are you giving a lecture about the benefits of using Standards?

BSI has created a brief set of PowerPoint slides, with speaker notes, to help you explain the benefits of using Standards to your students.

Download the 'Benefits of Standards?' PowerPoint presentation here.
To download this file to your computer, right click on the link above and select 'Save Target as...' from the menu.