The 7 Benefits of Standards
Standards matter. They matter in Darwin as a mother buckles her child into a baby capsule, in Albury as a young couple discusses the designs for their new home, in Melbourne as a managing director decides on his new risk management strategy, in Adelaide as an engineer inspects structural design plans for a new development.
All these people have one thing in common - they are relying on an objective, rigorous set of Standards to ensure these products and systems are safe and reliable. Thanks to Standards Australia and the thousands of experts that contribute to the development of Australian Standards, Australian consumers can have that assurance.
Australian Standards set out the specifications and design procedures to ensure goods and services consistently perform in the way they are intended. They make a sustained contribution to generating national wealth, improving our quality of life, increasing employment, improving safety and health and using our national resources more efficiently.
Imagine a world without Standards
A reminder as to how much difference standardisation makes is the example of overseas traveller who has to carry a suitcase full of adaptors from country to country. These plugs were all specified in the days before international standardisation was widely recognised and they are a daily reminder of the universal value of Standards. Similarly, the example of a person trying unsuccessfully to connect a computer to a phone system in a country other than the one in which it was bought.
Australians at home, at play and at work are made safer by Standards. Traffic lights, footpaths, power points, seatbelts and child restraints, air quality, smoke and fire alarms are all underpinned by Australian Standards. Standards give businesses and consumers confidence that the goods and services they are developing or using are safe, reliable and will do the job they were intended for. Standards help consumers make everyday choices between one product and another. They protect Australian tradesmen - builders, electricians, plumbers - and their customers. Government public health, safety and environment policies are often measured against Australian Standard yardsticks.
Standards provide a platform on which to build new and exciting ideas. As our world changes, new Standards are introduced to reflect the latest technologies, innovations and community needs - redundant Standards are discarded. New closed circuit television Standards, infrastructure protection Standards and luggage safety advice will protect all Australians and are a direct response to community concerns around security issues. New risk management Standards have improved business practice while information and communications technology Standards have helped spread 'cutting edge' practices across emerging industries.
Australian manufacturing, materials handling, mechanical systems and components. Standards save businesses time and money. Standards cut production costs. They drive economies of scale, the use of common parts and specifications, help cut energy bills and foster new technologies. The Federal Government uses Australian and international record-keeping Standards to handle and move information around its vast networks. Small businesses become more efficient and grow by using Standards, guidelines and handbooks developed by industry experts.
Products that comply with Australian Standards have a competitive edge over products that don't - consumers know the difference. Businesses know products made to Australian Standards have more credibility - whether it's a bike helmet, baby capsule or complaints handling system. Australian exporters using international Standards have a head start when they move into overseas markets. International aerospace, food and medical equipment markets all have strict Standards that can dictate success or failure.
Standards ensure products manufactured in one country can be sold and used in another. A nut made in Melbourne fits a bolt made in London, 35 mm film made in Australia will fit 35 mm cameras made in Japan. Standards reduce technical barriers to international trade, increase the size of potential markets and position Australian firms to compete in the world economy. Around 70 per cent of all new Australian Standards are based on international equivalents. Containers, electrical equipment, mineral sampling, data packaging, PIN management - just a few of the Australian Standards that link local businesses directly with international markets.
Approximately 30% of Australian Standards are mandated in some form or another by governments and enforced by legislation and regulation. They are at the heart of the Australian Building Code and the Trade Practices Act. They help governments craft laws to protect the community and defend against terrorism. Standards help make laws and regulations consistent across Australia. By using a Standard, a South Australian consumer law becomes consistent with a NSW fair trading regulation. Standards offer an alternative to regulation, with less red tape and business costs, while still providing security for families and small business consumers.
Being a part of an Australian Standards development team has its own rewards - increased knowledge, stronger business networks and competitive advantages. There is no better professional development than working with peers and colleagues drawing up an Australian Standard. There is no better personal satisfaction than knowing an Australian Standard has made the world a safer place.
Everyday commercial transactions and international trade could not take place without the support of measurement, Standards and conformance infrastructure.
The development of Standards relies strongly on accurate units of measurement to express specifications and conformance methodologies. Each component has a key role to play in ensuring that Australia's measurement, Standards and conformance infrastructure delivers a high level of quality and accuracy; and is consistently accepted with confidence by the community, Australian business and Australia's international trading partners.
The technical infrastructure provides the essential framework for industry and government to maintain domestic and foreign confidence in our goods and services. It is also the key to enhancing our global competitiveness, attracting investment and encouraging and supporting innovation.
Standards and conformance are the keys to ensuring the quality and consistency of physical, chemical and biological measurement throughout Australian society and the economy.