Source: IEC Blog (

Eighty-seven per cent of the respondents to a recent survey have identified making processes and facilities safer as a primary benefit of standards. The survey was sent to standardization experts in North America, as well as some in South America and Europe.

“We were surprised that almost 300 people replied to the survey, but the replies were very qualitative, with a lot of responses to open ended questions about the use of standards,” said Maurice Wilkins one of the people behind the ISA survey.

Eight out of 10 of those questioned said that standards helped companies to prove compliance to regulations. More than 65% believed that standards made it easier to train and cross-train people in technical jobs, while 63% of respondents said standards made processes and facilities more cyber-secure.

The survey asked managers about the value to their organizations of allowing staff the time to travel to meetings and take part in standardization work. Most managers believed that participating in standards work gave their organizations access to global best practices and knowledge sharing.

The survey also touched on the future of standards. An overwhelming 96% of respondents believed that standards would be “extremely important” or “important” in the future.

“The current COVID-19 crisis has shown this to be more evident than ever,” commented Wilkins. “I have attended many webinars and meetings over the past few months where standards were front and centre in the risk evaluation process, the management process, and now the return to work and recovery process.”

The IEC has identified a number of benefits that international standards and conformity assessment provide. These include ensuring the safety, performance and reliability of electronic and electrical systems and devices, as well as facilitating trade and access to new markets.

In addition, standards provide the technical frameworks, metrics and specifications that regulators can reference in legislation. Standards also provide governments with technical references in public tenders, lending confidence that products meet commonly agreed rules that have been developed and accepted by industry and regulators.

Furthermore, the use of IEC Standards and the IEC Conformity Assessment Systems help developing countries ensure that products entering their market fulfil required safety and performance criteria. This makes citizens safer, promotes economic development, and facilitates access to investment.

Maurice Wilkins is Executive Advisor to Yokogawa’s Global Marketing HQ and an internationally renowned expert on smart manufacturing. He is active in both IEC — he is a member of the IEC Systems Committee on Smart Manufacturing, as well as the convenor or member of several IEC TC 65 working groups — and ISA.


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