The Importance of International Standards
What are standards and how did they come about?
Thousands of years ago our ancestors realised the inefficiencies of exchanging physical goods such as cattle, wheat or firewood as a form of value to one another. Imagine being a wheat farmer, and having to march down to the local markets to trade your wheat for some meat or milk, this may work if the cattle farmer needs bread, but what if he doesn’t - the wheat farmer would then need to scavenge for a commodity that the cattle farmer would be willing to accept, say, firewood. Completing these exchanges, therefore, can become extremely inefficient and complicated, with eventually someone losing out.
The solution here was to develop a trusted method for storing a value that would not be subject to the effects of demand and supply. That solution was the coin. The coins’ development around weights, measurements, and processes saw the first major form of standards introduced, and became the start of something that would propel the world into a brighter and more stable future.
Decades and even centuries of trial and error by experts in various fields have led to numerous well thought out processes and systems for producing goods, services, and other procedures. Every system is further validated by a set of standards whereby, most if not all public-based systems follow these strict standards to ensure the general public can actively take part in society, safely and productively. For example, think about all the systems (and their required standards) you take part in and go through in order to get to your job in the morning:
The mechanic that provides a safety certificate for your car to be allowed on the road;
Petrol distribution (WH&S standards), to fuel your car to run;
Road construction standards, for creating roads, highways, and bridges to give cars convenient routes around a city- 'from home to work';
Building and construction standards, for your work-related building, to exist;
Electrical systems, for your office equipment to function;
First aid box in the cupboard, for injuries or emergencies.
The list goes on, and that’s only a minuscule proportion of standards that exist to maintain everyday effective functionality and safety. The key benefit from standardisation is that everyone knows what to expect and it creates a solid platform on which to build continuous improvement.
How international standards are shaping the world
International standards enable and provide society with efficient ways to get work done while maintaining the safety of producers who create and provide goods and services, as well as the end-users receiving the benefits from these goods and services. A recent paper produced by Airmic & UKAS (2018) reviewing risk management standards, found that “standards boosted productivity and improved performance”, and furthermore helped organisations by:
- Removing technical barriers to trade
- Improved supply chains
- Improved consumer/ business protection
- Created regulatory support
- Stimulated innovation
- Managed organisational risk
Sci Qual International is proud to be assisting the missions of hundreds of organisations in their ability to provide more effective and sound services and products to the wider public through the process of auditing as an international certifying body. Our clients operate across a wide range of sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, industrial, software, healthcare and pharmaceutical, transport, consultancy, and architectural design.
Sci Qual International strongly believes that by helping organisations to improve their processes and systems, through the certification process and through the value-added feedback our auditors provide, we can have a positive effect on society as a whole.
Certifications that make a difference
Quality Management System - ISO 9001:2015
ISO 9001 (2015) is based on a set of seven fundamental quality management principles that underpin how organisations meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders involved. Quality assurance gives confidence to the end user that whatever they received is of the highest standards at that point in time.
Examples of clients making a difference with ISO 9001 include:
Environmental Management System (EMS) - ISO 14001:2015
The ISO 14001 (2015) standard is taken by businesses and other entities that wish to show the wider public that they are serious about being environmentally-friendly by avoiding negative externalities including all negative and indirect effects that occur from business processes such as; air and noise pollution, land contamination and degradation, and/or poor recycling processes.
Examples of clients making a difference with ISO 14001 include:
Information Security Management System - ISO 27001:2013
ISO 27001 (2013) has become an increasingly sought after international standard due to the growing number of users online and corresponding growth in digital crime. ISO 27001 ensures an organisation’s information is safeguarded from unauthorised access, use, destruction, modification or disclosure.
Sci Qual International has only recently moved into this important field of certification but we expect this to show significant growth over the next few years.
Occupational Health and Safety Management System - ISO 45001:2018
ISO 45001 was introduced in 2018 as the first international safety standard. It will gradually replace OHSAS 18001:2007 and AS/NZS 4801:2001, and bring uniformity to occupational health and safety management processes.
ISO 45001 helps businesses and other entities minimise hazards involving workplace health and safety activities. ensuring a reduction in occupational injuries and diseases, which is key to maintaining a positive workplace environment for all to work within.
Examples of clients making current certified by Sci Qual International to AS/NZS 4801:
Sci Qual International not only recognises the current certification status of our clients. We also recognise the achievements of clients who have achieved a sustained performance by complying with international standards continuously over a period of years. We believe that this sustained performance is an excellent indicator that the organisation is committed to best practice on a long-term basis. If you’re interested in the clients who have achieved these special milestones, you can view them on our Milestone Achievers page.