A technical standard is an established norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task which is applied to a common and repeated use of rules, conditions, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, and related management systems practices. A technical standard includes definition of terms; classification of components; delineation of procedures; specification of dimensions, materials, performance, designs, or operations; measurement of quality and quantity in describing materials, processes, products, systems, services, or practices; test methods and sampling procedures; or descriptions of fit and measurements of size or strength.
It is usually a formal document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and practices. In contrast, a custom, convention, company product, corporate standard, and so forth that becomes generally accepted and dominant is often called a de facto standard.
A technical standard may be developed privately or unilaterally, for example by a corporation, regulatory body, military, etc. Standards can also be developed by groups such as trade unions and trade associations. Standards organizations often have more diverse input and usually develop voluntary standards: these might become mandatory if adopted by a government (i.e., through legislation), business contract, etc.
The standardization process may be by edict or may involve the formal consensusof technical experts.
The primary types of technical standards are:
Technical standards are definedas:
Technical standards may exist as:
When a geographically defined community must solve a community-wide coordination problem, it can adopt an existing standard or produce a new one. The main geographic levels are:
National/Regional/International standards is one way of overcoming technical barriers in inter-local or inter-regional commerce caused by differences among technical regulations and standards developed independently and separately by each local, local standards organisation, or local company. Technical barriers arise when different groups come together, each with a large user base, doing some well established thing that between them is mutually incompatible. Establishing national/regional/international standards is one way of preventing or overcoming this problem. To further support this, the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Committee published the "Six Principles" guiding members in the development of international standards.
The existence of a published standard does not imply that it is always useful or correct. For example, if an item complies with a certain standard, there is not necessarily assurance that it is fit for any particular use. The people who use the item or service (engineers, trade unions, etc.) or specify it (building codes, government, industry, etc.) have the responsibility to consider the available standards, specify the correct one, enforce compliance, and use the item correctly. Validation of suitability is necessary.
Standards often get reviewed, revised and updated on a regular basis. It is critical that the most current version of a published standard be used or referenced. The originator or standard writing body often has the current versions listed on its web site.
In social sciences, including economics, a standard is useful if it is a solution to a coordination problem: it emerges from situations in which all parties realize mutual gains, but only by making mutually consistent decisions.
|Mechanical industry companies||Suppliers interchange, stock gains, etc.||Screw thread compatibility||Screw thread standard specifications|
|Pharmaceutical industry and medic community||Enable medical prescriptions, suppliers interchange, etc.||Drug uniformity||Drug standard specifications|
|Banks and specialized payment cards companies||Enable Credit card holder to pay a merchant for goods and services||Credit card uniformity||Credit card Technical specifications|
Private standards are developed by private entities such as companies, non-governmental organizations or private sector multi-stakeholder initiatives, also referred to as multistakeholder governance. Not all technical standards are created equal. In the development of a technical standard, private standards adopt a non-consensus process in comparison to voluntary consensus standards. This is explained in the paper International standards and private standards.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published a number of papers in relation to the proliferation of private food safety standards in the agri-food industry, mostly under the multistakeholder governance of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).
BSI Group compared private food safety standards with "plugs and sockets", explaining the food sector is full of "confusion and complexity". Also, "the multiplicity of standards and assurance schemes has created a fragmented and inefficient supply chain structure imposing unnecessary costs on businesses that have no choice but to pass on to consumers".BSI provide examples of other sectors working with a single international standard; ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment), ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety), ISO 27001 (information security) and ISO 22301 (business continuity). Another example of a sector working with a single international standard is ISO 13485 (medical devices), which is adopted by the International Medical Device Regulators Forum (IMDRF).
In 2020, Fairtrade International, and in 2021, Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) issued position statementsdefending their use of private standards in response to reports from The Institute for Multi-Stakeholder Initiative Integrity (MSI Integrity) and Greenpeace.
British Standards (BS) are the standards produced by the BSI Group which is incorporated under a royal charter and which is formally designated as the national standards body (NSB) for the UK. The BSI Group produces British Standards under the authority of the charter, which lays down as one of the BSI's objectives to:
Set up standards of quality for goods and services, and prepare and promote the general adoption of British Standards and schedules in connection therewith and from time to time to revise, alter and amend such standards and schedules as experience and circumstances require.
The International Organization for Standardization is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.
Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standards based on the consensus of different parties that include firms, users, interest groups, standards organizations and governments. Standardization can help maximize compatibility, interoperability, safety, repeatability, or quality. It can also facilitate a normalization of formerly custom processes. In social sciences, including economics, the idea of standardization is close to the solution for a coordination problem, a situation in which all parties can realize mutual gains, but only by making mutually consistent decisions. Standardization is creating emotional balance, conventional detail, a universal familiarity and natural definition to a concept based on physical or emotional comfort and acceptance by changing societal behaviors and developments.
UN/CEFACT is the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business. It was established as an intergovernmental body of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in 1996 and evolved from UNECE's long tradition of work in trade facilitation which began in 1957.
Hazard analysis and critical control points, or HACCP, is a systematic preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes that can cause the finished product to be unsafe and designs measures to reduce these risks to a safe level. In this manner, HACCP attempts to avoid hazards rather than attempting to inspect finished products for the effects of those hazards. The HACCP system can be used at all stages of a food chain, from food production and preparation processes including packaging, distribution, etc. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) require mandatory HACCP programs for juice and meat as an effective approach to food safety and protecting public health. Meat HACCP systems are regulated by the USDA, while seafood and juice are regulated by the FDA. All other food companies in the United States that are required to register with the FDA under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, as well as firms outside the US that export food to the US, are transitioning to mandatory hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls (HARPC) plans.
A standards organization, standards body, standards developing organization (SDO), or standards setting organization (SSO) is an organization whose primary function is developing, coordinating, promulgating, revising, amending, reissuing, interpreting, or otherwise producing technical standards to address the needs of a group of affected adopters. Put another way, such an organization works to create uniformity across producers, consumers, government agencies, and other relevant parties regarding terminology, product specifications, protocols, and more. Its goals could include ensuring that Company A's external hard drive works on Company B's computer, your blood pressure measures the same with Company C's sphygmomanometer as it does with Company D's, or that all shirts that should not be ironed have the same icon on the label.
The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization which promotes sustainable forest management through independent third party certification. It is considered the certification system of choice for small forest owners.
ISO 22000 is a Food safety management system which provides requirements for any organization in the food industry with objective to help to improve overall performance in food safety.
The British Standards Institution (BSI) is the national standards body of the United Kingdom. BSI produces technical standards on a wide range of products and services and also supplies certification and standards-related services to businesses.
A Publicly Available Specification or PAS is a standardization document that closely resembles a formal standard in structure and format but which has a different development model. The objective of a Publicly Available Specification is to speed up standardization. PASs are often produced in response to an urgent market need.
A specification often refers to a set of documented requirements to be satisfied by a material, design, product, or service. A specification is often a type of technical standard.
ISO 55000 is an international standard covering management of assets of any kind. Before it, a Publicly Available Specification was published by the British Standards Institution in 2004 for physical assets. The ISO 55000 series of Asset Management standards was launched in January 2014.
Technical documentation is a generic term for the classes of information created to describe the use, functionality or architecture of a product, system or service.
The FAO Country Profiles are a multilingual web portal which repackages the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) vast archive of information on its global activities in agriculture and food security in a single area and catalogues it exclusively by country and thematic areas.
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a private organization working as a "Coalition of Action" from The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) bringing together retailers and brand owners (manufacturers) from across the CGF membership operating as multistakeholder governance with objective to create "an extended food safety community to oversee food safety standards for businesses and help provide access to safe food for people everywhere". GFSI's work in benchmarking and harmonization aims to foster mutual acceptance of GFSI-recognized certification programmes across the industry with the ambition to enable a “once certified, accepted everywhere” approach.
Sustainability standards and certifications are voluntary guidelines used by producers, manufacturers, traders, retailers, and service providers to demonstrate their commitment to good environmental, social, ethical, and food safety practices. There are over 400 such standards across the world. The trend started in the late 1980s and 90s with the introduction of Ecolabels and standards for Organic food and other products. Most standards refer to the triple bottom line of environmental quality, social equity, and economic prosperity. A standard is normally developed by a broad range of stakeholders and experts in a particular sector and includes a set of practices or criteria for how a crop should be sustainably grown or a resource should be ethically harvested. This might cover, for instance, responsible fishing practices that don't endanger marine biodiversity, or respect for human rights and the payment of fair wages on a coffee or tea plantation. Normally sustainability standards are accompanied by a verification process - often referred to as "certification" - to evaluate that an enterprise complies with a standard, as well as a traceability process for certified products to be sold along the supply chain, often resulting in a consumer-facing label. Certification programmes also focus on capacity building and working with partners and other organisations to support smallholders or disadvantaged producers to make the social and environmental improvements needed to meet the standard.
The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is a global, parity-based industry network, driven by its members as private sector multistakeholder governance. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of over 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers and other stakeholders across 70 countries and reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Forum member companies have combined sales of EUR 2.5 trillion. Their retailer and manufacturer members directly employ nearly 10 million people with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is the only association in the consumer goods industry that is truly global, while embracing both retailers and manufacturers.
Multistakeholder governance is a practice of governance that employs bringing multiple stakeholders together to participate in dialogue, decision making, and implementation of responses to jointly perceived problems. The principle behind such a structure is that if enough input is provided by multiple types of actors involved in a question, the eventual consensual decision gains more legitimacy, and can be more effectively implemented than a traditional state-based response. While the evolution of multistakeholder governance is occurring principally at the international level, public-private partnerships (PPPs) are domestic analogues.
Singapore Standard (SS) specifies the standards used for industrial activities in Singapore. The standardization process is coordinated by Singapore Standards Council, administered by Enterprise Singapore, a Governmental body.
ISO Technical Committee 67 – Materials, equipment and offshore structures for petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries is a technical committee within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO/TC 67 is responsible for developing and maintaining international standards in the worldwide upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas industry. Its role encompasses the harmonisation of standards for facilities, equipment and operations used for drilling, production, pipeline transport and processing of liquids and gaseous hydrocarbons on, and between, offshore oil and gas installations and onshore terminals and oil refineries.