What is ISO?
ISO or the International Organization for Standardization is a non-governmental organization that was established in 1947. ISO includes a network of 180 national standards bodies (as of 12/11) from the world’s leading industrial nations. One of the main goals of ISO is to develop worldwide standardization by promoting adoption of international quality standards. By doing so, barriers of trade are eliminated.
ISO has created 19,023 internal standards as of 12/11 in a variety of industries. Examples of standards ISO has created include the standardized codes for country names, currencies and languages, standardized format of worldwide telephone and banking cards, as well as sizes and colors of road signs, and automobile bumper heights.
ISO includes 3,368 technical working bodies, in which some 50,000 experts from industry, labor, government, and standardization bodies in all parts of the world develop and revise standards. ISO has created standards for the automotive, manufacturing, mechanics, packaging, and health care fields amongst many others.
Standards can be broadly sub-divided into three categories, namely product, process, and management standards. The first refers to characteristics related to quality and safety for example. Process standards refer to the conditions under which products and services are to be produced, packaged or refined. Management system standards assist organization to manage their operations. They are often used to help create a framework that then allows the organization to consistently achieve the requirements that are set out in product and process standards.
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