RELEVANCE of STANDARDS

Post 505 by Gautam Shah

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Road Sign Standards Pic by geograph 5634336 David Dixon

A standard is a requirement by tradition, acceptance, confirmation or law for certain type of practices, behaviour or compulsions. Standards are relevant for specific time and space context, after which they become abhorrent and ignored or are redefined.

Stack Holders Wikipedia image by Author UNDP

A standard could be an informal understanding or a document. As document, it explains the circumstances of its need, how it can be adhered to and, what are the consequences of compliance or noncompliance. Standards relate to practices or processes, material inputs for it, services, energy consumption, quality of deliverable and other byproducts. It relates to human and environmental affectations. New standards define the stack holders for any engagement, degree of transparency and norms for accountability.

Standards are widely accepted or agreed upon means for what a thing, happening or service should be. Standards include details about sizes, relationships, proportions, in their own and relative to the user, perceiver, etc. It details quality parameters and modalities of using and storing, and processing of materials, objects and structures. It concerns about interests of all stack-holders. It links with other standards to form an all-inclusive definition of creations, natural things and environment. It offers a common set of meanings, terms used in standards and provides common ways of interpretations. It sometimes offers ways of arrangements for implementing or enforcing, and the management through continued observance, redefinition, corrections, for whatever that is being documented.

ISO and UTS Thread Dimensions

Standards emerge as the most widely acceptable strategy, set through specifications. Standards generate a controlled response. Standards relate to specifications for making, maintaining, using and disposing objects, and mechanics of creation, handling, operations and management. Standards emerge from empathy or as a strategic understanding between two or more persons. Standards’ formation is a raison d’être for (reason for being) members of clan or society. Governments gain political power and patronage by administering standards. Regional blocks and International communities achieve efficiency by preventing conflict and duplication of effort through standards. Standards, very effectively and economically raise the levels of quality, safety, reliability, efficiency and commutability. Standards are negatively used to reduce competition, for promoting few things, controlling the invention, or formation of new or different knowledge.

Pic from en.wikipedia to Commons. Author Nimur at English Wikipedia

LEVELS OF RELEVANCE

Standards are expected to achieve predictable results, by voluntary concurrence, obligation, or through enforcement. Standards are very powerful means to cause a change or even maintain status quo. The nature of Application of Standards takes many different forms with varying levels of credibility. Acceptance of standards if voluntary ensues a social respect or some form of elite status. The enforcement also may occur with social boycott, penalty or punishment.

Railway couplers have evolved to standard product Image by Attelage_Henricot

Standards

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HOW do STANDARDS emerge ?

Post 422 – by Gautam Shah

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A Standard is that level of Performance or accomplishment which has been selected as an Ideal to which actions or objects may be equated’. Standards emerge as a consensus, from equalization of divergent views, beliefs or concepts. Such a consensus is with intentions of efficiency and commercial advantage.

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The process of Standardization involves two sets of stack-holders, the User and the Provider. The user includes individuals, groups, and Governments. The providers are manufacturers, suppliers and service providers. Standards offer a clear communication platform between User and the Providers, at a relatively low cost and with some degree of efficiency.

compliance rating plate Assurance often beyond standards

Standards do not create iron-clad situations, where only one solution is sought and offered. Standards promote interchangeable parts, replaceable systems and inter polarity of systems by encouraging concepts like ‘Open-Ended-Architecture’, ‘Modulated Plug-in Systems’, ‘Networking’, ‘Shareware’, etc.

Standards for Foods

Standards emerge at many different levels and the process takes sometime to mature. At basic level these are most widely acceptable strategies. But at higher level, a person, an organization or a government department must strive for greater universal participation. Such an active role in the society manifests as a Pursuit for quality for all aspects of being. The pursuit of quality is reflected in: desire to excel, readiness for improvisation, steadfastness to good practices, transparency in dealings, persistence for consistency, wider application.

Coffee testing -often personal standard

Personal standards are subjective as are compiled by a Person, as a ‘collection of bests’, ‘most favoured or representative items’ or ‘my suggestion’. Since these are sensibly picked out items or ideas, represent a Quality Conscience of the Author, and so are personal standards. Personal Standards are valued for the author’s mastery over the subject, then the absolute quality of the material included. Personal standards combined with personal norms for enforcement are often tyrannical. Personal standards describe entities’ physical characteristics, but rarely provide for the ways and means (processes) of achieving it, or even testing it.

Typical examples of personal standards, are: Time saver standards for architecture and interior design, Furniture or item catalogues, Special issues of periodicals, etc.

yerba_mate_on_market_shelf

Standards as a strategic understanding occurs between the competitors and among associates to manage a situation such as: reduce the rivalry, rationalize the methods of production, reduce the costs, enhance the image of the product, form a cartel to ward off the nonmembers etc. Such standards also emerge without any distinct effort, by ‘followers of the same path’, to strategy for similar actions. A Work-Culture or Faith comradery develops among the practitioners.

Gold Smith -compulsory to work with a Guild

Standards of clan or cast: Members of Clan or Cast can have a tacit or formal understanding for acting in unison. Such understandings are of usually negative dictates and are very restrictive. These understandings or standards sustain the livelihood by protecting the exclusive or patent know-how, and by regulating the competition among the members. The standards are of behavioural norms and less of technological specifications. Clans and casts flourish by acting in consonance with the Rulers or Government. Over a period of time the divergent policies and directives of the clans get rationalized as the Code of Conduct. Such Codes relate to personal behaviour, formation and conduct of commercial activities, use of resources including the environment, safety measures, risks management, manufacturing, handling and disposing of the materials, and trade practices relating to the weights, measures, economic transactions, employment, etc.

Indians at a Hudson Bay Company trading post Buyers Virtual standards

Virtual standards come into effect when major users and providers like Government departments (defence, railways, etc.) who are intensive formatters of rules. Their needs become de-facto standards. These agencies have the advantages of testing facilities, supervisory mechanisms, and experience for rationalizing the work procedures. These are Standards by Preference and Prevalence.

Standardization Mark for Indian National Flag

National standards have a strong indigenous origin, because materials and human skills, both have strong local character and advantage. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in India, and National Standards agencies in many countries of the world, operate as a Standards Formulating, Licensing, and Enforcing-agency. Whereas some governments like USA, act only as a Facilitating agency, encouraging the trade organizations and technical associations to take the lead in not only developing standards, but for their enforcement.

Governments during the later part of 20th century found it easier to frame laws along with formulation of standards. In many small countries, standards for only very urgent and acute requirements are integrated into the legislation. ‘Formulation of Standards’ and Legislation is considered to be the same.

Merchants have sought methods to minimize risks since early times. Pictured, Governors of the Wine Merchant’s Guild by Ferdinand Bol, c. 1680.

International standards emerged when vastly differing national standards created problems of compatibility. National standards are designed to serve the national interests, which are protectionist, restrictive and negative in nature. National standards cover only the exigent needs of the nation, so do not serve the interests of regional economic activities. To create universally acceptable charter, nations come together to form International Standards, such as through the ISO.

International Standards do not have Legislative Support or Enforcement backing of a Government. International Standards work on Voluntary Corroboration. Such standards flourish on the realization that greater advantages are earned by following it, rather then not being part of it. Success of International Standards depends on the Rational Confirmation and Wider Acceptance.

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International Management standards are emerging as code or system for participatory operations. International standards were restricting the individual needs and creativity in several manners. First, the formulation and updating of international standards are a slow process, and development or innovation cannot wait for it. Second, the international standards are rather archaic for many. Third, the international standards had no universal legislative backup. So the stack holders would rely on transparency and participation of operations. Fourth, many companies, who wish to surpass the provisions of international standards, are ready to provision necessary assurances for it. Several Management standards as Systems have emerged, that provides for such declarative codes for conduct.

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FORMS OF STANDARDS

 (This article is 4th in the series. 1st= Standards Levels of Relevance, 2nd= Types of Standards, 3rd= Emergence of National and International Standards).

 

Standards may be written descriptions (or conveyed through other media), mathematical formulations, graphical presentations or drawings, all setting forth the important features of objects to be produced, services to be performed, or results to be achieved and verified.

 

Standards for industry may be Qualitative Parameters for constituent raw materials, which can provide a reasonable output. It could be Capabilities of machines and other equipments, which combined with specific human skills help efficient handling of tasks. Standards also specify Tactics and Strategies of securing assured results. It could be devices, instruments and methodologies to verify the performance. Standards could also include mechanisms to connect, operate, maintain and replace systems.

 

Standards invariably incorporate Time as a disciplining factor. Time management through scheduling, sequencing, acceleration, retardation, etc., regulates all events and happenings, and thereby forms the processes.

 

Standards that are applied in an Industrial setting include Engineering Standards, such as properties of materials, fits and tolerances, terminology, and drafting practices. Product Standards describe attributes and ingredients of manufactured items as embodied in drawings, formulas, material lists, descriptions, or models.

 

Updating the Standards: Specifications continuously evolve and so do the Standards. Standards cannot remain purposeful for very long, unless continuously improvised, and their domain enlarged. Some Commercial Standards, as for example, in the fields of Information Technology, Communication protocols and Data Processing are replaced by emergent technologies even before being implemented. ISO (International Standards Organization) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) revise their standards, optimally every five years, but often more frequently. Improvisation updates the specifications included as standards, and enlarges the domain by including many more facets of human activities.

 

PROCESS OF STANDARDIZATION

 

Standardization is a process of identifying common features amongst various Versions of Specifications (personal, clan, trade, etc.) and assimilating them into a common and rational form. A standard emerges from equalization of divergent views, beliefs or concepts, as a consensus with intentions of efficiency and commercial advantage. ‘A Standard is that level of performance or accomplishment which has been selected as an Ideal to which actions or objects may be equated‘.

 

Standardization allows for clear communication between User and Suppliers, at a relatively low cost and with some degree of efficiency. Standards allow for interchangeable parts, replaceable systems and inter polarity of systems by encouraging concepts like: ‘Open-Ended-Architecture‘, ‘Modulated Plug-in Systems‘, ‘Networking‘, ‘Shareware‘, ‘Systems thinking’.

TYPES OF STANDARDS

 

(This article is 2nd in the series. 1st was Standards Levels of Relevance.)

Standards emerge at many different levels. At basic level these are very widely acceptable strategies. But at higher level, a person, an organization or a government department must strive for greater universal participation. Such an active role in the society occurs as a quest for quality for all aspects of being. The quest for quality is reflected through: desire to excel, readiness for improvisation, steadfastness to good practices, transparency in dealings, persistence for consistency, wider application.

PERSONAL STANDARDS

Standards at a very primary level are compiled by a Person, as a ‘collection of bests’, ‘most favoured or representative items’ or ‘my suggestion’. Since these are carefully picked out items, represent a Quality Conscience of the Author and so, are personal standards. Personal Standards are valued for the author’s mastery over the subject, rather, then the absolute quality of the included material. Personal standards combined with personal norms for enforcement are often tyrannical. Specifications that establish personal standards describe entities’ physical characteristics, but rarely provide the ways and means (processes) of achieving or even testing it.

Typical examples of personal standards are: Time saver standards for architecture and interior design, Furniture or item catalogues, Special issues of periodicals, etc.

STANDARDS AS A STRATEGIC UNDERSTANDING

Standards can be a strategic understanding, among the competitors or between the associates to manage a situation such as: reduce the rivalry, rationalise the methods of production, reduce the costs, enhance the image of the product, form a cartel to ward off the non-members etc. Such standards also emerge without any distinct effort, as ‘followers of the same path’, empathetically sustain similar actions. A work-culture or faith comradery develops among the practitioners.

STANDARDS OF CLAN OR CAST

Members of clan or cast can have a tacit or formal understanding for acting in unison. Such understandings are of usually negative dictates and are very restrictive. These understandings or standards sustain the livelihood by protecting the exclusive or patent know-how, and by regulating the competition among the members. The standards are more of the norms for behavioural and less of technological specifications. Clans and casts flourish by acting in consonance with the Rulers or Government. Which, in turn enhances their governance by politically acknowledging such practices. Over a period of time the divergent policies and directives of the clans get rationalised as the Code of Conduct. Such Codes relate to personal behaviour, formation and conduct of commercial activities, use of resources including the environment, safety measures, risks management, manufacturing, handling and disposing of the materials, and trade practices relating to the weights, measures, economic transactions, employment, etc.

VIRTUAL STANDARDS

Some major Consumers, Government departments like defence, because of vast scales of their operations, are prolific creators of specifications, and their needs become virtual standards. These agencies can afford to operate testing facilities for the purchases, and have enough supervision expertise for rationalizing the work procedures.

In India, Railways and Public works departments are some of the agencies that dominate the realm of commercial activities. Whatever is consumed by them become the commercially the most viable item. In USA the Government (mainly in defence establishments) allows specifications to be only performance oriented. These are Standards by Preference and Prevalence and are, a commercial reality.

PROCESS OF STANDARDIZATION

 

Standardization is a process of identifying common features amongst various Versions of Specifications (personal, clan, trade, etc.) and assimilating them into a common and rational form. A standard emerges from equalization of divergent views, beliefs or concepts, as a consensus with intentions of efficiency and commercial advantage. ‘A Standard is that level of performance or accomplishment which has been selected as an Ideal to which actions or objects may be equated‘.

 

Standardization allows for clear communication between User and Suppliers, at a relatively low cost and with some degree of efficiency. Standards allow for interchangeable parts, replaceable systems and inter polarity of systems by encouraging concepts like: ‘Open-Ended-Architecture‘, ‘Modulated Plug-in Systems‘, ‘Networking‘, ‘Shareware‘, ‘Systems thinking’.

 

Updating the Standards: Specifications continuously evolve and so do the Standards. Standards cannot remain purposeful for very long, unless continuously improvised, and their domain enlarged. Some Commercial Standards, as for example, in the fields of Information Technology, Communication protocols and Data Processing are replaced by emergent technologies even before being implemented. ISO (International Standards Organization) and BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) revise their standards, optimally every five years, but often more frequently. Improvisation updates the specifications included as standards, and enlarges the domain by including many more facets of human activities.