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CASE STUDIES: Consumer Confidence

Case Studies: Consumer Confidence
Companies across the nation rely on standards and conformance to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and boost market access for their products and services. Here are a few examples of how standards and conformance garner consumer confidence:
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Standards and Conformance Keep Toys Safe, Build Consumer Confidence

In the summer of 2007, headlines across the country declared that toys on store shelves were unsafe. Lead paint was a key issue, as was the perceived lack of testing and inspection done by manufacturers and regulators alike, in this case the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

What went wrong? Who was to blame? And how can we quickly fix the problem? These questions were the focus of much media interest, consumer concern, and congressional attention.

As S. Joe Bhatia, president and CEO of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), stated during a congressional hearing in September 2007, “This hearing is necessary not because there is an issue with existing standards, but because some suppliers – particularly those who are exporting products to U.S. soil – are not complying with the rigorous standards and regulations that have been established to keep our citizens safe.”

In other words, strong toy safety standards had been in place, including ASTM International’s F963, which was introduced in 1986 and is subject to a continuous review process to address potential emerging safety issues and new product features. But manufacturers and suppliers – many operating overseas – were not complying with safety standards. They were not holding their products up to the appropriate quality control measures. And because the CPSC had been relying upon manufacturers to complete the appropriate testing and conformance procedures, the CPSC was not prepared or staffed to handle all the inspection duties that the public, media, and congress felt it should be taking on.

In the wake of this crisis of confidence, the standardization community sprang into action, and three key solutions arose:

  • ANSI and the Toy Industry Association (TIA) together formed the Toy Safety Coordination Initiative (TSCI) to put in place immediate recommendations for more comprehensive and effective toy safety conformance measures. ANSI and TIA also collaborated on the Toy Safety Certification Program (TSCP), where ANSI was named the official third-party accreditor of TSCP’s product certification bodies.
  • The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) – focused heavily on children’s products – mandated that toys and other children’s products be tested for compliance by a third-party CPSC-accepted laboratory (as opposed to the CPSC performing testing duties itself).
  • The CPSIA also specifically cited ASTM F963 as the mandatory consumer product safety rule for all toys sold in the United States.

Given the nature of the toy business – with constant innovation and a complex global supply chain – it was especially key that safety solutions focus on private-sector leadership. The U.S. CPSC has no authority to inspect manufacturing facilities in foreign countries, and not enough bandwidth to inspect all toys shipped into the U.S. for sale. But by relying upon nimble, consensus-based, private-sector standards, and by relying upon recognized third-party testing rather than just taking a supplier’s “word for it,” a much stronger and more effective toy safety system has arisen. Today’s consumers trust in the safety of toys on store shelves, and that confidence speaks to the power of private-sector standards and conformity assessment.

– American National Standards Institute.

When Congress was initially working to pass the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 (PSIA) they wanted to apply the liquid integrity rule used for liquid pipelines to gas pipelines, which would require in-line inspection of the entire system every five years.  However, gas pipelines transport a compressible fluid, may have significant diameter restrictions, and are more challenging to maintain than liquid lines.  A gas rule similar to the liquid rule would have cost the industry many billions of dollars to retrofit the pipelines and would have resulted in untold numbers of customer shut-offs to modify and inspect the lines.

In response, a coordinated public-private effort including pipeline operators, manufacturers, suppliers, consumers, and federal and state regulators bought about the development of ASME B31.8S, Managing System Integrity of Gas Pipelines ASME Code for Pressure Piping. After thorough technical studies and research, Congressional staff found this American National Standard (ANS) vital to the success of the PSIA. The standard has become a cornerstone of the Act and has since aided in improving the safety and integrity of pipelines, reducing accidents and injuries to workers, increasing regulator and consumer confidence in pipelines, and enhancing current and future infrastructure.  The net cost for the gas pipeline industry to implement PSIA utilizing ASME B31.8S is $4.7 billion over the next 20 years as compared with the initial estimated cost of $10.9 billion over the same period – a $6.2 billion savings to industry and consumers.

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– ASME (the American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

While our products feature unique components that differentiate us from our competitors, we also rely on enabling components like fittings and fasteners that can be produced to standards and be available “off the shelf.”

Contributing our knowledge to develop these standards made good sense. The more standardized components we can use to deliver reliable functionality, the less we, and our customers, have to pay.

– Deere & Company

InfoComm International serves the AV communications industry through education, certification, and other activities that enhance the AV industry and foster competent technicians. Through the InfoComm Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) credentialing program, the only AV certification recognized by ANSI and ISO, companies that employ CTS staff can save money on their liability insurance.

While the amount of savings that a company can achieve varies based on the percentage of certified staff and the positions they hold, companies that employ staff with CTS credentials could earn up to a 25% reduction on insurance rates. Because the CTS exam has been recognized as a fair assessment of an individual’s audiovisual knowledge based on peer-developed standards of competencies, insurance companies are willing to extend lower rates to companies who utilize the CTS program.

Investing in the CTS program offers a return on investment when purchasing insurance, and discounted insurance provides further proof that more industries are becoming aware of the benefits and cost savings of credentialing.

– InfoComm International

South African hotel and entertainment management company Tsogo Sun Group faced the challenge of preparing workers and enhancing facilities for natural or man-made hazards that might arise during the 2010 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. American National Standard ASIS SPC.1-2009, Organizational Resilience: Security, Preparedness, and Continuity Management Systems - Requirements with Guidance for Use, was chosen as the most comprehensive management systems approach for security, preparedness, response, mitigation, business/operational continuity, and recovery for disruptive incidents resulting in an emergency, crisis, or disaster.

Rather than pursue third-party certification due to time and cost constraints, the hotel group established an internal team to execute rigorous auditing of the implementation of the standard. The team completed the ISO 28000 Lead Auditor Course, the same course required for third-party certification body auditors. After communicating project goals company-wide and soliciting input from employees at all levels of the organization, a six-level phased implementation was coordinated engaging all employees. The phased approach with a framework of steps made implementation more manageable, resulting in maximum buy-in and compliance. The process ensured that gaps were addressed and previous work was integrated into a focused and comprehensive plan for organizational resilience.

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– ASIS; Tsogo Sun Group

Standards are a vehicle of communication for producers and users. They serve as a common language, defining quality and establishing safety criteria.

Costs are lower if procedures are standardized; training is also simplified.


In the 1970s, hospitals began using computers to process digital medical images. Initially, most devices stored images in a propriety format and transferred these files over an internal network or on removable media. These incompatible systems made images inconsistent and sharing information difficult, expensive, unreliable and inefficient. In order for physicians, hospitals and patients to fully reap the benefits from digital medical images and information, the medical community called for interoperability and a standard method for transmitting medical images and their associated information.

In 1983, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) formed a joint committee to create a standard method for transmitting medical images and their associated information. Within ten years the standard grew to utilize computer network standards and was renamed Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM). DICOM includes standards not only for images but also for patient records, studies, reports and other data groupings, and has contributed to improvements in image quality and presentation consistency.

The DICOM standard permits the transfer of medical images in a multi-vendor environment; provides a strong base for developing and expanding picture archiving and communication systems; and supports interfacing with medical information systems. DICOM is utilized in virtually every medical profession that uses images including cardiology, dentistry, endoscopy, mammography, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pathology, pediatrics, radiation therapy, radiology, surgery, as well as veterinary applications. As patient information transfers to digital forms, all Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems that include imaging information as part of the patient record will require DICOM.

Ultimately, the benefit falls to the patient. Physicians have better access to images and reports allowing them to make a faster diagnosis, potentially from anywhere in the world. As a result, patients can obtain faster, more effective care.

- The DICOM Standard’s Development and Maintenance is Managed by the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

Sound technical standards benefit the user, as well as the manufacturer, by improving safety, bringing about economies in production, eliminating misunderstandings between manufacturer and purchaser, and assisting the purchaser in selecting and obtaining the proper product to meet his or her need. In addition, the process of standardization allows manufacturers to come together to reach consensus on the best way to describe a product or system and their performance characteristics.

NEMA product groups devote much of their time, effort, and resources to voluntary standardization activities.

– National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

In 1997 INCITS (the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) jointly published INCITS/ISO/IEC 14772-1, Information Technology - Computer Graphics and Image Processing - Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML).  At the time, VRML was the leading international standard used to integrate three-dimensional (3D) capabilities in graphics and multimedia.  But in time dramatic improvements in the capabilities of graphics hardware evolved, new internet technologies emerged, and disparate 3D application needs surfaced, so the VRML standard needed to be dramatically updated if it was to stay relevant and useable within the application domain.

Led by ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC24, Computer graphics, Image Processing and Environmental Data Representation, and supported by INCITS technical committee H3-Computer Graphics & Image Processing serving as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC24, the goal of the new standard, nicknamed X3D (Extensible 3D), was to include a rich set of features to support applications such as engineering and scientific visualization, multimedia presentations, entertainment and educational titles, web pages, and shared virtual worlds.

As a result, ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC24 was published as the first X3D international standard released in the mid-2000s and designed for sharing interactive 3D graphics on the internet, between applications, and across distributed networks and web services.  The most recent edition of X3D, ISO/IEC 19775-1:2013, Information technology - Computer graphics, image processing and environmental data representation - Extensible 3D (X3D), has evolved to have broad application in science and engineering, modelling and simulation, computer-aided design (CAD), healthcare, mixed augmented and virtual reality, geospatial presentations, and education and training.

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– INCITS (the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and Web3D Consortium

Standards have been essential to the growth of photography and imaging, from the first reloadable consumer cameras to the complex graphic workflows of today's commercial printing and publishing industries.

Throughout our history, Kodak has been a leader in developing, adopting, and promoting industry standards to meet the needs and expand the capabilities of our products and services.

– Eastman Kodak Company

Since its initial release in 1994, CP-01, Control Panel Standard –Features for False Alarm Reduction, has significantly contributed to the nearly 70 percent reduction in false intrusion alarms reported to law enforcement. Moreover, during the past 16 years, sales of new alarm system panels have doubled.

In the mid-1990s, the security industry was making huge technological advances in their residential and commercial security panels. However, market presence, consumer confidence, and law enforcement acceptance was undermined by the number of false alarms generated by user error. Among other issues, emergency buttons were too easily triggered, entry and exit times were being set to low, optional communication delays were not being utilized, and system resets were not sequenced properly after power failures. CP-01 addressed many of these problems, and the standard continues to be revised, most recently in May 2010, to meet ever-changing technological demands.

The CP-01 standard has not only allowed dealers, installers and monitoring companies to thrive in communities where local law enforcement had threatened to implement a non-response policy, it has also opened new business by boosting public confidence in the reliability of security systems and convincing officials in several areas to relax what had been very stringent response policies.

The success of the CP-01 panels in curtailing user errors and reducing false alarms was so profound that the National Sheriff’s Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police passed simultaneous national resolutions recommending that all law enforcement jurisdictions require its use for new installations. As a result, hundreds of agencies have included such mandates in their ordinances, and at least three states have enacted laws requiring panels to be CP-01 compliant.

– Security Industry Association (SIA)

The financial services industry benefits in many ways from standardization. Banking and financial transactions (card/retail, corporate, credit, payments, securities, etc.) are made up of standards, including codes, transaction sets, data, and more.

Banks and financial services companies rely on data security standards to protect transactions. Standards allow financial transactions to flow with "straight through processing" in an efficient, effective, and secure manner.

– Accredited Standards Committee X9, Financial Industry Standards

Industry standards used in tree care management provide the baseline knowledge for all our industry education and credentialing programs. In addition, they are used as the basis for most large commercial, municipal, utility, and governmental contracting.

These standards are so essential to the services our industry provides, it would be difficult for our organization or our member companies to place a concrete value on them.

– Tree Care Industry Association

Safety standard compliance allows us to mark our products accordingly and show customers, installers, and inspectors that we meet the safety requirements for the device.

Showing compliance where others can't gives us an edge.

– Tigo Energy Inc.

MedCentral Health System in Ohio needed to streamline its chart abstraction functions to enable it to efficiently meet increasing federal and state core measures reporting requirements. They were looking for a tool that would integrate seamlessly into their current clinical and financial departments and ancillary information systems.

Previously, MedCentral had no data mining applications; they relied on manual chart abstractions. Manually abstracting information buried in many different systems from many different departments can swamp healthcare organizations and poses a serious obstacle to calculating and reporting core measures in a timely manner. And when patient-quality issues are identified, isolating contributing factors can be an arduous task, dramatically slowing down and impeding the ability of a hospital to correct quality problems.

MedCentral looked to Siemens Soarian® Quality Measures for a solutions. Soarian® Quality Measures uses Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) interoperability specifications in its methods for obtaining patient clinical information, and then evaluates and reports on quality measures based on that information.

By adopting the HITSP specifications and initiating use of EHR technologies, MedCentral’s core measures reporting requirements became less burdensome to facilities and enhanced the reporting processes. In addition, MedCentral experienced improved accuracy of chart abstractions and is now positioned to more effectively manage patient quality issues.

– Siemens; Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMSS) Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE)

Standards are critical to our global licensing and registration program. They enable manufacturers all over the globe to provide equipment that meets the requirements of the oil and gas industry users.

By using standards, the purchasing, oil, and gas industry user communities can source quality products all over the globe.

– American Petroleum Institute (API)

Standards allow more organizations to offer sought-after products and services, thereby increasing innovation, competitiveness, and quality while reducing costs and duplicate efforts.

– Wincor Nixdorf Inc. USA

Beyond the bottom line: standards impact quality, lead-time, factory flexibility, and supply chain management.
Standardization and conformity assessment activities lead to lower costs by reducing redundancy, minimizing errors, and reducing time to market.
Demonstrating compliance to standards helps your products, services, and personnel to cross borders. Standards also make cross-border interoperability possible, ensuring that products manufactured in one country can be sold and used in another.
Businesses not only reduce the economic risk of their research and development activities by participating in standardization, they can also lower their overall R&D costs by relying on previously standardized technologies and terminologies.