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CASE STUDIES: Increased Efficiency

Case Studies: Increased Efficiency
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 offer strategic opportunities for increased efficiency:
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Gerfer is a Columbian multinational company serving the plastics and synthetic fibers sector of the petrochemical industry. It is one of the leading South American companies in the production and commercialization of PVC and CPVC pipings and fittings for the construction and sewerage industries including tiles, covers, faucets, and solvent cement.

On a daily basis, Gerfer uses over 200 technical standards and management systems in the areas of research and development, product design, engineering, production, procurement, sales, purchasing, and marketing from national and international standards organizations like the Colombian Institute of Technical Standards and Certification (ICONTEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), ASTM International, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Participating in standards development for more than 20 years has led Gerfer to achieve savings of over five million dollars annually. Using standards allows Gerfor to expand their domestic market, meeting and driving demand for quality products; access international markets by fulfilling market entry conditions; optimize internal operations increasing productivity and efficiency through continuous improvements of systems and processes; ensure the quality of supplies; and, build consumer confidence.

Gerfer CEO Jose María Escova explains, “Standards implementation has put us at the vanguard, and at the forefront of our competition. At an international level we could not be competitive if we did not comply with standards. We are sure that the application of standards opens us the doors of new markets. The benefits far exceed expectations.”

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– Gerfer; International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

The Army Materiel Command (AMC) develops, acquires, maintains, and distributes materiels needed by warfighters from idea to factory to foxhole, including meals, uniforms, ammunition, communications, and weapons systems.

In 2007, a central library was created to consolidate all standards-related information to be managed by a single office and accessible to the entire AMC enterprise through a web-based portal, supporting a buy once but use often approach to standards and specifications. The program is now serving more than 20,000 engineers and scientists.

Not only are quality, access, and oversight greatly improved, but a substantial $3.5 million per year in cost avoidance is achieved. Furthermore, the significant reduction in cost and the improved management of government-owned intellectual property increased the stability, security, access to, and use of standards-related information across the AMC enterprise. In addition to cutting its costs, AMC cut research time reducing the users’ need for the services of scientists and engineers, an additional cost avoidance of more than $2.5 million per year.

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– Army Materiel Command

HP, along with some of the world's largest printer, smartphone, and tablet manufacturers develop universal standards that support a simple and seamless way to print or scan from mobile devices via the Mopria Alliance. Along with the rise of mobile connected devices, the market has seen an uptick in the demand for mobile printing and scanning, which increases personal and business productivity.

However, up until September 2013, printing from Android mobile devices was a big issue for many users, as there was no standardized and easy way to print and scan from these mobile devices.

As part of a solution to this issue, and to improve the user experience, HP joined printer manufacturers, smartphone and tablet manufacturers, software companies, and mobile app developers to form the Mopria Alliance in 2013.

Mopria Alliance’s mission is to provide universal standards to simplify solutions for scan and print and ease the pain of printing from smartphones and tablets. Mopria develops standards offering a simple and seamless way to print or scan to any Mopria certified printer, multifunction printer, or scanner.

The creation of the Mopria Alliance has helped to expand the market access, and promote interoperability and an intuitive mobile print solution. In addition to a focus on standardization, the alliance also established a certification and conformance program to build consumer trust and assurance. This open industry initiative represents the value of standardization and the power of collaboration when there is a shared goal and need.

As per the December 2020 Mopria Alliance report, the Mopria print technology has been installed on more than 2 billion devices. There are currently more than 120 million Mopria certified printers from 24 printer companies with 5000+ certified printer models.

– HP

In 2004 Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 12, Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors, was issued to address the lack of government‐wide secure identity mechanisms for federal employees and contractors. Under HSPD’s authority, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 201, Personal Identity Verification (PIV) of Federal Employees and Contractors. The guideline was developed through a public-private partnership utilizing biometric standards developed by the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) M1, Biometrics Technical Committee, and International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 37, Biometrics, (ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 37).

FIPS 201 defines a reliable, government‐wide PIV card as a smart‐card based solution with on‐card common credentials and authentication mechanisms that can be used to verify the identity of federal employees and contractors. To enable interoperability, NIST issued several special publications outlining the mandatory format for biometric data carried in the PIV data model. The biometric records are required to be wrapped in a PIV instantiation metadata structure specified in INCITS 398, Information Technology - Common Biometric Exchange Formats Framework (CBEFF). INCITS 378, Information Technology - Finger Minutiae Format for Data Interchange, and INCITS 381, Information Technology - Finger Image-Based Data Interchange Format, establishconformance requirements for fingerprint records. And INCITS 385, Information Technology - Face Recognition Format for Data Interchange, definesconformance requirements for facial image records. FIPS 201 also includes specifications of an optional iris biometric record, which affords an alternative to fingerprint-based authentication and chain-of-trust maintenance. Iris image requirements are based on ISO/IEC 19794-6:2011, Information Technology - Biometric Data Interchange Formats - Part 6: Iris Image Data. And specifications for on-card comparison leverage ISO/IEC 19794-2:2011, Information Technology - Biometric Data Interchange Formats - Part 2: Finger Minutiae Data.

According to the White House of Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as of September 1, 2012, over five million federal employees and contractors (over 97 percent of employees and 88 percent of contractors) have been issued PIV cards.

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– InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS)

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)

Since 1938, luxury automaker Bentley has housed their entire operations – from design to production to sales – in one historic location in Crewe, England. Throughout the years Bentley has faced the challenge of updating their famous plant to meet the standards of modern motor manufacturing, while at the same time leading the industry in engineering, skills, employment, and environmental performance.

To develop an energy monitoring system through a measurable, systematic approach, Bentley implemented ISO 50001: 2011, Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, a voluntary international standard that establishes a framework for small and large industrial plants, and commercial, institutional, and government facilities to improve the way they manage energy, including energy performance, efficiency, use, and consumption.

By implementing ISO 50001, Bentley has been able to establish sophisticated energy monitoring systems, target areas of energy fissures, and create strategies for improvement in areas covering the use of their boiler and compressed air systems, technology, heating and lighting, insulation, and more efficient variable speed drives on new cars. As a result, Bentley reduced energy usage by two-thirds for each car produced and by 14% overall for the entire plant, delivering savings of 230 GWh of energy – enough to power 11,500 houses for a year.

– International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Immediately after the tragedies of September 11, 2001, the virtues of biometrics were debated by many. In response, a significant amount of research and development, testing, and education was launched for biometric applications within border control, document security, data integrity, and identity management. The need to achieve one-to-one verification for linking a passport to its rightful owner led the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to strive to utilize biometrics as a vital tool in combination with other technologies for global interoperability of e-passport specifications.

To facilitate the goal of global interoperability, ICAO Document 9303 Part 1, Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRTD), leveraged standards developed by International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission Joint Technical Committee 1, Subcommittee 37, Biometrics, (ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 37). Data formats covering biometrics for face, finger, and iris images were published in ISO/IEC 19794, Information Technology - Biometric data interchange formats, and a logical data structure (LDS) instantiation in ISO/IEC 19785, Information Technology - Common Biometric Exchange Formats Framework (CBEFF), was used as a definition to contain the data. These standards supported ICAO’s selection of facial recognition as the globally interoperable biometric for machine-assisted identity confirmation for MRTD, with the option to incorporate specifications for finger and iris images as well.

More than fifteen years later, deployment of e-passports, considered to be the most secure in the world, is well underway. ICAO estimates that as of December 2012 there were 430 million e-passports issued by 108 nations using the JTC 1 SC37 standards. This program serves as a model for effective collaboration and cooperation - between industry through subcommittees of ISO/IEC JTC 1, and the governments of the world through ICAO.

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– International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) faced the challenge of linking millions of records from numerous different facilities using various information systems to create a cohesive patient-centric view of information. DFWHC was previously limited to analyzing information at the encounter rather than the patient level. This made it impossible for DFWHC to look at all visits for a single patient within or across entities and limited the ability to analyze data and identify trends.

DFWHC worked in partnership with QuadraMed to implement QuadraMed’s Smart I/X EMPI (enterprise master person index) software for record matching. This resulted in the ability to link inpatient to outpatient hospitalization encounters, link multiple outpatient encounters, calculate readmission rates, link research data to inpatient and outpatient databases, support research activity to improve healthcare delivery, track infections, and develop episodic metrics and analytic capability to evaluate chronic illnesses models.

DFWHC was ultimately able to link 7.4 million records from 136 hospitals, achieving a patient-centric view of inpatient and outpatient clinical information for research and reporting that can be used to evaluate and improve patient safety and care across the region. These advancements have led to the beginning stages of a regional health information exchange (HIE). And because the regional EMPI conforms to Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) profiles, which organize and leverage the integration capabilities that can be achieved by coordinated implementation of communication standards, it can be expanded to manage a future HIE.

– Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council; Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMSS) Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE)

During the 1980s, the Army was using more than 350 different types of 1.5-volt to 30-volt batteries, consuming nearly 20% of a typical Army unit’s annual budget. In 1996, the Army spent $100 million on batteries and battery expenditures, and portable power requirements of the digitized battlefield were increasing the demand for more powerful primary and rechargeable batteries. A 1996 audit cited that, during a three year period, the Army could reduce expenditures 66% by using rechargeable batteries for training, and could save another $1.9 million if five selected units switched solely to rechargeable batteries.

Through standardization of primary and rechargeable batteries, the Army achieved a higher level of battery interchangeability and unit readiness within military units and across joint and combined operations. The Army decreased battery types used from more than 350 to 35, with a goal to standardize to 25. The Army now spends $75 million a year on battery purchases for all applications, a 25% reduction from its 1996 baseline. During the first four years alone, the Army saved more than $43 million, of that more than $30 million was related to rechargeable batteries. In the end, the Army met audit expectations by reducing expenditures on batteries by 66% over a three year period.

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– U.S. Army

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

CCP Composites is a world leader in the production and distribution of gel coats, composites polyester resins, coatings resins, and emulsions.  Between 1998 and 2005, the company’s Houston, Texas synthetic resin manufacturing plant experienced a dramatic increase in energy expenditures, with an escalation of more than 100% in annual energy costs.  And in 2008, energy was the second largest cost for the plant, accounting for about 20% of the plant’s operating budget.

To help control these exorbitant costs, CCP Composites partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (formerly the Industrial Technologies Program) to implement a management system for energy in accordance with the Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program.  SEP provides facilities with a roadmap for achieving continual improvement in energy performance while maintaining competitiveness by use of a transparent system for verifying energy performance improvement and energy management practices through the application of ISO 50001: 2011, Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use.

CCP Composites’ Houston plant achieved a 14.9% improvement in energy efficiency over a two-year period; 31,700 million British thermal units of energy saved; and $250,000 in cost savings per year.  The Houston plant became an SEP Gold Certified Partner in 2010 using ANSI/MSE 2000:2008, an American National Standard for Energy Management Systems, and has a management system in place to proactively manage the facility’s energy resources in the future so it will continue to sustain improvements in energy performance.  CCP plans to become recertified using ISO 50001.

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– U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Superior Energy Performance (SEP)

India has over 1.2 billion residents, many of whom do not have identification documents, calling for the Indian government to launch one of the world’s largest identity assurance systems utilizing biometrics standards. In 2009 India established the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) to develop a system for resident identification. UIDAI developed the Aadhaar (translation: foundation) system, which allows social services, government agencies, financial institutions, and other registrars to collect basic biographic information as well as fingerprint, iris, and facial images from residents.

Authentication through the use of international biometric standards facilitated the success of the Aadhaar system. For example, ISO/IEC 19794, Information Technology - Biometric data interchange formats, provided specifications on biometrics for face, finger, and iris images used in e-passports. Aadhaar also utilized ISO/IEC 19794-2:2011, Information Technology - Biometric data interchange formats - Part 2: Finger minutiae data, for authentication purposes. And ISO/IEC 19785, Information Technology - Common Biometric Exchange Formats Framework (CBEFF), for packaging the biometric data, provided common structure, metadata, and security guidelines.

The Aadharr system provides online, cost‐effective, ubiquitous authentication services using biometric tools. The use of biometrics improves de‐duplication accuracy using multiple modalities (ten fingerprints, two irises, and the face). Over sixty thousand active enrollment stations and sixty registrars across India are currently involved, including state governments and service providers, financial institutions, and the postal system. More than 200 million citizens from nearly all Indian states have been enrolled to date, and projections estimate that number will top 600 million by 2014.

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International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

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)

Health care information standards enable pathologists to create and share information in a manner that is cost-effective and of high quality, promoting patient safety and re-use of health care information.

– College of American Pathologists

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.