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Abstract

An NSO’s core services relate to developing standards. Often, distributing standards is a second area of services, and providing information concerning standards sometimes a third. Moreover, in practice, some NSOs add other service areas, such as, testing and certification. This chapter examines these services, but not exhaustively. They are discussed only in as far as they are related to standards development. Therefore, the questions to be addressed are:
  • Can an organization involved in standards development also be “good” at these other activities?

  • Do these activities reinforce each other and/or standards development or is there any danger that they interfere with each other or the process of standards development?

Keywords

Information Service Core Competence Business Unit Standardization Service Standard Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. 1.
    For example, NSOs offer platform services for parties to come to an agreement on standards. Another possible service would be that NSO officers could participate in standardization committees on behalf of companies. This second service, however, would affect the NSO’s independent position necessary for the first service.Google Scholar
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    In NNI practice, the selling department, when necessary, contacts technical officers who, subsequently, can ask members of their committees. At this point, NNI’s selling department can offer better service than a mail-order company could.Google Scholar
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    The non-profit character of some NSOs is under pressure, especially if they have a lot of commercial activities. BSI, for instance, earns most of its income in testing and certification and carries out these activities in a competitive market, all over the world.Google Scholar
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    Without money from standards selling the daily rate for NNI’s standardization consultants would have been ca. USD 200 more.Google Scholar
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    For example, the American National Standards Network (Mercer, 1995; http://www.nssn.org), Australian standards publishing via the Internet (Pontoni, 1998b).Google Scholar
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    This article has been chosen because it offers an overview of aspects related to standards in electronic form from a company’s point of view.Google Scholar
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    See Section 5.8.Google Scholar
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    PDF = Portable Document Format.Google Scholar
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    HTML = Hyper-Text Markup Language.Google Scholar
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    The need for withdrawn standards is related to their installed base — see Subsection 4.4.2.Google Scholar
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    See the listing in Annex 1. NSOs that earn 50% or more from selling publications include the Netherlands and the Philippines (50%), Norway (64%), and Germany (67%).Google Scholar
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    Standards Australia, for instance, expects to deliver its products and services other regions (Lions, 1998). The IEC (1998d) decided to give its members and IEC Central Office the ability to sell electronic versions of IEC standards over the World Wide Web.Google Scholar
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    This expectation deviates from Toth’s conclusion (1994, p. 21) who says that standards in electronic form will be sold to a considerably larger market beyond the traditional purchasers of standards who, according to him, in many ways were intermediaries. He did not address SMEs.Google Scholar
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    Other reasons are listed in Subsection 6.4.1.Google Scholar
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    NNI was accused of this by an employers organization, who said they should leave this activity to private companies and employers organizations.Google Scholar
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    There was a more direct relation between metrology and NSO information services in the past, due to the major operation of the introduction of the Système International d’unités [SI — the International System for Units]. NSOs were active in campaigns to introduce SI. NNI, for instance, was involved in an SI television course (Smits, 1995, p. 4). Anglo Saxon countries and other countries influenced by them still face problems related to the transition to metric and other SI standards. A recent book addressing this topic is Metric Standards for Worldwide Manufacturing (Kverneland, 1996).Google Scholar
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    People involved in metrology primarily need knowledge and skills in the field of measurement. These rarely overlap with knowledge and skills necessary for standardization services. Markets also differ. Though metrology is based on standards, there are no direct advantages to including metrology in NSO services except that they are both part of the infrastructure necessary for industry. In developing economies, where institutions providing the infrastructure are small, there may be an advantage in combining them, in order to have one service desk for industry and to share office facilities. If they are both governmental agencies, it is self-evident that they are not too far from each other within the administration.Google Scholar
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    An example can be found in the ISO’s Development Manual on conformity assessment (ISO, 1998). The British Standards Institution (BSI) includes BSI Standards and BSI Quality Assurance. These are formally separated. Nevertheless, the latter got the floor in the ISO series of booklets for developing countries to present a one-sided view on these matters, ignoring industry preferences for selfdeclarations of conformity over third-party assessment (Becker, 1997, p. 13; ICSCA, 1997, Resolution 15; Simons, 1990, p. 36), and suggesting a difference between certification bodies set up by NSOs and other certification bodies (Reed, 1998, p. 37).Google Scholar
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    The relative lead of AFNOR in national standards for services might be explained by such a relation with certification (see Section 11.8).Google Scholar
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    Certificates should ensure that the criteria established in the standards are met. The Dutch practice of management systems certification is dubious (Drouven, 1994; Hoogers & De Vries, 1998b; Van Schooten & Ebbinge, 1998; Specifiek, 1997). Individual companies are not in the position to change this situation. The employers organizations could take the initiative, but they also have members that prefer the present situation with cheap certificates (better certification would make certificates more expensive). Certification bodies have a long-term common stake in trustworthy certificates, but short-term individual stakes in getting new customers in a market of fierce competition prevail, so they economize on the costs of inspection at the expense of its quality. Stricter accreditation might cause several certification bodies to terminate their activities, which would reduce the income of accreditation bodies; so they will not take the initiative either. The national government advocates a liberal market ideology and, therefore, prefers to leave these matters to the market. Thus, nobody is taking moves (De Vries, 1998a, p. 22).Google Scholar
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    The International Federation of Standards Users (IFAN, see Section 3.7) requires NSO recognition for national standards users organizations in order to be allowed to be IFAN members (IFAN, 1998a, clause 3.1.1).Google Scholar
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    The 50 members of NKN, the Dutch standards users organizations, account for more than 10% of NNI’s turnover (Source: investigation of NKN among its members).Google Scholar
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    The latter gives NSOs options for service packages for regular customers. Some of them do this in the form of memberships. Standards Australia offers its 17,000 members 20% discount on the price of standards, and a subscription on its monthly magazine. ON (Austria) offers the same, plus a discount on courses and ON happenings. DIN offers a 15% discount on its standards, catalogue, and journal, and a license for a special fee to make copies of DIN standards for in-house purposes and to use them in electronic form in internal networks (Sources: NSO Websites).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk J. de Vries
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus University RotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Nederlands Normalisatie InstituutDelftThe Netherlands

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