A Perspective on Standards

Dec. 17, 2007
This whitepaper by Rockwell Automation, explores how companies can gain competitive advantage by increasing their standards and regulations involvement.

There’s a bitter taste stirring in the chocolate industry as chocolate lovers worry that a standard that defines what is truly chocolate may melt away. Those who favour keeping the 100-percent cocoa butter standard say the opposition is trying to lower the bar on chocolate quality. At issue is a trade association’s proposed change to the Food and Drug Administration Standards of Identity that would allow manufacturers to make chocolate with cocoa butter substitutes. Passions are bubbling on both sides of the pot.

As this sweet tooth example demonstrates, the standards process stirs emotion and calls for action. Never has it been more important that corporate leadership pays attention as standards have become critical to a business’ ability to compete and survive in an increasingly regulated and complex global marketplace.

Standards, as described by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Stan Anderson, senior counsel to the President, “are regulations that affect our everyday lives. They govern the food we eat and the packaging it comes in, the water we drink, the medications we take, the television programs we watch, and a myriad of other aspects in our lives. The need for standards is understandable, even desirable, as standards often protect us.”

The context we’ll use in this discussion for standards refers collectively to the areas of standards, regulatory compliance and conformity assessment. Standards are crucial to all global manufacturing industry stakeholders including automation and controls suppliers, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), and end-user manufacturers.

End users demand that their automation systems work safely and securely in plants around the world, with increased reliability, precision and accuracy while also conserving natural resources and minimizing environmental impact. Suppliers continuously seek to deliver innovative solutions to efficiently and cost-effectively meet these end-user demands.