What are standards?

Standards are the best way to do something. But why are they important? And how can they help your organisation?
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Standards are the best way to do something

Standards are best practices. They describe the best way to do something. Like making a product, delivering a service or managing a process. Think A4 paper size, the 4G network or agreements around fire safety.

Standards, sometimes called standards, are ubiquitous in our daily lives and workplaces. Thanks to standards, we have safe toys, quality mouth masks, energy-efficient buildings, clear online privacy policies and so on.

Wondering why standards are also useful for your Organisation?

Why standards are important

Everyone benefits from using standards: governments, industry, but also the consumer. You and me, that is.

consumer sectionWhy standards matter to businessesWhy standards matter to governments
consumer section
Consumers: You and I also benefit from standards. For example, there are standards for safety of products and services, better quality of products or safer infrastructure (such as Eurocodes)
Companies: standards provide guidelines around, for example, quality and characteristics of a service or product, agreements in a value chain and working methods with clear communication.
Why standards matter to governments
Governments: governments can use standards to develop sustainable policies. For example, around human rights, energy and water efficiency or public health.

How standards help your organisation

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Want to know the perfect approach for ensuring quality within your organisation ?
Discover the ISO 9001 standard for quality management.
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Looking for the best way to protect your business from fire?
Meet the fire safety standards for buildings.
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Is maximum data protection and privacy crucial for your company?
There are standards to help you comply with European GDPR regulations.

Different types of standards

There are four types of standards:

What's in a name

Each standard name is identically structured: first the code with an abbreviation and serial number, then the year edition and finally the title.

For example:

NBN S 21-100-1:2021 Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 1

Code: NBN S (abbreviation) 21-100-1 (sequence number)
Annual Edition: 2021
Title: Fire detection and fire alarm systems - Part 1

TIP: Want to know what these abbreviations mean? Learn about the international standards bodies.