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The importance of standards

Author : Alan Franck, Editor, Hazardex

02 July 2015

BSI, the UK-based business standards company, has published independent research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) demonstrating the economic benefits of industrial standards to UK companies. The study analysed the contribution of standards to UK labour productivity between 1921 and 2013 and surveyed 527 companies in seven key sectors.

These were: automotive, energy, aerospace and defence, food and drink manufacturing, ICT, construction, and life sciences.

It concluded that standards contribute towards 37.4% of annual UK labour productivity growth, translating into 28.4% of annual GDP growth – consistent with findings from similar national level studies for France and Germany. Analysis of the survey findings also found that standards improve export performance.

“Standards play a vital and often invisible role in supporting economic growth and open up the channels for boosting productivity and innovation,” said Cebr chief economic adviser Vicky Pryce.
This will not come as a surprise to those in the process industries who depend on standards to define the benchmarks for production, safety and much else besides.

More interesting is how the research highlights the link between standards and productivity.

The Business Growth Service’s latest Manufacturing Barometer shows that 84% of respondents within SMEs said productivity was a major impediment to their businesses growing, so a renewed focus on standards among smaller companies may well help them in this vital area.

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