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CASE STUDIES: Competitiveness

Case Studies: Competitiveness
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 contribute to global competitiveness:
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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)

While our products feature unique components that differentiate us from our competitors, we also rely on enabling components like fittings and fasteners that can be produced to standards and be available “off the shelf.”

Contributing our knowledge to develop these standards made good sense. The more standardized components we can use to deliver reliable functionality, the less we, and our customers, have to pay.

– Deere & Company

InfoComm International serves the AV communications industry through education, certification, and other activities that enhance the AV industry and foster competent technicians. Through the InfoComm Certified Technology Specialist (CTS) credentialing program, the only AV certification recognized by ANSI and ISO, companies that employ CTS staff can save money on their liability insurance.

While the amount of savings that a company can achieve varies based on the percentage of certified staff and the positions they hold, companies that employ staff with CTS credentials could earn up to a 25% reduction on insurance rates. Because the CTS exam has been recognized as a fair assessment of an individual’s audiovisual knowledge based on peer-developed standards of competencies, insurance companies are willing to extend lower rates to companies who utilize the CTS program.

Investing in the CTS program offers a return on investment when purchasing insurance, and discounted insurance provides further proof that more industries are becoming aware of the benefits and cost savings of credentialing.

– InfoComm International

In March 2003, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced its Standards Initiative in response to industry concerns that standards are among the greatest barriers to expanding imports. The DOC estimated that standards-related issues impacted 80% of world commodity trade. Given that the world trade in petroleum was about 44 million barrels per day in 2003, the impact of standards is clear.

In addition, the German National Standards Body (DIN) recently studied the direct economic benefits of standardization. In this study published in 2000, the direct economic benefit of standardization was found to be 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For the oil and natural gas industry, the estimated capital expenditure, or CAPEX, is between $150-200 billion annually. Using the DIN value, this translates into an annual savings attributed to standardization of $200-$500 million.

- American Petroleum Institute (API)

Sound technical standards benefit the user, as well as the manufacturer, by improving safety, bringing about economies in production, eliminating misunderstandings between manufacturer and purchaser, and assisting the purchaser in selecting and obtaining the proper product to meet his or her need. In addition, the process of standardization allows manufacturers to come together to reach consensus on the best way to describe a product or system and their performance characteristics.

NEMA product groups devote much of their time, effort, and resources to voluntary standardization activities.

– National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)

Standards have been essential to the growth of photography and imaging, from the first reloadable consumer cameras to the complex graphic workflows of today's commercial printing and publishing industries.

Throughout our history, Kodak has been a leader in developing, adopting, and promoting industry standards to meet the needs and expand the capabilities of our products and services.

– Eastman Kodak Company

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)

Managing the business of standards helps avoid the heavy start up and recovery costs to repair or replace an [internal] standards system, helps prevent costs incurred through incorrect or non-current standards, and allows standards to more readily function as enablers for other major business processes.

– "A Corporate Executive’s View: Standards–How to Break the Love/Hate Cycle" By Laura Hitchcock of The Boeing Company, excerpted from Standards: The Corporate Edge, an ASTM International publication

Harmonizing U.S. packaging machinery safety standards with international standards helps U.S. manufacturers compete globally with a common product design. Risk assessment is a requirement consistent with the E.U. directives.

Also, global consumer goods manufacturers are now requesting the machinery manufacturer share the documented risk assessment with the purchaser. This levels the playing field for all machinery manufacturers.

– Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI)

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)

Safety standard compliance allows us to mark our products accordingly and show customers, installers, and inspectors that we meet the safety requirements for the device.

Showing compliance where others can't gives us an edge.

– Tigo Energy Inc.

Standards are critical to our global licensing and registration program. They enable manufacturers all over the globe to provide equipment that meets the requirements of the oil and gas industry users.

By using standards, the purchasing, oil, and gas industry user communities can source quality products all over the globe.

– American Petroleum Institute (API)

Standards allow more organizations to offer sought-after products and services, thereby increasing innovation, competitiveness, and quality while reducing costs and duplicate efforts.

– Wincor Nixdorf Inc. USA

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.