This piece was originally published in the October 2016 issue of electroindustry.
Danny Abbate, Industry Director, Commercial Products, NEMA
Most engineering and business students receive only a cursory introduction to standards and harmonization when studying for their undergraduate degrees. The leaders of tomorrow do not understand why standards and harmonization are important. Simply put, harmonization allows manufacturers to use one standard, for one test, to follow only one set of requirements.
Most standards are written to develop rules for how a product is tested, developed, or administered. Without these rules, companies would not be held responsible for fair practices and consumers would be at the mercy of this lack of oversight.
NEMA develops harmonized versions of International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. This is important for companies that manufacture products and for consumers who purchase them. For example, if a standard is harmonized among the United States, Canada, and Mexico, a product manufacturer would only need to comply with the rules specified in one document, not one standard for each country. There would only be one test or set of requirements to adhere to, driving down costs for the manufacturer and in turn, helping the consumer.
The same holds true for marketing. Without the convenience of a harmonized standard, companies would be forced to use additional resources in order to sell their products in multiple markets, hurting their bottom line and impacting consumers’ wallets.
NEMA also works within Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations in the Americas (CANENA) working groups to develop harmonized standards for the good of manufacturers and consumers.
Tomorrow’s business leaders need to understand how standards and harmonization affect companies and boost the economy.Read the October 2016 issue of electroindustry.