Many years ago, I had a friend who believed that the most expensive items were the best in terms of quality. One time we went to shop for headphones and while I bought one from my budget, he went out of his budget to buy an even more expensive one. Weeks later he found out that what he bought was an imitation of the original and yet still sold at the same price as the original.

We can take two things from this experience. The first being that a company had to mirror its product against a more standard product in other to gain end users they wouldn’t have gotten ordinarily. The other thing to take away is the fact that my friend believed in standards and even went out of his way to get something he believed had met standards. Sadly, he couldn’t categorically tell the imitation from the real deal. 

It is important to have standards in everything you do, especially if it is a business. When you have standards in business and apply them, you become reliable. Standards are guidelines aimed at efficient service delivery and increased productivity. If the company that produced the knock-off headphones had standards, they would have worked harder to create something unique of theirs.

There are standard organizations all over the world. There are local standard organizations and international standard organizations. Here in Nigeria, we have Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON). The job of SON is to enforce quality and standards in products and services, improvement in measurement accuracy. They also certify industrial products and much more.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) oversees the standard affairs for international businesses. It is an international regulation and legislation body for safety, it is made up of industrial experts. It was founded in 1947 and establishes standards for businesses and organizations in over 163 countries.

Companies with ISO certificates show that they are serious about business which in turn improves the organization’s competitiveness, brings increased visibility and more clients.

If you have ever bought an electronic device from overseas you would find an ISO quotation or mark somewhere on it. Most times its in form of a number e.g. ISO 9001.

There are standards for construction, management, weights and measurements, medicine, information security etc.

Below is a list of some categories of standards by International Standard Organization and what they do.

ISO 9000 – Quality Management: establishes criteria for quality management system that will improve quality and customer relationship. It sets standardized tools and practices.

ISO 22000 – Food Safety Management: sets out what organizations need to do to ensure that their food is safe for public consumption.

ISO 27000 – Information Security Management System: contains standards used to keep information assets safe.

ISO 31000 – Risk Management: provides framework for identifying risks, managing and or mitigating such risks.

Conclusively, when in business, it is important to abide by already established product and services standards apart from setting yours as this would go a long way in helping your business remain reliable and safe for people. You should strive to meet the standards set locally by your host nation, but when you meet those set by the international body then it means you are ready to play with the big guys business wise. Basically, you can Act Local and yet think Global.

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