ANSI’s Role in the Wide World of Standards

Ryan E. Day

March 12, 2019

I love standards, and whether you know it, you love standards, too. For example, let’s say a bulb in your lamp goes bad. You drive down to the local hardware store, buy a bulb, come back home, change out the bulb, plug the lamp back in, and... it lights up. You just benefited from at least seven U.S. and international standards. How does that work, and what does American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have to do with it?

First, the standards. When a replacement light bulb fits, you can thank the National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA) standards for that. The lamp and the socket you plugged it into most likely conform to UL safety standards. As far as the car ride to the store goes, there are more standards involved than you can count, including those from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), ASTM, the International Automotive Task Force (IATF), and others. Standards are unseen helpers that ensure our experiences go as planned. There are standards for pretty much everything, from food safety and labeling to business management to nuclear energy.

Second, how does ANSI fit in? Quite often, People assume when they see ANSI’s name or logo on something that ANSI is responsible for creating the standard itself, but this isn’t really accurate. The macrocosm of standards includes a broad scope of roles within that theater, including:
• Standards developing organizations
• Standards end-users
• Certifying bodies
• Accreditation organizations

Let’s break those down with the infographic below.


About The Author

Ryan E. Day’s picture

Ryan E. Day

Ryan E. Day is Quality Digest’s senior editor for solution-based reporting, which brings together those seeking business improvement solutions and solution providers. Day has spent the last decade researching and interviewing top business leaders and continuous improvement experts at companies like Sakor, Ford, Merchandize Liquidators, Olympus, 3D Systems, Hexagon, Intertek, InfinityQS, Johnson Controls, FARO, and Eckel Industries. Most of his reporting is done with the help of his 20-lb tabby cat at his side.