As owner of Document Center Inc. since 1985, I’ve seen tremendous changes in the world of Standards. And the change that concerns me the most is the lost of Standards Expertise.
Three trends have caused the loss of personnel with real knowledge of standards, the standards process, and how to manage standards collections.
The first was MIL Spec Reform during the mid-1990’s. When the Department of Defense decided to get out of the spec-writing business, the migration to industry-managed standards was a costly exercise for many business. Information that had been free or extremely low-cost was suddenly 5 to 10 times as expensive. Of course, the true migration of cost was from tax-payer money to fees from the actual document users. But the pocket book effect significantly reduced the number of standards most businesses used. With this reduction came the first loss of standards personnel as large standards libraries became obsolete.
The second trend was the Internationalization of Standards. As companies started using non-U.S. documents, the price differential was immediately noticeable. European information has come with a high price tag. Again, price pressure caused a reduction in documentation and the personnel to manage that information as companies strove to lower their out-of-pocket costs.
And finally, the repeated down-sizing and loss of manufacturing facilities in the United States has left many organizations without employees who understand what Standards bring to business. Thus, many companies are limited in their ability to use Standards to their best advantage.
Having been in the business for over 25 years, and hearing customers express confusion about Standards every day, this blog represents the perfect opportunity to discuss common Standards and Standardization questions.
I also look forward to discussing trends and issues that are more strategic in nature. In my mind, standards are one of the foundations of our economy and well-being. I look forward to being part of a process that improves the effect they have on our world.