A standard provides a common language, a practical reference which facilitates communication and exchanges.
More specifically, a standard is a technical document drawn up for repeated use, which is approved by an official standardization organization and prepared by a group of experts representing various socioeconomic interests. It is a reference document containing solutions to technical and commercial problems for products, equipment or services.
The standard is worked out by consensus of all the market players involded in the process: manufacturers, intermediary, users, authorities, technical support, appraisers, final users... As a tool for ensuring dialogue between manufacturers, customers and other partners, it is the result of a collective and well thought-out choice, and it represents the best compromise between customer requirements and manufacturers' possibilities; it represents a knowledge, a technology and is never neutral. A product standard actually commits a whole industry in a way which can be decisive for its industrial development.
An epitome of quality, safety and more generally confidence, the standard makes it possible to reduce the technical barriers to trade, to optimize customer/supplier relations, to simplify the drafting of technical specifications, to control the products' technical characteristics and to facilitate the CE marking of products. Within the context of sustainable development, standards provide tools to take environment into account.
It constitutes a basis for exchanges: it makes it possible to establish a reference frame for the assessment of products and services, to avoid additional tests, to satisfy customers and to guarantee safety. It provides a compromise between the state of the art at a specific date and economic constraints.
Therefore each economic sector must define its standardizing strategy, taking into account the market conditions, the legal environment, the involved forces, and determine where and when the development of a standard will be able to reach its objectives, namely to prepare the opening of markets with the promotion of standards favorable to the interests considered.