American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
What it is:
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, non-profit organization that oversees the development and enforcement of standards for products, services and personnel in both the United States and around the world.
How it works (Example):
Let’s say company XYZ produces headphones. Since headphones are much more useful to consumers if they can be used in multiple devices, there is a need for a standardized headphone jack size.
Therefore, it is the American National Standards Institute’s duty to make sure that headphone producers as well as producers of devices such as mp3 players, cell phones and computers produce headphones and headphone jacks that are a standard size. It is this reason why the same pair of headphones is able to be used on a wide variety of devices both in the United States and around the world.
The ANSI has many members, including government agencies, corporations, international bodies and individuals who, together, represent over 125,000 companies. Although the ANSI does not directly come up with specific standards, it oversees the development and the implementation of standards by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations.
These procedures include product testing and enforcing consistency in product terminology and performance. The ANSI develops written standards and accredits products when they meet those standards of quality and consistency.
Why it Matters:
The ANSI serves as a watchdog over various standards development organizations and ensures the quality and consistency of products, services and personnel across the United States. Their collaboration with international bodies further guarantees enforcement of these standards in other countries.
Organizations like the ANSI enhance consumer confidence towards products because consumers know products are reviewed by a consolidated watchdog organization according to a set of standards. This enforcement of standards allows products to be accepted faster in the marketplace and provides a framework for their improvement.