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As U.S. Manufacturing Continues Growth, Standards Help Boost Economic Engine

January 7, 2011
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According to the latest statistics, the economic outlook for 2011 is off to a good start.

The December 2010 manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) shows that the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at the fastest pace since May 2010, reinforcing signs that an upward turn in the economy is building momentum. Gains in new manufacturing orders, production, and employment contributed to December’s growth, with apparel, computer and electronics, and industrial machinery manufacturers showing particular strength.

In some respects, the manufacturing industry can be seen as a barometer of the U.S. economy. U.S. manufacturing is responsible for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s exports of goods and services, and 12% of the gross domestic product (GDP). Now in its seventeenth consecutive month of expansion, U.S. manufacturing has been one of the strongest performing sectors since the recession ended in June 2009.

Virtually every company doing business today is engaged in one way or another in the global manufacturing supply chain, whether as a vendor or as a user of a component produced outside of the United States. Standards are an important part of the engine driving the manufacturing industry, increasing operational efficiency, reducing regulatory compliance and procurement costs, and avoiding duplication of effort.

ISO 9001:2008, Quality management system – Requirements, defines a systematic approach to managing an organization's Quality Management System (QMS) - a framework for an organization to control its processes in order to achieve specific objectives including customer satisfaction, regulatory compliance, and continual improvement. Now used by organizations in 175 countries around the globe, ISO 9001 is one of the world’s most widely implemented standards. ISO 9001 was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 176, Quality management and quality assurance. The American Society for Quality (ASQ) serves as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to ISO TC 176 on behalf of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

When it comes to measuring the overall effectiveness of a manufacturing factory, three elements come into play: production, utilization of assets, and cost. A guide from Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, can help a company evaluate production. SEMI E124-1107, Guide for Definition and Calculation of Overall Factory Efficiency (OFE) and Other Associated Factory-Level Productivity Metrics, describes metrics for an integrated production line to show how well a factory is operating compared to its potential optimal performance.

For help in managing critical resources, manufacturers can look to ISO 15531-32, Industrial automation systems and integration - Industrial manufacturing management data: Resources usage management - Part 32: Conceptual model for resources usage management data. This ISO standard describes a model for resource usage management data based on the principles outlined in ISO 15531-31. Both standards were developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 184, Industrial automation systems and integration, and its Subcommittee (SC) 4, Industrial data. The Electronic Commerce Code Management Association serves as the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG administrator to both committees.

Whether applied to textiles or technology, voluntary consensus standards for manufacturing efficiencies are at the foundation of the U.S. economy and are fundamental to the success of robust, fair, and free trade.

Did You Know?

The U.S. manufacturing sector accounts for one-third of the nation’s total energy use. Several initiatives within the standards community take aim at reducing the environmental and economic costs of doing business.

In August 2010, ANSI launched a pilot accreditation program for certification bodies (CBs) that seek recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to certify products under the agency’s Energy Star Program. The program assesses applicant CBs against the requirements set forth in the EPA Conditions and Criteria for Recognition of Certification Bodies for the Energy Star Program and relevant International Standards. [see related news item]

ANSI also accredits certification bodies through the Superior Energy Performance partnership (SEP) program. An initiative of the U.S. Council on Energy-Efficient Manufacturing, SEP aims to provide industrial plants with a road map for achieving continual improvement in energy efficiency while maintaining competitiveness. For more information, visit the SEP site or see the related news item.

The EPA’s Energy Star Challenge program is a national call-to-action to improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial and industrial buildings by 10 percent or more. In 2008, ANSI member the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with EPA, under which NAM challenged its member organizations to reduce their energy use accordingly.

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