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As a professional in the field of high-voltage switchgear and controlgear, some of your first questions should be: why should I be interested in the IEC and what can it do for my company’s bottom line?

We have two ways to answer that. First, let’s look at what the IEC offers. And then let's listen to what one of the industry leaders has to say about the IEC in a case study.

Seven reasons

The IEC offers a forum in which formal communication networks that cross international borders may be easily developed, where both multinational corporations (MNCs) and small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can network within a vibrant community of customers, manufacturers, technical experts and government representatives. From this networking come distinct advantages. There are many different reasons for MNCs and SMEs to be involved with the IEC and its standards, and each company has its instructive anecdote. But, time and again, six basic reasons tied to strategic marketing advantages come to the fore.

  1. Save time and money
    As pointed out by Areva, above, one of the goals of standardization is to make design and manufacturing simpler, cleaner and surer. By using standards, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. Instead, you can focus your efforts on adding something new to the wheel – something that will improve the quality of life and that will contribute to technological progress.
  2. Improve safety and quality
    Nobody today can pretend to know all there is about a certain technology. Within IEC working groups you will encounter ideas some of which will be new and valuable, others which may help you to avoid making costly mistakes.
  3. Influence content
    Standards are the compromise result of competing interests. Your presence means your interests are represented. This also applies in reverse: by being present, you can counter unfavourable bias.
  4. Build acceptance in global markets
    Governments around the world require evidence of manufacturing to standards when specifying contracts, just as purchasers require products to be built to certain, standardized specifications. By using IEC standards, you meet those requirements. By being involved in IEC work, you help to set those requirements.
  5. Develop anticipatory intelligence
    You can acquire information that enables you to anticipate, before other stakeholders, circumstances that have not yet widely manifested themselves.
  6. Use customer networks
    You can identify consumer needs and conceive new products through networking with user representatives on standards committees and this may enhance the market success of new products.
  7. Recognition
    For SMEs, there is the additional advantage of recognition: because IEC technical committees and subcommittees consist of people from both large and small companies, the small companies are therefore seen to be players of equal weight with the big ones. This enhances industry and peer recognition, and thus creates the potential for future opportunities. Limited resources can restrain SMEs. The IEC offers a way to overcome some of that limitation.

The IEC was created by industry, for industry and its primary customer is industry and it takes a business-oriented approach to its market and its customers. The IEC is widely considered by companies around the world as an essential partner in helping to lay the foundations for technological progress and in helping to create free and fair global trade.

While industry remains the IEC’s primary customer, it is the consumer who remains the ultimate beneficiary of IEC work since IEC International Standards benefit society as a whole.


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