Guest blog post from S. Joe Bhatia, President and CEO, American National Standards Institute 
From alternative energy and nanotechnology to electric vehicles, vast opportunities for U.S. innovation and economic growth are developing in new and expanding industry sectors. As the U.S. ramps up its efforts to create jobs for the 21st century economy, there is an incredibly powerful tool at hand that can help U.S. industry tap into these technologies and out-innovate competitors in the global market.
I’m talking about standardization – and there has never been a better time for American businesses to leverage standards and conformance to gain a powerful trade advantage. Standardization not only informs the direction of innovation, it impacts the strength of the American workforce. Standards have the potential to accelerate the idea-to-market cycle, increase the number of U.S. products and services, and save companies millions of dollars. In short, standards have the power to turbo-charge innovation and fuel business growth.
That’s why the U.S. standardization community has launched the Standards Boost Business  outreach initiative – to help companies understand the strategic and economic value of standards to business and to our overall national competitiveness.
Dollars and Sense
The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that more than 80% of global commodity trade is impacted by standardization, which translates to over 13 trillion dollars each year. From design and manufacturing to distribution and marketing, all aspects of an industry’s products and services are affected at some point by standards and conformance.
The impressive examples on www.StandardsBoostBusiness.org  demonstrate how the U.S. Department of Defense is projecting $789 million in cost avoidance through standardization, and how Dominion Resources, one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, has saved millions of dollars, increased efficiencies, and improved safety measures.
Each of these organizations has been able to streamline processes, trim costs, earn and maintain market access, and boost their bottom line. Many more case studies are available at www.StandardsBoostBusiness.org .
Reap the Rewards of Standardization
In today’s global marketplace, your company needs every advantage it can get. Here are three important steps you can take to make sure that you reap the rewards standards and conformance provide:
- Participate in standards
development activities, both domestic and international. This allows your
company to exert influence on technical content, and align your products and
services with market demand.
By participating in standards development activities, you have an opportunity to directly influence the requirements and guidelines for your product.
- Rely on standards to design your
products and services, and turn to recognized conformity assessment
systems to test, inspect, certify, and accredit them.
Not only will this help you assure quality and customer satisfaction, it will also facilitate cross-border interoperability, ensuring market access for components and products you manufacture in all countries you want to sell in.
- Treat standardization as a strategic business tool. Put in place a corporate policy that supports standards development and use right alongsidesafety, intellectual property, and environmental performance. It is just as important to the long-term health of your business.
Standards and conformance are essential to a sound national economy and global commerce. And at a time when the public and private sectors are looking to new technologies to help spur job creation and ensure America’s strength in the innovation age, it is more important than ever for U.S. companies to harness the power of standardization.
Together we can foster innovation, drive business growth, and advance U.S. competitiveness on the global stage. I hope you will visit www.standardsboostbusiness.org  and get involved in standardization today.