TABLE 2-2 —Top 10 Private Standards-Developing Organizations (active standards as of 1991)

TOP 10 DEVELOPING ORGANIZATIONS IN THE U.S.

NUMBER OF STANDARDS

American Society for Testing and Materials

8,500

Society of Automotive Engineers

5,100

U.S. Pharmacopeia

4,450

Aerospace Industries Association

3,000

Association of Official Analytical Chemists

1,900

Association of American Railroads

1,350

American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

1,100

American Petroleum Institute

880

Cosmetic, Toiletry & Fragrance Association

800

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

745

performance of U.S. manufacturers, the discussion here is limited to product and process standards. Professional certification, for example, such as that required of accountants, lawyers, and health care providers, is a type of standard that is not considered in this report.

Second, the distinction between a single standard with many sections and a series of separate, but related, standards may be arbitrary. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) produced and regularly updates the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code, a single standard running into thousands of pages. The code currently has 11 major sections covering design, fabrication, inspection, and safe operation of boilers, pressure vessels, and nuclear power plant components.9 The choice of writing a set of specifications as a single standard or a series of standards is made by each developing organization or agency, according to its own guidelines.

Third, not all published standards have equal influence in the economy. Some voluntary standards fail to achieve widespread acceptance or use in the marketplace. The most widely used 15 to 20 percent of standards developed by private organizations accounts for 80 percent of those organizations' orders for printed copies of standards.10 These standards may be presumed to have greater economic and technological significance than those that are rarely used. A standard applied at a critical point in a system, market, or industry, however, could have an impact far greater than the number of copies ordered from its publisher would indicate.

Both voluntary and mandatory standards may become technologically obsolete, yet remain in a technically active status. For example, an organization may



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