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Irish Businesses Choose NSAI Standards to Gain a Competitive Edge

Monday, 22nd July 2013:  NSAI today published details of its strategic plan for 2013 – 2015, with a focus on open market infrastructure, business excellence, knowledge economy, and sustainability. Economic growth in Ireland in the coming years will be driven by exports – as set out in the statement of strategy of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. For Irish businesses to compete, they must work to internationally recognised standards. Recent research commissioned by NSAI shows 4 out of 5 Irish companies are seeing the benefit of standards and are investing in them for a competitive edge. Standards contribute to economic growth, the survival of companies, and the creation of new jobs.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said: “A key part of the Government’s plans for jobs and growth is creating an environment where businesses can increase exports, expand and ultimately grow employment. More and more Irish businesses are ensuring that their products and services meet recognised standards as they enter international markets where many of their consumers expect such standards, and Government is determined to support these moves to help export growth. NSAI works closely with businesses to create, adapt and implement standards, and the strategy published today will ensure that the agency provides more and better supports in this area to the businesses we are depending on to expand their exports and ultimately create the jobs we need. I commend all at NSAI on their work and wish them every success in the future.”

The strategic plan 2013-2015, follows on from NSAI’s previous plan (2009-2012), which delivered numerous key successes. Importantly, the position of NSAI as the authority and centre for excellence in Ireland for measurement and standards was strengthened. NSAI also encouraged the active participation of Irish based companies in European and international standards groups, resulting in companies engaging
in over 200 international working groups.

Maurice Buckley, Chief Executive, NSAI said: “Where the standard already exists, NSAI works with businesses to help them apply it. Where a standard may be needed, NSAI will work with relevant parties to create the appropriate standard. Some standards are obviously mandatory – safety standards for example - across a wide range of products, but even where the standards are optional, we are now seeing a trend in NSAI of businesses choosing to apply standards – environmental standards, human resource standards, process standards, call centre standards – because they realise that in today’s market, having the standards ‘badge’ gives them an edge. Management, operational, environmental and safety systems must all be to a uniformly high standard – those who buy Irish products and our services in Europe and internationally expect nothing less. Certification to standards is becoming the expected norm for international trade and for inward investment. Irish businesses who have invested in certifying product or service standards, will win hands down, every time, over companies that haven’t. Standards are vital for the medical device sector in Ireland and NSAI plays a vital role in this sector, with over seventy medical device companies certified to a range of NSAI standards.”

The four strategic pillars / objectives contained in the strategic plan are:
  • Open market infrastructure: NSAI activities will enhance the Irish trade infrastructure to be responsive and adaptive to the needs of the Irish economy, facilitating Irish industry: in its efforts to achieve a competitive parity in trade, ensuring protection for the consumer and recognising our societal obligations.
  • Business excellence: NSAI will focus its resources on activities that will optimise business competitiveness and performance, with a particular focus on sectors identified as key to economic recovery and job creation.
  • Knowledge economy: Through stakeholder engagement, NSAI will act as an enabler to innovation and a resource to the development of the knowledge economy.
  • Sustainability: NSAI will participate in the proactive development of the national and international responses to the emerging requirements of sustainable resource management.

NSAI will achieve these objectives through initiatives across standardization, metrology and conformity assessment.

NSAI provides Ireland, a small and open economy, with an infrastructure which allows products and services to be developed, traded, and relied on nationally and around the world. This infrastructure also contributes positively to decisions on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), where organisations rely on developed standards and a conformity assessment infrastructure to achieve their objectives, such as the developing medical devices sector.

In 2012, NSAI published more than 1,600 standards and sold over 12,000 publications across a broad range of sectors, bringing their library to in excess of 23,000. NSAI invites members of the business community and the general public to get involved in the development of standards by visiting Your Standards, Your Say on

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