Digital Age Update

Speeding Up Industrial Norms

Berlin – Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN)
Industrial standards make life easier, but the process of establishing them has become too slow for modern business practices. Photo: Soeren Stache/dpa
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Industrial standard-setting needs to be accelerated so that German industry doesn’t lose its competitive edge in the digital era.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Industrial standards set by the Berlin-based Institute for Standardization, or DIN, are seen worldwide as a hallmark of quality German products.
    • Compliance with DIN standards is mostly voluntary unless they are required by contracts, laws or regulations.
    • The process typically take up to three years, but a new approach should cut it down to just a few months.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

You can’t escape size norms in Germany: The stairs you climb, the paper you write on, the bank card you use to get cash – all are subject to stipulated sizes and formats. Life is simply easier when a plug fits every socket or a gasoline pump nozzle works with every vehicle.

Around 30,000 such technical standards regulate everyday life, all dictated by the German Institute for Standardization, a nonprofit institution widely known as DIN. Such norms improve efficiency, save costs and facilitate expansion into foreign markets.

But it can take up to three years for a long everyone involved to agree to a specific norm, which is far too long, says the new DIN board chairman Christoph Winterhalter. “We have to be able to utilize new ideas more quickly. That would improve opportunities for the business sector,” he told Handelsblatt.

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