Providing a framework for progress

Dr.-Ing. Michael Fübi

The difficult birth of a standard: TÜV Rheinland employees are working on the development of new directives on committees and consultative bodies throughout the world. Dr Michael Fübi, Chairman of the Executive Board of Management of TÜV Rheinland AG, explains why this is just as important as it is laborious.

Dr Fübi, why do we need norms and standards?

I see standards as standard-bearers for innovation. They provide the framework that makes progress possible, efficiently and, most importantly, safely. Companies who do not know enough about or pay enough attention to basic and specific standards, for product and occupational safety, for example, have no chance with their services on the global market.

How do norms come about and how is TÜV Rheinland involved?

As an independent service provider, our first task is to monitor compliance with norms and standards – whether it’s a public or private assignment. Our employees have therefore developed a high level of competency in nearly every area. And so we work regularly as advisors to consultative bodies revising and devising regulations. We sit round the table with the legislator, trade associations and companies and help to find the best possible solution for a problem, which can then be made into a standard.

What does “best possible” mean?

A standard needs to be a balanced reflection of varying interests. So you can’t overdo it with directives – you need to give progress a bit of creative room to try out new things. Having said that, people’s lives should never be endangered. It’s all about finding a compromise between what is required and what is actually feasible. Negotiations on these committees can therefore be long and arduous. And there is no guarantee that there will actually be a consensus.

Doesn’t that hinder progress?

No. Technical progress will only ultimately be successful if it is actually accepted – and safety is essential in that respect. Norms and standards serve that very goal, improving quality in all areas of our lives.

Find other interesting articles on topics such as Autonomous driving, Gamification and Trademark protection in our knowledge magazine contact 2.17 at publications.

Picture Credits: © TÜV Rheinland