ISO 9001:2000 IS A PRODUCT OF THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR STANDARDIZATION, AN organization that works to establish standards for worldwide use across a broad range of disciplines.
Most of us appreciate the value of standardization. Water hoses fit backyard faucets everywhere. Light bulbs fit light sockets no matter who made them. Twin sheets cover twin mattresses pretty much the same way. But the concept of standardization as we know it today is a fairly recent one. International standardization began, interestingly enough, with technology, or at least with the rise of electronics and electrical equipment. This was around 1900, in Europe.
Nations saw the advantage of regulating the production of electrical components so that trade and commerce would be able to cross boundaries with a minimum of adjustments. In 1906, to support this new view toward standardization, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was established. For the next 20 years, the IEC made successful headway in establishing common and successfully embraced standards. Then a partner organization was established, the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA), set up in 1926. The ISA expanded the scope of standardization, focusing heavily on mechanical engineering, another rapidly growing field.
However, Europe in the late 20s and 30s was not the best place for the growth of international cooperation. With the outbreak of the Second World War, ...