ANSI’s diverse roles and responsive activities reflect the flexibility of the market-driven U.S. system, and help to ensure its continued strength and impact in innovative standards and conformity assessment work domestically, regionally, and globally.
Below are high-level summaries of some of the Institute’s key roles, with links to more detailed information.
The U.S. standardization system is characterized but what we call a "multiple-path approach." In accordance with the U.S. Standards Strategy, the relevance of a standard is not determined by who developed it, but rather by market/societal need and compliance of the developer's process with recognized principals of open and equitable voluntary standards development, as found in ANSI's Essential Requirements.
Voluntary consensus standards are developed by:
This is diverse system that ANSI oversees, allowing all interested parties to engage fairly in standards development activities while maintaining the integrity of the ANS designation and avoiding duplicative or conflicting standards whenever possible.
ANSI's encourages everyone with expertise and interest to get involved in standards development, as the strongest solutions come from the broadest collaboration.
ANSI facilitates the development of American National Standards (ANS) by accrediting the procedures of standards developing organizations (SDOs) and approving their documents as American National Standards (ANS). This process serves and protects the public interest since standards developers accredited by ANSI – and the ANS they develop – must meet the Institute’s requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process and adhere to ANSI's neutral oversight, assuring that all interested parties have an opportunity to participate in a standard’s development.
Among its leadership roles in all major global and regional standards and accreditation organizations, ANSI is the sole U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and, through the U.S. National Committee (USNC), to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ANSI promotes the use of U.S. standards internationally, advocates U.S. policy and technical positions in international and regional standards organizations, and encourages the adoption of international standards as national standards where they meet the needs of the user community. The Institute also represents U.S. interests in dialogues with key markets like China, Europe, and India.
ANSI is highly active in a number of key public- and private-sector partnership activities across the globe that provide capacity-building assistance and other engagement opportunities with emerging economies on standards, trade, infrastructure, and good regulatory practices. The Institute also fosters U.S. competitiveness by providing relevant resources and assisting members and stakeholders with international trade issues affecting their business.
In response to national and market needs, ANSI initiates standardization coordination work in fields vital to U.S. interests and priorities—often in cutting-edge industries and emerging technology sectors. The Institute establishes ongoing standards collaboratives and partnerships as well as topical workshops and other activities to address specific standardization needs. Relying on the cooperative work of diverse volunteer experts, ANSI identifies gaps in existing standards and conformity assessment activities and makes recommendations for future work.
ANSI membership provides access, information, and influence on the standards and conformity assessment activities and decisions directly affecting every industry. Comprising a broad spectrum of companies, organizations, government entities, consumer groups, and educational institutions - the diverse interests of millions of stakeholders, ANSI members are harnessing the power of standards to position themselves for success.
ANSI’s education and training programs promote understanding of and participation in standards and conformity assessment activities at every level. Instructor-led and web-based training options provide guidance to active standards participants, as well as anyone looking to learn about ANSI’s work and how to get involved. And an array of initiatives and free resources for students and faculty help bring standardization into the classroom and show the next generation its importance.
Bridging the gap between industry and government, ANSI enables information exchange and access among standards developing organizations and public-sector leaders, agencies, and legislators. The Institute works with its members to create outreach programs to legislators, to increase understanding of the private-sector standards and conformity assessment community among agencies, and to provide testimony when requested by legislative committees, among other activities.
Among its key priorities, ANSI's Consumer Affairs department is committed to informing consumers and consumer representatives of standardization initiative, conducting outreach to consumer groups and other relevant organizations to help identify appropriate consumer representatives to participate in national and international standardization activities, and facilitating consumer participation in the voluntary consensus standards setting process
ANSI provides four programs for registering unique organizational identifiers into international directories:
Through its e-commerce site, webstore.ansi.org, ANSI provides access to hundreds of thousands of standards produced by hundreds of individual developers. The site offers individual standards for sale as well as Standards Subscriptions – custom, multi-user solutions for an organization’s specific standards needs. And ANSI provides additional access options for numerous standards incorporated by reference (IBR’ed) into government regulations.
The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), a wholly owned subsidiary of ANSI, promotes confidence in the marketplace through its accreditation programs for a wide array of conformity assessment bodies including: management systems certification bodies, calibration and testing labs, product certification bodies, personnel certifications and personnel credentialing bodies, forensic test and calibration service providers, inspection bodies, greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies, reference material producers, and proficiency test providers.
Through research, consulting, and educational activities, ANSI’s affiliate Workcred connects and educates stakeholders to create a more integrated and effective credentialing system, and helps people and organizations understand what makes a quality credential.