Standards are essential in ensuring the rational conduct of manufacturing and trade. This is something that the former Swedish Federation of Industry and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) recognized when they decided to establish the Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) in 1922.
Swedish standardization work has always enjoyed broad support, involving representatives from the specific field. The work has always been conducted as a civil law process, and never in the form of a government agency.
The first Swedish standards were established in 1923. The format in which these standards were to be printed was also determined at the same time. The A4 format triumphed. This early example of successful standardization means that we can now take it for granted that our A4 or A5 paper will be compatible with most printers, envelopes, files and folders.
The year 1946 saw the establishment of a new international standardization organization, the ISO (International Organization for Standardization). SIS was naturally involved in its formation. The European equivalent to the ISO is the CEN (European Committee for Standardization), which was formed in 1961.
The publishing arm of SIS, SIS Förlag, introduced a subscription system for Swedish standard publications in 1949 and, by1955, had published more than 2 000 standards. Today, the total is more than 30 000. In 1978, the prefix ‘SS’ was introduced for all Swedish standards. Over the past century, we have developed thousands of important standards that have helped to bring together and create order in our environment, including recommendations for standardizing the writing of dates (1963), the classification of accounts (1973) and the ISO 9000 quality management system (1987).
Read more here about standards that have enhanced the world we live in
SIS in the 21st century
The year 2001 marked yet another milestone in the annals of Swedish standardization. After having been dispersed across seven separate organizations, the work of Swedish standardization was merged to form SIS (Swedish Standards Institute), a robust player that is better able to utilize the available know-how and that can meet clients’ needs more effectively.
Nowadays, the standardization process affects almost every field of activity. Work on service standards and surgical implants is conducted parallel to the development of management systems. This said, there is still intense activity in the same areas that were relevant in the 1920s, such as roller bearings, construction materials and steel.
SIS stands for consistency and the longer term
The organization’s acronym, SIS, has always been the same, although it has stood for different things over the years. Originally, it signified Svenska Industrins Standardiseringskommission (The Swedish Standards Institute) but, in conjunction with the adoption of new articles of association in 1931, the name was changed to Sweden’s Standards Institute. In 1977, the name was changed again, to Standardization in Sweden. Nowadays, we are known simply as SIS (Swedish Standards Institute) – and we have no intention of altering these three letters.