Standards are necessary in order to rationalise manufacturing and trade. It was this insight that led the Swedish National Federation of Industry and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences to set up the Swedish Industry's Standardisation Commission in 1922.
Representatives from the area in question have always had a substantial input in Swedish standardisation work. This work has always been carried out within a private legal framework and not under any specific public authority.
The first Swedish standards were created in 1923. The format in which the standards were to be printed was also chosen that same year. The A4 format emerged as the victor in that contest. This is an early example of successful standardisation work and why these days we can automatically assume that our A4 or A5 sheets will fit in most printers, envelopes, folders and binders.
The ISO International Organization for Standardization was established in 1947. SIS played a significant role in setting it up. CEN (the European Committee for Standardization) is ISO's European equivalent and was established in 1975.
SIS introduced a subscription system for published Swedish standards in 1949, and by 1955 there were more than 2,000 published standards. Today, the number exceeds 30,000. In 1978, SS was introduced as the prefix for all Swedish standards. During the past century, we have created thousands of important standards which have helped to create unity and harmony in our lives. Recommendations for date formats in 1963, a chart of accounts in 1973 and the ISO 9000 quality management system in 1987 are just a few examples.
2001 was another milestone year in the history of Swedish standardisation. After being scattered across seven different organisations, Swedish standardisation work was concentrated under SIS, Swedish Standards Institute, as a strong body that can better promote and disseminate knowledge, and more effectively safeguard customers' interests.
Standardisation is in progress in virtually every area of society. The work to develop service standards and surgical implant standards is currently under way in parallel with the development of management systems. There is also a lot of activity in the same areas that were important in the 1920s, such as rolling stock, building materials and steel.
SIS has always been the acronym, but it has stood for different names throughout our history. At the outset, SIS was the Swedish Industry's Standardisation Commission, but in 1931 new statutes were adopted, with a change of name to the Swedish Standardisation Commission. In 1977, this was changed to Standardisation in Sweden, and today our name is SIS, Swedish Standards Institute.