What Is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)?

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) oversees the creation and dissemination of business norms and standards in the United States. ANSI is a private and nonprofit organization that does not develop standards itself. Rather, it oversees the creation of voluntary standards for a variety of manufacturing processes, products, systems, services, and personnel in nearly every U.S. business sector. It also works to ensure that U.S. standards are consistent with international standards enabling U.S. products to be sold and used abroad.

Key Takeaways

  • The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a non-profit organization that coordinates standards and technical regulations that relate to how U.S. businesses, consumer groups, and government agencies function.
  • ANSI doesn't develop the standards itself but helps facilitate the development through promoting standards, accrediting procedures for developing standards undertaken by its member organizations, and approving documentation.
  • ANSI oversees the standards that pertain to terminology and definitions, rules about quality and construction of goods and products, and product testing, among others.

Breaking Down American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The American National Standards Institute provides accreditation for standards developed by other standards organizations, companies, consumer groups, government agencies, and other bodies. ANSI's work can be seen in standardized terminology and definitions, the consistency in the makeup and performance of goods, and in the consistency in how products are tested. ANSI calls itself "the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system." Its mission is as follows:

To enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity.

ANSI's membership is made up of more than 270,000 companies and organizations, and over 30 million professionals in government agencies, companies, organizations, academic and international bodies, and individuals. For more, see ANSI's website www.ansi.org.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Certifications

In addition to its role in promoting standardization, ANSI also works to provide accreditation to organizations that provide certification of products or personnel. ANSI is actively involved in the accreditation programs that oversee those standards, including ISO 9000 (quality) and ISO 14000 (environmental) management systems.

Under ANSI's supervision, Accredited Standards Committee X9 (ASC X9) oversees the global financial services industry and is responsible for all financial-services standards in the U.S. In that capacity, ASC X9 plays a key role in the introduction of new banking technologies. Examples include standards for paper and electronic checks, credit card magnetic stripes, and ATM cards. The American Bankers Association (ABA) provides administrative support for ASC X9 standards.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) History

ANSI was founded in 1918 by five engineering societies and three government agencies that banded together to form the American Engineering Standards Committee. The committee changed its name to the American Standards Association in 1928. In 1966, it reorganized and was renamed the United States of America Standards Institute. It took on its current moniker in 1969. ANSI's headquarters are in Washington, D.C, but its operations are conducted out of New York.