Title: An analysis of the multiplicity of an international standard: the case of ISO pallet sizes

Authors: Doyoung Eom; Heejin Lee; Dukgeun Ahn

Addresses: Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea ' Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea ' Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Abstract: Pallets are platforms used for materials handling in logistics. Standards setting at the international level, in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), created six pallet sizes (ISO 6780). The multiplicity of pallet sizes in one standard reflects a failure of standards setting. The focus of this study is on the international standardisation of pallet sizes in the ISO. This paper traces the process of standards setting in the ISO and examines the internal dynamics between major actors in the ISO Technical Committee to find out why and how multiple pallet sizes were adopted. In addition, this study analyses why different outcomes were derived in comparison with ISO containers, which is assessed as an international standard that has well-harmonised and modularised dimensions. This study contributes to the understanding of the complexities in standards setting at the international level through the lens of competition and cooperation among major countries participating in the ISO. It also provides implications for contemporary standardisation in the logistics systems and other industries.

Keywords: international standardisation; ISO containers; ISO pallets; standard setting; international standards; ISO pallet sizes; materials handling; ISO 6780; logistics; competition; cooperation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSS.2016.080049

International Journal of Services and Standards, 2016 Vol.11 No.3, pp.275 - 299

Received: 16 May 2016
Accepted: 16 Jun 2016

Published online: 25 Oct 2016 *

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