The standardization of technical symbols facilitates the understanding of industrial blue prints and designs. The standardization of sampling, testing and experimentation procedure further facilitates the process of delivery, receipt and arbitration in the exchange of commodities and products. The standardization of materials, ingredients and products assists in overcoming technical barriers and facilitates free movement across frontiers.
Advance towards international standardization is normally slow, although in some industries, such as chemicals, rapid progress may be expected. In other industries, such as those producing capital goods, international standardization may take longer than twenty or thirty years. The situation varies from industry to industry and from country to country.
The task of adjusting national standards to conform with international recommendations is a complicated one. First, adoption of international standards sometimes implies a large capital outlay for the necessary change-over in equipment, and intensifies the natural reluctance of producers who have built their plants and equipment on the basis of national standards. Second, the advantages of international standardization are found largely in the field of international trade, and the incentive to change is therefore often weak in industries and in countries whose domestic market constitutes the predominant element in total production.
One of the most important factors inhibiting the effort towards international standardization is the presence of two major systems of measurement: the metric system or Système International (SI) and the foot-pound system. Although metrication with its base-ten has proven its utility, the base-twelve foot-pound system is not alone as a relic of another age. The twelve month year, the seven day week, the twenty-four hour day, the sixty-minute hour and the sixty-second minute remain to be metricized into a scientific standard of time measurement.