Henk de Vries has been appointed endowed Professor of Standardisation Management at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The chair is endowed by the Erasmus Trust Fund and co-funded by the Netherlands Standardization Institute (NEN). Professor De Vries will address standardisation from a managerial perspective.

The Netherlands leads in the field of setting and implementing standards – both are essential for products and services to be successful on the market, and for the good functioning of processes and organisations. Prof. De Vries’ appointment to this new position in the department of technology and operations management at RSM emphasises the huge relevance of standardisation in business and society.

It’s also increasingly relevant to innovation management because of the integration of technologies into complex systems such as smart manufacturing and smart cities. What’s more, standardisation is an important instrument in addressing the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which underpin RSM’s mission, to be a force for positive change in the world.

Professor De Vries aims to investigate standardisation at three different levels of management: “The first level is that of individual companies. Many of these are insufficiently aware of the relevance of standardisation and lack a clear policy on company level. I want to show them the managerial opportunities and strategic dilemmas,” says Professor De Vries.

“The second level relates to standardisation projects in which a group of companies and other stakeholders co-operate in developing common standards. The management of such projects is ready for improvement. Standardisation includes designing and decision-making, and the challenge is to manage projects so that standards can be implemented and used – and that the intended benefits for business and society are achieved.

The third level of management relates to the organisational setting for standardisation. It has its own organisations but also trade associations, governments and organisations involved in conformity assessment such as certification bodies and accreditation organisations play a role. I aim to continue and expand my co-operation with such organisations all over the world, and to contribute to the integration of standardisation in public policy.”

Prof. Henk de Vries is author or co-author of 380 scientific and professional publications on standardisation, including a dozen books. De Vries’ work was recognised with the ISO Award for Higher Education in Standardization in 2009. Since 2010 he is president of the international academic society in this field, the European Academy for Standardisation EURAS. He is also Visiting Professor at Delft University of Technology in the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management.

Henk de Vries obtained his master's degree in Geodesy from Delft University of Technology (cum laude), and his PhD on the role of national standardisation organisations from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Prior to joining RSM, he worked at the Netherlands Standardization Institute in Delft.

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Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is a top tier European business school and ranked among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. www.rsm.nl

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