Millions of businesses – among which the vast majority are SMEs – are applying and using standards every day. Standards can improve an SME’s efficiency, help them to win new business and build customer confidence in their products and services.
Alongside the direct benefits of using standards, there can also be indirect benefits that are just as important for the long-term success of their business: Standards are a way of showing to the world that SMEs are committed to excellence – not just in the quality of their products and/or services – but also in terms of health and safety, management processes, environmental aspects, etc.
As key users of standards, is vital for the success of their business that they know which standards to use and how to apply them in the correct way. It is also of paramount importance that they get more involved and participate actively in the development of standards, so that they can ensure that standards are fit for purpose, relevant and responsive to their needs. SMEs who participate in standardization, gain a positive perception and reputation of their business.
For this, SMEs need to understand how standards are developed, and how they can contribute to the standardization process. By getting involved, SMEs can shape the content of new standards that will affect their business while they are being prepared. SMEs can make sure that any concern or issue they consider important is taken into account during the drafting and development process, and prevent (or minimize) any potential cost or other negative impact on their business.
How can SMEs get involved?
The main route for SMEs to get involved in standardization is via their National Standards Body or National Electrotechnical Committee. These national organizations will provide SMEs with up-to-date information about what standards are being developed in their domain of interest and how they can take part in their development.
SMEs can also indirectly participate in the standards development through their trade or business associations at national, European and international levels. Small Business Standards (SBS) is a European non-profit association established with the support of the European Commission to represent European SMEs in the standard-making process. Moreover, it aims at raising SME awareness about the benefits of standards and at encouraging them to get involved in the standardization process.
CEN and CENELEC together with SBS developed a video for SMEs on the importance of standards as a business tool. The video invites SMEs to take part in standardization and to contribute to the writing of the standards.
If you are you an SME wishing to optimise your business operations, you can involved now and help develop the standards that your business needs!