Provide information

Provide Information

Once SMEs are aware of standards, they may have trouble in identifying which standards are relevant to the products and services they are providing, where to find these standards, and how to understand and use them.

Why do SMEs need to be informed?

The main problem for SMEs is to find relevant information on the right standards for their company. Related to this is the fact that companies often do not know whether an existing standard is still in effect. Furthermore SMEs are often unaware of the location for the distribution of standards documentation.

What type of information do SMEs need?

  • What standards are available (abstracts, etc.)
  • Where to find standards
  • How to obtain standards

Who should provide information?

  • Standards organisations
  • Business associations
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Sectoral organisations
  • Governments and public authorities

How should information be provided?

SMEs need clear information about the content of standards so they can easily choose which ones they would like to obtain. They also need support in understanding the content of standard documents through education, training and assistance.

Such assistance can be provided by means of helpdesk services, for example, which may be accessed via telephone and/or email.


More detailed information on ways you can ensure that SMEs have access to the relevant information:

Many national standards organisations have developed online catalogues in which all standards are listed. However, it is sometimes difficult for SMEs to find and identify the most appropriate standards that respond to their specific needs.


Good search tools with filters and multiple options are important for helping potential customers to identify which standards will address their needs. These search tools should be designed from the user’s point of view and provide potential customers with all the information they need in a language that is easy to understand.


A good search tool will in general improve the sales of standards. They should make it easy for customers to see which other standards are connected with or related to each standard. Ideally, they should also indicate when standards are being revised and which new standards are being developed in each area (at national, European or international level).


Online databases should provide enough information for potential customers to decide which standard(s) will meet their needs, and to make it clear what they should expect in terms of the content and scope of each standard.


In order to provide a good overview of all standardization activities in a particular area, it is useful to produce an annual report for each sector. This will make it easier for SMEs to find information about developments that might concern them. In case there are issues of particular interest, they can request more detailed information from the relevant standards organisation.


Such a report should include

  • information on the strategic importance of standards and standardization for each sector,
  • references to relevant directives,
  • information about technical committees and working groups, mirror committees and contact points at different levels (national, European and international).


Searching for applicable standards is sometimes difficult, especially for SMEs who may be unfamiliar with the world of standardization. Standardised catalogues focusing on specific sectors are needed to make information about available standards more easily accessible. Such catalogues could be developed by national standards organisations, working in collaboration with relevant stakeholders such as business associations (chambers of commerce, etc.).


Catalogues should include the following information:

  • Relevant standards and their content
  • The added value of using each standard
  • The status of each standard
  • Intended target group(s)
  • Relation with European and/or national legislation
  • Related standards
  • Certification marks/labels
  • How to obtain/purchase the standard

One way to make it easier (and more affordable) for SMEs to purchase relevant standards is by offering bundles of standards that are relevant for SMEs in specific sectors. User-friendly formats such as pocket-sized guides can also make standards more accessible.


Standards can sometimes be difficult to understand and implement. SMEs do not always have the capacity to fully understand the content of a standard and the requirements they need to comply with. In such cases, it could be useful to provide user guides with practical advice on how to implement specific standards or groups of standards. 


User guides should include lists of actions that SMEs or other standard users should undertake, in order to ensure that a particular product, service or system complies with a specific standard.

Checklists should include actions that are considered to be essential, as well as further actions that are recommended to ensure compliance with the standard in question.







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