SME standardisation guide (Guide 17)
In 2010, CEN and CENELEC decided to adopt Guide 17 for writing standards taking into account SMEs needs. Also thanks to the fundamental contribution of SME representatives during the drafting phase, this guide raises awareness on the issues that may be of importance to SMEs in the development of standards and to facilitate the increased participation of SMEs in standardisation work.
The Guide presents a list of recommendations and measures that can be implemented in different moments of the standard drafting process, from the preparation of the new work item to the final review process. Some of the most relevant recommendations are:
- consider the market relevance of a standard and take into account already available elements
- take into account the financial impact in terms of investments from standard implementation
- keep the standard as short and clear as possible, limiting cross-referencing to other standards
- limit unnecessary testing and carefully consider frequency of tests
- suggest a coherent transition period
- assess the implications of possible changes in the revision process
Guide 17 is available free-of-charge in several European languages. Please click on the following links to download the guide in PDF.
English | French | Bulgarian | Danish | Czech | Croatian | Lithuanian | Slovakian | Portuguese | Slovenian | Maltese | German | Dutch | Italian | Swedish | Norwegian | Estonian | Polish | Spanish | Finnish | Greek | Hungarian
In September 2014, SBS was appointed by CEN-CENELEC SME Working Group to lead the “Apply Guide 17” project and has already put forward activities with the SME WG on its promotion.
Recommendations for Business Associations
A brochure “Including SMEs in standardisation”, published in May 2012 provides recommendations on how business associations and standards organizations can help to raise awareness among SMEs about standards, provide them with relevant information, and promote their participation in standardisation. This brochure is the result of a survey undertaken by NORMAPME and CEN and CENELEC end of 2011 on identifying and analyzing/evaluating the current working ways between business associations and standards institutes.
The most important recommendations to be given to business associations are
- Establish good contacts and communication with your Standard Institutes
- Create forums for regular dialogue with your Standards Institute
- Ensure that the needs and wishes of your SMEs are taken into account in standardisation
- Provide advice and expertise and coordinate the collection and sharing of information -> appoint a technical adviser in your association!
- Help making standards available in the language of your country
- Organise trainings
- Produce practical guides about how to use or implement standards
- Develop online tools that make information about standards accessible
- Help with the creation of bundles of standards appropriate for different professions.
How to include SMEs in standardisation
Standards Bodies can adapt their ways of working to make sure that the needs of SMEs are systematically taken into account during the standardisation process and thereby ensure that standards are widely accepted by all stakeholders, including SMEs.
Business associations can convey the needs of SMEs towards standards organisations and help them to make their activities and services more accessible for SMEs. These associations can effectively explain the importance of standards and the reasons to participate in the standards making process to their members as well as giving advice on standardisation issues. Business associations in this context are all membership-based organizations that serve and represent private companies, including (but not necessarily limited to) SMEs.