Newsletter – Issue 8 – 2017

Newsletter – Issue 8 – 2017

New standardisation sub-sectors lined up for SBS in 2018

At the SBS General Assembly on 30 November 2017, experts were appointed to represent SMEs in Technical Committees (TCs), Sub-Committees (SCs) and Working Groups (WGs) in 2018. Experts were appointed at both European and international levels. Thanks to these appointments, SBS experts will next year be covering a more diverse range of sectors. New sectors covered include industrial data, smart community infrastructures and textiles – such as coated fabrics, protective clothing, and fibres.

SBS experts are appointed on a yearly basis, following an open call for experts.
SBS wishes all new and re-appointed experts a warm welcome and looks forward to further cooperation in the coming year.

Standards, a business opportunity: national seminar in Belgium

On 14 November 2017, SBS organised a seminar with UNIZO, a UEAPME member organisation, on standards and their impact on SMEs. It was held in Vilvoorde at Living Tomorrow, a unique hub highlighting futuristic products and services. Ms Viviane Camphyn from Nelectra and Mr Eric Winnepenninckx from the Belgian Building Research Institute shared their experience, to show how standards can be an opportunity for businesses. Participants welcomed the initiative and agreed on the necessity to further raise SMEs’ awareness of the value of standards for their business.

Quality Management and performance standards: national seminar in Estonia

On 21 November 2017, SBS and EVEA (the association of Estonian SMEs) organised a national seminar in Tallinn. The seminar focused on Quality Management standards and the achievement of higher performance through organisation. Experience and stories in these areas were shared by representatives from the Estonian standardisation organisation, the European Commission and by Estonian experts active in the standardisation process. The seminar was held under the Estonian EU Presidency and as part of the European SME Week 2017.

Train-The-Trainer Workshop on ‘The Standardisation System for SMEs’ 

On 27 November 2017, a Train-The-Trainer Workshop was held on ‘The Standardisation System for SMEs’. Organised in Milan at UNI, the Italian Standardisation Organisation, the workshop gave participants essential information on standards, participation rules and actions put in place by Italy’s national standardisation organisation (NSO) to facilitate SMEs’ participation in developing standards.
During the workshop, participants highlighted the importance of collaborating with SME organisations in the standardisation process. In particular, CNA (Italian national craft trades confederation) experts – working in different sectors (ICT, electrical and ergonomics) at the national, European and international levels – highlighted three best practices. These presentations explained how SBS activities increase the benefits for SMEs at national and local level.
The workshop also enabled participants to debate with the experts and Mr Ruggero Lensi, the Director General of UNI, about the obstacles still faced in this field by SMEs. Obstacles include the complexity of standards, the development of many standards with low market relevance, and the high costs of participation and access to standards for SMEs.

Training on digitisation

At a training event on digitisation, held on 29 November 2017 in Brussels, participants picked up tips on ‘How SMEs can reap the benefits of standardisation in the era of digitisation’. The event’s objective was to train and inform SMEs and SME organisations about the challenges and opportunities resulting from digitisation. Speakers included representatives from the European Commission, CEN-CENELEC and the presentation of several case studies by SBS experts. According to the European Commission, 42% of large companies are highly digitised in the EU, compared to 16% of SMEs.
The Second European Industry Day 2018, to be held in Brussels on 22-23 February 2018, will update stakeholders on the European Commission’s strategic approach to industrial policy and actions to further develop industrial competitiveness in Europe. Find out more: website

SBS launches new Working Group on the future of the Construction Products Regulation

The Construction Products Regulation (CPR), the EU legislation covering the marketing of construction products throughout the EU, is undergoing a thorough review into its effectiveness and efficiency. The review will assess the merits and downsides of a possible revision, more flexible interpretation or even a repeal of the CPR. Among other ongoing activities, the European Commission will launch a public consultation on the regulation, starting in December 2017.
To prepare for this public consultation, SBS has created a CPR Review Working Group, made up of representatives of SBS member bodies, to prepare its position. This WG met twice in November 2017. Instead of looking at the CPR, the  WG concentrates on individual aspects of the regulation. Among them are user expectations versus manufacturer responsibilities, exemptions and simplifications offered by the CPR, and the quality and content of harmonised European standards.

Standardisation underpins the construction sector’s digital evolution

Digitisation in construction is a key topic on the EU agenda, with SMEs playing a lead role in achieving this sector’s innovation objectives. On 30 November 2017, the European Commission hosted an event to discuss the opportunity to create a dedicated European digital platform, which would support the construction industry’s digitisation. If realised, this platform would promote open approaches, independent players and enable data exchange among key market players, with particular reference to SMEs. Standardisation challenges are partially responsible for the construction industry lagging in digitisation. Adopting open standards in the Building Information Modelling ecosystem would help to reduce barriers for SMEs in the construction sector. Indeed, open standards provide common interoperability that allows users, customers, organisations and governments to communicate and work freely across borders, creating the opportunity to integrate solutions at lowest cost.

SBS opens a new discussion forum for lift sector SMEs

Launched on 13 December 2017, the SBS Lift Forum on standardisation brought together experts, entrepreneurs and stakeholders from across the lift sector. The theme of this opening event was the ‘Impact on SMEs of the latest standardisation measures for lifts’. An overview of the standardisation framework for SMEs was delivered by Ms Annalisa Tessarolo (European Commission, DG GROW). Lift experts and entrepreneurs then presented the main activities undertaken in 2017, calling on the SBS sectoral approach. There followed a presentation by Mr Luciano Faletto on the new standards EN 81-20 and 81-50, which entered into force on 1 September 2017. Afterwards Mr Jean-Pierre Ménard and Mr Lorenzo Beltrán Aguirre reported on their experience applying these standards. Lastly, during a presentation on the Task Group established within the ETSI Smart M2M, Mr Ivan Ferrarini illustrated how the Internet of Things (IoT) can meet the needs of the elevator industry. For more information, please contact the EFESME Secretariat.


Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.