KANBrief 4/10

Information on standardization for SMEs

Standards organizations and industry associations now provide a range of information and search tools and services which are geared specifically to the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Here, we present a selection of aids and tools that support SMEs in applying standards and participating in the standardization process.

The DIN standards portal for the craft and trades sector

In partnership with Germany’s National Federation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH), DIN has developed a new search portal geared specifically to the needs of small and medium-sized craft and trade businesses. Following registration, which is free of charge, users can search easily for standards on specific trades or vocational groups, enabling them to identify quickly the standards important to them. Besides the bibliographic data on the standards, tables of contents and summaries can also be viewed.

In addition to the standards search function, the craft and trades portal provides information on relevant specialist topics and links to further information, including on OSH standards. Should standards be needed, they can be ordered via DIN’s Beuth publishing house, or downloaded. Charges apply.

Portal for draft standards ("Norm-Entwurfs-Portal" (in german))

In order to enable companies to participate in standardization activity more easily, DIN has created a portal for draft standards. Draft standards at the public enquiry stage are published here section by section, where they can be viewed free of charge and comments can be submitted on them. Registration, also free of charge, is first required. Searches in the draft standards can be filtered by standards committee or by key words. Users who have submitted comments or proposals for changes to a draft standard are invited to the comments resolution meeting and informed of the response to their comments.


The NoRA standards search tool offers a range of search functions for locating OSH-related subject matter more easily in standards. Besides conducting searches for key terms, users can call up a list of standards on specific hazards or areas of application, and thereby obtain a swift overview of the standards governing a particular field. In addition to the bibliographic data, the table of contents, an abstract and links to related standards are displayed. The database is updated monthly and currently contains information on approximately 6,600 standards.

SME help desks at DIN and at CEN/CENELEC

For small and medium-sized enterprises, DIN has set up a central contact point for questions relating to standardization. The help desk supports SMEs in identifying and applying standards and specifications, and advises companies who are interested in becoming actively involved in standardization activity.

The CEN-CENELEC help desk provides information free of charge to SMEs wishing to learn more about European standardization and the opportunities for participation in it. It answers questions by e-mail, and puts enquirers in contact with national SME standardization experts where necessary.

Standardization 101

This practical, 36-page introductory guide to standardization (in German) explains the benefit to companies of standards, their legal relevance, how they are developed, how SMEs are able to participate in the development process, and where they can find the standards relevant to them. The brochure is published jointly by the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), DIN and ZDH.

Public standards libraries

At DIN standards libraries, which exist in over 70 cities in Germany, the complete body of German standards and other technical rules can be inspected free of charge, and searches conducted in them. The standards can generally be viewed in electronic form at VDTs. The standards are also available for sale at some public standards libraries.

Sonja Miesner