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Standards and SMEs

If you are unsure how standards relate to your business, NSAI Standards is happy to guide you through journey.  We can assist in advising what standards are applicable to your product or service, no matter what your size or your sector. In addition, we can investigate if there are changes planned for the standards that you currently use.

To support the continuing contribution of SMEs to the Irish economy NSAI Standards provide information on the benefits of implementing standards for their businesses.  Participation in the standards development process allows SMEs to have a direct say on Irish, European and international standards being developed that shape the market in which they operate.

NSAI understands that investing in standards can be a time-consuming process however we believe standards are an investment that can reap rewards such as global recognition and credibility. This can instil confidence in the existing customers of a business resulting in retention as well as attracting new opportunities.

Your NSAI Standards contact is Fergal Finn, Standards Officer, Business Development
Direct 01 8073852 | Email


Practical Guides for SMEs for using ISO Management Systems

ISO Management Systems reflect industry best practice.  In addition to the ISO Management System standards there are practical guides for SMEs to assist in adopting the ISO Management Systems without the requirement for certification.

ISO 9001:2015 for Small Enterprises - What to do?

This handbook provides small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with guidance on developing and implementing an effective quality management system based on ISO 9001:2015 – Quality management systems – Requirements. 

While the requirements mentioned in the ISO 9001:2015 are meant for organizations irrespective of its size, the handbook focuses on how SMEs could get maximum benefit from the standard. It provides a clear understanding of what a Quality Management System is and what the requirements are before guiding you through the implementation process. 

For SMEs using the previous version of ISO 9001, this handbook will assist you in modifying your current system to better align with the requirements stated in the 2015 edition.

Source: ISO 9001:2015 for Small Enterprises - What to do? - Advice from ISO/TC 176 (pdf)


ISO 14001:2015 - Environmental management systems - A practical guide for SMEs

This handbook has been updated to take into account the latest edition of the standard, published in 2015. It aims to help small businesses understand the requirements of an environmental management system and to help them implement ISO 14001 successfully.

Source: ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems - Safety management systems


ISO 14046 - Environmental management - Water footprint - A practical guide for SMEs

ISO and ITC have jointly published this handbook to help organizations carry out water footprint assessment according to the ISO 14046:2014 International Standard. This handbook is a practical guide to develop a sustainable approach to water use that is based on practices of the International Standard.

SourceISO 14046 - Environmental management - Water footprint - A practical guide for SMEs


Ten benefits to SMEs in implementing standards

  1. Help you compete on a level playing field with bigger enterprises.
  2. Open up export markets for your products and services.
  3. Help you discover best business practices.
  4. Drive efficiency in your business operations.
  5. Add credibility and confidence for your customers.
  6. Open new business opportunities and sales.
  7. Give you the competitive edge.
  8. Reduce business risks.
  9. Help your company grow.
  10. Enable a common “language” to be used across an industry sector.

Source: 10 Good Things for SMEs (ISO)

European Standards SME Standards Supports

The CEN/CENELEC SME Toolbox gives SMEs a better understanding of how using standards can benefit your business, how you can identify the right National and European standards, how to get support from NSAI, CEN and CENELEC members and how to shape the content of future standards.

Source: CEN and CENELEC SME Toolbox of Solutions - Tools for SMEs

NSAI SME Annual Report

REGULATION (EU) No 1025/2012 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishes rules with regard to the cooperation between European standardisation organisations, national standardisation bodies, Member States and the Commission, the establishment of European standards and European standardisation deliverables for products and for services in support of Union legislation and policies, the identification of ICT technical specifications eligible for referencing, the financing of European standardisation and stakeholder participation in European standardisation.

This report is produced in accordance with Regulation 1025/2012 and highlights statistics supporting NSAI’s view that all standardisation activity carried out in Ireland is relevant for SMEs and how NSAI continues to engage with businesses about the work of NSAI. Download and read the NSAI SME Report 2019.

The NSAI national work programme, which is of interest to SMEs is available at NSAI Active Work Programme

If you wish to know more, please Register Your Interest and a member of the NSAI Standards Team will be in touch.