Norms and Quality Standards
Industry norms developed by the DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung e.V., German Institute of Standardization) are widely accepted in Germany, although they are not required by law. DIN coordinates its activities with and represents Germany in international bodies of standardization, i.e. CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
DIN provides its own or German adaptations of international standards which business partners may chose to agree upon; some standards are even used as references in laws and regulations. Although DIN began its work with technical standards, it has expanded its focus to include more and more standards for services.
Here are a few types of norms you may encounter in Germany:
- DIN: norms issued by the German DIN institute.
- EN: norms and standards developed by the European Committee for Standardization.
- ISO: norms and standards issued by the International Organization for Standardization.
- DIN EN: European norms which have been adapted for Germany through the DIN institute.
- DIN ISO: International norms which have been adapted for Germany through the DIN institute.
The German RAL e.V. (RAL Deutsches Institut für Gütesicherung und Kennzeichnung e.V.) works together with industry representatives to develop a wide range of quality standards for both products and services in Germany. The organization also independently assesses companies' goods and services and awards a seal of quality if the requirements are met. The seal of quality, like the DIN industry norms, provides a means of distinguishing companies from the competition and increasing their reputation with customers and, consequently, their chances for referral.