Best practices from the field

‍"Translating end-user needs into standards brings me great satisfaction."

Vera De Glas

‍Vera De Glas, R&D Engineer at Sioen NV, has been passionately working on standards for years. She does this both locally and internationally as a member of various committees. This has helped her build her network and become an even better advisor to her employer. She explains why both using standards and participating in standards development are of great importance to her and her employer.‍

Have you been working with standards for a long time?

Vera: "I started at Sioen as an R&D engineer in 2003, and began actively following standards soon after that. Working with standards over the past decades has helped me grow tremendously. I joined several European and international committees and got to know experts all over the world. That’s how I developed a broad network of experts with whom I often, and gladly, exchange ideas. Thanks to that network and all the knowledge I’ve accumulated, I’ve become a better advisor to my employer. For the first few years, I mainly watched and listened, but now I also actively take the lead in project groups. This year I even took the lead in developing a new standard. ISO 23616 was published in April and is an international standard for the cleaning, inspection and repair of firefighters' personal protective equipment."‍

Why are standards important to Sioen?

Vera: "Without standards, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Sioen is one of the leading European players in protective clothing. The clothing we bring to the market is certified according to European standards. Most protective clothing is purchased through public procurement contracts, and these usually refer to standards. A producer of protective clothing who doesn’t follow standards has no chance in our market. It’s not mandatory to use standards, but they allow us to position a complex product on the market in a relatively simple way. Standards impose minimum requirements in terms of quality, safety and reliability. This makes products distinguishable and comparable. We offer safe, but at the same time comfortable clothing. Our customers know that we work intensively with standards and have a great deal of knowledge about them. That inspires confidence. Any problems or questions? Our customers know they can come to Sioen. Don't forget that good protective clothing in our sector can make the difference between life and death. If a firefighter's protective clothing fails, they could die. That's why it's so important to follow standards.‍”

Does the NBN platform help you in your day-to-day operations?

Vera: "Absolutely. The NBN platform is our source for everything related to standards. As a member of the NBN, we're kept up-to-date on any important changes in the area of standardisation. Via the platform, we have easy access to all relevant standards, in several languages. A request for a new standard gets processed at lightning speed, so we can immediately advance with our work."

Sioen not only applies standards, it also actively contributes to further standards development. Why?

Vera: "Sioen's slogan is 'protection through innovation'. To stay a few steps ahead of competitors, innovation is very important. Active participation in standards development not only increases our credibility with customers, but also gives us an edge in the market. And it gives us a better understanding of the latest market trends. Standards need to be revised every five years, and the revision always takes the latest technological developments into account. By sitting on various committees, we also build a local and international network. It’s the ideal place to establish contacts and exchange ideas."‍

How important are end users in standards development?

Vera: "Hugely important. I’m in contact with customers on a regular basis. For example, the Paris Fire Department has been a customer since 2015, and together with our commercial people, I have already visited them on several occasions. This kind of contact is essential to the further development of standards. In addition, our customers often have extra requirements for products. When they share these new needs with us, we can work to incorporate them into the evolution of the relevant standards. Translating end-user needs into standards is something that gives me great satisfaction. My motivation? To work on standards that provide the correct level of protection and meet the real needs of users."‍

Find out how your Organisation can gain strategic advantage with standards

Discover our formulas or contact for a customized solution.


Want to share your expertise through standards development? Find out more:

Register as an expert

Thank you for your interest!
The link to the white paper on standards for SMEs has been sent to your email address.
You can also download it immediately below.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related articles

See all articles
Arrow pointing right