European certification widens to include electrical goods made worldwide

ENEC, the European certification mark for electrical products, has been extended to cover items made outside the EU.

“The opening of the scheme to manufacturers worldwide improves the safety of electrical products being placed on the European market,” said Mike Vint, past-president of the European Electrical Products Certification Association (EEPCA). “It’s a significant shift in the way electrical products are now being certified Europe-wide.”

ENEC indicates compliance with European safety standards and its extension to all electrical products creates a single independent safety mark for Europe.

European manufacturers, standardisers, certification bodies and consumer associations attended a recent event in Paris held to mark the relaunch of ENEC.

Vint said: “The ENEC mark is now an even more potent initiative in ensuring safe electrical products in Europe. Its expansion has been enthusiastically welcomed by manufacturers, certification bodies and consumer groups.”

The EEPCA Anniversary Colloquium, held in Paris last autumn, was largely dedicated to ENEC, and presentations were made by key stakeholders including CENELEC, the European standard maker in the electrical field; ORGALIME, the European engineering industries association); ANEC, the European federation of national consumer associations; and LVD ADCO, the European Administrative Cooperation body for market surveillance in the low voltage area.

Certification bodies

Only independent, accredited European certification bodies can issue the ENEC mark and testing takes place in European approved test laboratories throughout the world (including manufacturers’ test laboratories).

More than 14,000 certificates covering 32,000 products have already been granted and the ENEC mark scope has now been extended to include:

  • luminaires and associated components
  • household appliances
  • IT equipment
  • consumer electronics
  • safety transformers
  • couplers, connecting devices
  • controls, switches
  • capacitors, filters.

Benefits of the ENEC include:

  • One high quality mark recognised in Europe demonstrating compliance with European safety standards
  • ENEC certified products available on the public register,
  • Usage supporting application of CE marking
  • Robust defence against product liability claims.

How to keep bailiffs at bay

SMEs are being urged to be more proactive in the face of an increasing trend towards legal action over unpaid bills.
Fiona Ghosh, partner of law firm Eversheds, said: “It is easy to say SMEs should take a more robust stance and negotiate terms, such as a longer time to pay and lower rates of penalty interest on late payments, but ‘business is business’.

The key, as ever, is to manage cash flows effectively. Contractual terms for payments in should be tight and those for payments out should be as flexible as possible. Other steps include making sure the counterparty cannot end the relationship simply for one late payment and the ability to renegotiate if currency fluctuations make the relationship commercially unviable.”

Falling prices slow to trickle down

Small business contractors are facing annual cost increases of 10.4% – more than double the rate of consumer inflation and above the national average (9.4%), according to the second Business Inflation Guide (BIG) from More Than Business.

The rate of inflation for contractors fell 0.7% in the third quarter of 2008 (down from 11.1%). But while some costs are said to be falling, spurred by a reduction in fuel, material, insurance and vehicle costs, More Than Business says margins will be squeezed by rising labour costs, the largest proportion of expenditure for UK contractors.

The firm’s head Mike Bowman said: “Cost reductions are not filtering down to the small business economy as quickly as they have for consumers.’’

Credit crunch advice service

Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and financial services group, is promoting a “fast track” services for construction industry businesses affected by the credit crunch.

The service, designed for businesses with turnover of £5m and above, offers a complimentary diagnostic meeting, identifying critical success factors and solutions.
Guy Rigby of Smith & Williamson said: “There are a lot of good businesses needing support. Some may require objective advice, while others may need help with funding. Our approach will help them focus on their options.”

Businesses wishing to access the new service should email