What is accreditation?Accreditation demonstrates competence, impartiality and consistency of conformity assessment bodies (CAB’s) in performing inspections, certifications, tests and calibrations. Accreditation has been well proved as best practice in harmonizing governmental, market and customer requirements across the globe.
CAB’s get accreditations by accreditation bodies (e.g. UKAS in the UK, DAkkS in Germany, etc.), and thus become subject to oversight by them. European accreditation bodies, in turn, are members of the European cooperation for Accreditation (EA) and are signatories to the EA Multilateral Recognition Agreement (EA MLA). The EA MLA is recognized at international level by ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) and IAF (International Accreditation Forum). In this respect, accredited test reports or certificates issued by CAB’s signatories to the EA, ILAC/ or IAF MLA work as an international passport. This facilitates international trade, minimizes risk to business while giving confidence to interested parties.
Management systems, products, services, personnel and other similar programmes of conformity assessment are managed at a global level by the IAF, whereas laboratory and inspection accreditation by the ILAC. Their primary concerns comprise the following:
- Minimizing risk to business and customers, while making sure that accredited services are internationally approved and esteemed.
- Developing and harmonizing international accreditation practices.
- Establishing accreditation as an indicator of confidence in products and services, which is a key constituent to global trade facilitation.
What are the benefits of using an accredited conformity assessment body?Accreditation is an indication that a conformity assessment body (CAB) closely meets your expectations in terms of competence, value and recognition of the provided services. This emanates from the fact that accredited CAB’s comply with internationally approved standards and practices. It shall be noted here though, that absence of accreditation does not mean on its own the lack of competence or reputation of a CAB, as accreditation is not obligatory in many countries.
Choosing an accredited CAB though, results in a multi-faceted array of benefits that facilitate various business and trading operations. This becomes even more intense especially when operating internationally. Some of the most prominent benefits of pursuing accredited services include the following:
- Gain access to novel local and overseas business opportunities, as accreditation is a common contract / tender requirement of the private and the public sector globally.
- Accredited test reports and certificates are internationally recognized and esteemed and thus de-risk the decision of potential clients and of other interested parties.
- Accredited certification bodies ought to adequately understand your business field and can be considered as a source of impartial feedback. This input of knowledge helps your business improve and control costs by identifying best practice.
- Showing objective evidence of good practice to customers and interested parties, which is a key constituent to global trade facilitation.
- Demonstrating due diligence in the event of legal action.
- Reducing the need of re-evaluation of your business or products/services, thus winning time and increasing efficiency.