REGISTRATION AND ACCREDITATION IN QUALITY SYSTEMS
European customers expect U.S. companies to have their quality systems certified (audited) or registered to one of the standards of the series. This involves having an accredited independent third party registrar conduct an on-site audit of the company’s operations against the requirements of the appropriate ISO standard.
- Certification = conformance to a standard;
- Standards are nationally/internationally recognized for specific aspects of products and services;
- There are approximately 40 certification bodies in the UK for product and quality control systems (e.g. British Standards Institution’s Quality Assurance Scheme and Lloyds);
- Registration leads to adding companies names in the ‘Register of Quality Assessed United Kingdom Manufacturers’;
- Inclusion in the register can only be achieved through third party certification by an approved body such as BSI and in compliance with standards such as BS 5750;
- Certification bodies have to comply with certain criteria such as:
- National/International recognition;
- Have to balance the interests of user and supplier;
- Full documentation;
- Provision of a clearly defined appeal procedure.
- Certification only looks at compliance to standards and therefore does not place any emphasis on whether products are fit for their intended purpose;
- Approval is still given by associations and agencies which use their own criteria or an industry wide standard if there is one available;
- Two major symbols operated by the British Standards Institution are often used to mark that the products have been tested and are certified as capable of meeting the widely accepted standard.
The accreditation process:
The National Accreditation Council for Certification Bodies (NACCB)
1. There are four certification categories which include:
- Quality management systems;
- Product conformity;
- Product approval;
- Personnel engaged on quality verification.
2. NACCB was set up in 1984 in the UK to carry out accreditations on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).