What is conformity assessment?
And why is it important?
Conformity Assessment is the demonstration used to show that a product, service, system, person or body meets specified requirements. These requirements most likely reside in a standard in order to keep a product, service, system, person or body safe and compliant across borders. A key component to adopting these standards is whether it can be translated throughout industry. An Internationally recognized standard enables consistency and coherence of conformity assessment and promotes trade across borders.
In today’s world, each day millions of products are traded across borders, and it is imperative for many of today’s products to require testing for conformance with specifications and compliance with safety or government regulations.
Why do we need conformity assessment?
The need for conformity assessment is often directly related to the impact of nonconformity. The more severe the consequences, the more likely it is that society requires proof that a product or system performs as it should. Once a product, service or system meets certain requirements, it has a number of benefits:
- It provides consumers with confidence to be able to trust the product or service
- It gives the company a competitive edge
- It helps regulators ensure that health, safety or environmental conditions are met, such as pollution or noise
- It allows for Government to protect their populations from unnecessary risks
- Insurers want to know that equipment will not cause loss of life or damage
Who does the assessments & how?
Third party conformity assessment is often utilized to provide a higher level of confidence in compliance to purchasers and users since the third party’s decision-making process is free and clear from any influence of the business between the first and second parties. Third parties can be laboratories on whose test data the determinations of compliance are based: inspection bodies, certification bodies and/or registration bodies.
There are so many factors that go into and need to be identified before a product, service or system can be analyzed in preparation for system design. These assessments often guide the international community to select a third party to ensure that across all borders the end users will have a degree of confidence across many platforms and industries. Additionally, accreditation may provide the system with competition and multiple market acceptance that further enhances the value, efficiency and effectiveness of the conformity assessment.