There is a very close relationship among inspection, sampling, testing and measuring. Inspection includes the examination of materials, products, components, assemblies, cargoes and consignments, usually for compliance with specified criteria. It includes visual examination and associated work, and may be more directly focused on products.
Certification is a confirmation of conformance of a product, service or system to established standards or requirements. Independent third party certification provides confidence that a product meets minimum safety and quality requirements. Certification to a management system, such as ISO 9001 or CRS 14 (CARICOM Standard for Good Management Practices for SMEs), provides an independent, expert opinion of a company’s management system, assures continual improvements and builds better customer relationship.
A Product Certification Scheme aims at providing Third Party Guarantee of quality, safety and reliability of products to the ultimate customer. The presence of a certification mark (known as a Standard Mark) on a product is an assurance of conformity to the specifications. The conformity is ensured by regular surveillance of the licensee's performance through inspections and testing of samples, drawn both from the market and the factory. The Product Certification Scheme operates in an impartial, non discriminatory and transparent manner.
In the context of ISO 9001:2000 (and ISO 9001:2008) or ISO 14001:2004, “certification” refers to the issuance of a written assurance (“the certificate”) by an independent external body that it has audited a management system and verified that said the management system conforms to the requirements specified in the standard.
To be really efficient and effective, an organization can manage its way of doing things by systemizing. This ensures that nothing important is left out and that everyone is clear about who is responsible for doing what, when, how, why and where. ISO's management system standards make this good management practice available to organizations of all sizes, in all sectors, everywhere in the world.
The importance of certification
The two fundamental objectives of product certification are:
- to assist consumers and end-users to make better-informed decisions about products in the marketplace; and
- to assist suppliers of the products to achieve marketplace acceptance.
Attaining management systems certification is one means of providing confidence to customers in general that the organization has an effective quality system which ensures that its products comply with customer requirements.