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Compliant or ISO 17025 accredited: Is there a difference?

Posted by Phil Wiseman on Jun 5, 2015 3:51:00 PM
Phil Wiseman
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Compliant or Accredited? Is there really a difference?

Recently I was having a conversation regarding quality and the often used phrase came up- " All things being equal".  This got me thinking, when are all things equal?

In this particular conversation, it was regarding compliant versus accredited.  I don't think it is immoral, illegal or unethical to use the term compliant when advertising a companies qualifications. That said, there is a significant difference between being compliant and being accredited.  Often the term compliant is used when a company offering goods or services is not accredited to the particular standard referenced to as compliant.

I don't think it is immoral, illegal or unethical to use the term compliant when advertising a companies qualifications. That said, there is a significant difference between being compliant and being accredited.  Often the term compliant is used when a company offering goods or services is not accredited to the particular standard referenced to as compliant.

 

ISO Symbol

When I have my car serviced my preference is to use  Certified Technicians as this gives me an added level of confidence that they have been trained and tested on they skills they have achieved certification. The business and employees have invested time and money to demonstrate competence.  All things being equal, I then look for technical expertise and demonstrated competence in my particular brand of automobile.  A certified mechanic in engine rebuilding may not necessarily be certified in wiring harnesses. Likewise, a certified Ford mechanic may not have  the knowledge to repair a Scion.  Am I talking apples and oranges? Yes.  All things are rarely equal.

 

 All things being equal, I then look for technical expertise and demonstrated competence in my particular brand of automobile.  A certified mechanic in engine rebuilding may not necessarily be certified in wiring harnesses. Likewise, a certified Ford mechanic may not have  the knowledge to repair a Scion.  Am I talking apples and oranges? Yes.  All things are rarely equal.Likewise, a certified Ford mechanic may not have  the knowledge to repair a Scion.  

  • Am I talking apples and oranges? Yes.  
  • All things are rarely equal.

The  assessment by independent 3rd party auditors is a long established practice in accreditation.  Medical Device manufacturers  can receive ISO 13485 accreditation while Automotive manufacturers seek TS 16949. Both are accreditation standards, but very different manufacturing processes. Air Balancing professionals and Electrical Apparatus service centers have their own professional criteria for certification. Aerospace has AS 9100 and NADCAP. PhRMA companies are subject to 21 CFR and GMP. Food manufacturers are subject to HACCP. Accreditation to standards and compliance to best practices are common throughout all sectors of our economy.

Accreditation is used as a benchmark by many companies seeking suppliers to reduce variation.  Accreditation to a standard means a 3rd party has audited the company for conformance to the standard. 


Are Calibration Companies Accredited?

National Cooperation for Laboratory Accreditation Symbol 

International Laboratory Accreditation CooperationNational Conference of Standards Laboratories InternationalLaboratory Accreditation Bureau Symbol

 

ISO 17025 is the international standard for accreditation in regards to calibration and testing. The  entities above are involved in standards developing and providing assessment auditing to become ISO 17025 accredited. ISO 17025 looks very similar to ISO 9001 if you were to look at the table of contents. One key differentiator is the Scope of Accreditation and measurement uncertainty.  This is very important to the consumer of calibration as the Scope of Accreditation clearly shows what technical expertise has been demonstrated in specific measurement disciplines. The measurement uncertainty allows a calibration consumer to see what is the best measurement that can be made.  As an example, you can view our

As an example, you can view our Scope of Accreditation.  

This can become a very sophisticated discussion, but that is not the purpose of this article. 

What is the major difference in being compliant and accredited in calibration? An accredited company must have a scope of accreditation that articulates what measurement disciplines they have demonstrated competence to a 3rd party auditor and their best measurement capability. The claims made have been verified through independent auditing.  A compliant company has no obligation to do so nor are they held accountable by an independent body for any claims made.

 


ILAC( International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation) and NCSLI( The National Conference of Standards Laboratories) are independent organizations that have no financial gain in their policy statements or position papers.

ILAC and NCSLI have put together an excellent 2-page article on the differences between being compliant and accredited.

It's Free!

Download the ILAC/NCSLI White Paper

 
 
 
 


Visit our International Standards used in Calibration page for more on standards used in calibration.

 

Topics: Standards and Compliance

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