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World Accreditation Day 2024 - Certification Creates a Positive Mindset

Every year, June 9th marks World Accreditation Day (WAD). WAD was initiated by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) in 2011. We spoke with Rutger Fugers, Lead Auditor in Human & Care at Kiwa, about WAD and about the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. ‘Accreditation and certification are worth celebrating,’ he says.

This year's World Accreditation Day theme is ‘Empowering Tomorrow and Shaping the Future’. The June 9 event serves as a reminder of the pivotal roles accreditation and certification play in our daily lives, says Fugers. ‘By upholding standards, accreditation and certification offer clear guidance for businesses, while instilling confidence in customers and society at large. The legislative and standards framework propels progress and innovation across a wide range of sectors, including healthcare, construction, quality management systems, environmental sustainability, and information technology— sectors vital to our daily lives and economic well-being. That’s something to celebrate.’

More and more companies

Fugers goes on to explain that the opportunity for global business growth comes with risks: there is ‘more legislation, more risk from things like data leaks, security breaches, cyber attacks, and fraud, a greater demand from customers that businesses are reliable, ethical, and efficient, and a greater need for certification.’ Rutger adds, ‘This is why more and more companies want to certify. They have to move with the times.’

The impact of certification

Certification is the provision of written assurance - in the form of a certificate - by an independent body that the product, service, or system in question meets specific requirements. For Kiwa, certificate issuance is one of our main activities, and we provide a trademarked label for visual identification once we have awarded a certificate. Certification is an immensely useful tool for companies, promoting customer confidence, indicating compliance, protecting against risk, and securing international recognition. As Fugers points out, ‘Certification creates a positive mindset, a culture change for good within the organization, as staff participate in and benefit from the ongoing improvement of the quality of your organization.’

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ISO certification

ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. An ISO certification offers recognition that a company complies with ISO standards in areas like environmental management systems, quality management systems, information security, and occupational health and safety. To earn an ISO certificate, an organization must undergo an audit conducted by an independent certification body like Kiwa. Upon successful completion of the audit, the organization receives an official ISO certificate, confirming its conformity to the specified standards. Popular ISO standards include ISO 9001 for quality management, ISO 14001 for environmental management, ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety, and ISO 27001 for information security.

The ISO 9001, a popular example

ISO 9001 is a globally recognized standard for quality management and is the most widely used standard in the world—with over a million companies in 170 countries using it. It is designed to help organizations of all sizes set up, maintain, and improve their Quality Management System (QMS). In simple terms, a QMS is a set of processes and responsibilities that are set out and that make your business run how it’s supposed to. A good QMS will guide your organization as you standardize, harmonize, and improve quality controls across your processes and policies.

The seven Quality Management Principles (QMPs) set out by the ISO are:

● QMP 1 – Customer focus: exceed expectations
● QMP 2 – Leadership: enabling people can achieve the organization’s objectives
● QMP 3 – Engagement of people: competence and empowerment
● QMP 4 – Process approach: creating coherent and interrelated processes
● QMP 5 – Improvement: ongoing improvement
● QMP 6 – Evidence-based decision making: data analysis and evaluation
● QMP 7 – Relationship management: with all parties

In today’s global economy, companies must function with a high degree of quality. ISO 9001 certification can demonstrate this, internally and externally. Fugers explains, ‘The ISO 9001 certification improves your company. It improves processes, profits, customer confidence, compliance, international standing, and even creativity.’

A straightforward process

The certification process is straightforward and Fugers makes clear that ‘Kiwa is an auditing partner that is professional and affirming.’ Here’s the process:

● Step 1: You align with the requirements of ISO 9001
● Step 2: Kiwa audit and verify your systems
● Step 3: If successful, we issue your certificate
● Step 4: We continue doing verification audits
● Step 5: We monitor through on-site or remote audits
● Step 6: You make sure you continue to meet the certification requirements

World Accreditation Day

Accreditation is the formal recognition by an independent body that a certification body, such as Kiwa, operates according to international standards. Organizations like Kiwa, which certify third parties, themselves undergo formal accreditation, typically provided by a government-appointed accreditation body. This accreditation process ensures that certification practices meet acceptable standards, providing confidence that Kiwa is competent to audit and certify third parties. Kiwa has obtained accreditation from various bodies across many countries for a wide range of certification processes. For more details, check our Accreditations and Notifications web page.