A laboratory acquires ISO 17025 accreditation to have a formal recognition as a competent laboratory that deliver reliable results. It also provides customers with a piece of mind, that if they use ISO 17025 accredited labs, they are going to get accurate results. ISO 17025 accreditation’s helps customers differentiate between laboratories and choose credible testing and calibration services. An added benefit for the ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, is that it gains positive reputation at an international level and make them stand out from their competitors. The UK accreditation body UKAS, use ISO 17025 to audit a laboratory across a range of areas that are relevant to a laboratory’s capability to produce accurate results.
Some of these areas are, but is not limited to, the following:
- Appropriate maintenance of testing equipment.
- Quality Assurance.
- Validity of testing methods.
- Appropriate handling of test samples.
- Quality of testing.
- Competence of staff.
- Appropriateness of testing methods.
- Compliance of measurements and calibrations to set standards.
The audit and accreditation are not a onetime procedure, where once a laboratory is accredited, they do not need to follow their operating procedures anymore. Once accredited to ISO 17025, laboratories are assessed over and over again to maintain their accreditation. This typically consist of a re accreditation every 3 years and surveillance audits on an annual basis.
Benefits of Using ISO 17025 Accredited Labs
Many companies fully rely on the results generated by laboratories to provide their products or services. Clients and contractors are encouraged to use laboratories that have an ISO 17025 accreditation. Some of the benefits of getting ISO 17025 accredited are outlined below.
As a Marketing Tool
Procurement officials often use ISO 17025 accreditation as a criterion when vetting laboratories for a job or project. ISO 17025 is acknowledged both on National and International level and has high importance when companies are procuring laboratories for their contracts. This formal recognition of ISO 17025 accredited labs certainly highly marketable and cannot be undervalued at any cost. The accreditation can often be used as a gateway to submit tenders as it often is used as a acceptance criteria. Another way it can be used as a marketing tool, is that the accreditation bodies publish the accredited laboratories along with their contact details and testing capabilities on their website.
As a Benchmarking Tool
The technical competence of a laboratory is tested by ISO 17025 and a number of procedures and criteria is involved in this process. The laboratories use this tool to test their own quality control. During this process, the technical skills and tools are assessed and evaluated thoroughly, so that any areas of improvement can be identified. It is not as laborious as it may sound. A lot of laboratories work in solitude with their associated and it very rare that they obtain any independent technical assessment as a benchmark of their performance. An accreditation body regularly assess all features of a laboratory’s operations in producing accurate results. A detailed report is presented at the end with all the areas of improvement mentioned. A follow up is also done to check if all the corrective actions are performed accurately. Along with commercial testing and calibration, laboratory accreditation can also be used for in house testing of own products to ensure that results are accurate.
As a Business Enhancement Tool
The accreditation helps the laboratories to win contracts from clients who send their products abroad for accurate testing and results. It can be very cost effective for clients not having to ship products abroad for testing and helps ISO 17025 accredited labs grow their business.
In a nutshell, laboratory accreditation is an organised methodological approach to control all its processes and procedures. It also creates a better business image of the laboratory. For any business, first and foremost priority is customer satisfaction and laboratory accreditation definitely enhance customer satisfaction.
If you are looking to develop and implement an ISO 17025 laboratory management system, then contact us for a free consultation on how we can support with your project.