Why ISO 17025 accreditation matters to SMEs

Laboratory work

And why you should give accreditation to this Standard serious consideration

Even the smallest organization has a lot to gain from an accredited Testing and/or Calibration Laboratory Management System (TCLMS).

New businesses rarely ponder the benefits of ISO 17025 Accreditation. Start-up priorities, and the fact that it takes a minimum of 5 months to get accredited, mean that the benefits of ISO 17025 rarely are given serious consideration.

Firstly, we are not talking about brick-and-mortar labs only.  Accredited laboratories can undertake work…

  • In-house in one’s own laboratory,
  • On-site in a mobile lab (might be a towed caravan), or
  • At a Remote Site with no infrastructure, e.g. testing of welding at an off-shore gas facility.

Secondly, there is a wide variety of businesses that might require or benefit from an iSO 17025 accredited laboratory.  These would include…

  1. New testing laboratory that needs to compete with established labs,
  2. Old calibration laboratory that need to ‘up its game’ to avoid loss of business to other accredited labs,
  3. Precision parts and product manufacturer whose customers value or demand reliable test results.
  4. Businesses with lots of devices/tools needing frequent calibration, e.g. aircraft maintenance or aircraft parts repair, where an in-house accredited lab saves money and is more responsive to demand,
  5. Remote location calibration where bringing calibration technicians to site is both inconvenient and prone to cause project delays, e.g. pressure testing of pipework at a mine in a desert location,
  6. Food testing lab in a food factory where both customers and the regulatory authorities are reassured by lab accreditation, and
  7. Manufacturing start-up of precision components, mouldings or similar needing to compete from the outset with established suppliers.

Can you see opportunities for your organization in ISO 17025 accreditation? If so, the list of benefits below can be used to persuade yourself and colleagues to get started sooner rather than later down the road to accreditation.ISO 12705 Gap Analysis Tool

7 practical benefits achieved through accreditation to ISO 17025: 2017

While helping to enhance your businesses reputation, here are some more benefits SMEs and others will enjoy...

  1. Independent confirmation of the validity of results as produced by your Testing or Calibration Laboratory.
  2. Recognized reputation as a ‘professionally’ managed business and you have the internationally-recognized Accreditation Certificate to prove it,
  3. Improved ability to respond to regulatory compliance issues regarding laboratory activities with an improved relationship with the regulatory authorities as a consequence,
  4. Reduced cost of calibration checks and of disruption to operations as you have a flexible in-house capability to handle your calibration needs,
  5. Peer recognition for having achieved an international benchmark, which in turn influences current and potential customers who are concerned about the reliability of test results,
  6. Improved sales opportunities when competing with long-established, larger organizations, and
  7. Larger pool of qualified candidates applying to work with your business because of its reputation.

So, if you haven’t got accreditation to ISO 17025, or you need ‘ammunition’ to persuade your colleagues, you now have 7 good reasons where the financial benefits, as well as the practical ones, can be calculated.  Your staff will thank you for it.

When is the right time to get ISO 17025:2017 Accredited?

As soon as processes and procedures are bedded in, you can start your accreditation project.  In practice, this means as soon as the lab is equipped and services installed.  You can then start on the development or utilisation of test methods and the training of analysts.  Don’t underestimate how long the pathway to accreditation is – 5 months minimum but could well be 12 months if you need laboratory developed methods or if there are complexities of planning permission or environmental operating licences, or if complex utilities and services  were needed.

NOTE: If you're wondering where to start with certification, begin by considering our ISO 17025 Lead Auditor Course as well as the other posts we have published about this standard and ISO 17025 training (search 'News' for 'iso 17025').

ISO 17025 Auditor Courses

Written by Dr John FitzGerald

Director and founder of deGRANDSON Global. After 15 years in manufacturing industry John has spent the past 25 years training, consulting and auditing ISO 9001 and other management systems. 'Our objective is to be a world-class provider of e-training using the best proven technology so to satisfy and, hopefully, delight all of our Learners. Great commercial success and professional esteem will surely follow.' Full profile: https://degrandson.co.uk/team/john-fitzgerald/
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