Articles • 3 mins read
Quality infrastructures are the cornerstone of global economies and play a pivotal role in all aspects of our daily lives. Running from 6th-10th November 2023, this year’s World Quality Week celebrates the many ways in which quality professionals, management systems and approaches can help organisations realise their competitive potential.
Standards, conformity assessment and accreditation are the three founding pillars on which national quality infrastructures are built the world over. Refined by decades of practical experience and industry expertise, standards represent the codification of agreed best practices, laying out a pathway and setting expectations. Through testing, calibration, inspection and certification, conformity assessment confirms that organisations are meeting the requirements of the relevant standard. Sitting on the next rung up the quality ladder, accreditation provides independent third party assurance that conformity assessment bodies are both technically competent and impartial in their assessment.
For over 50 years accredited conformity assessment against international standards has delivered numerous wide-ranging benefits that help organisations both gain and maintain a competitive edge.
Having a robust supply chain is an essential element of modern business. Consequently, many organisations in both the public and private sector will specify accreditation as a pre-condition of their procurement process. Suppliers without the appropriate accreditation risk being excluded from tenders and losing ground to their competitors.
In addition to broadening the potential marketplace at home, accreditation also helps organisations compete in an increasingly global economy. UKAS is a signatory to IAF, ILAC and EA multilateral agreements. As a result, accredited products and services are recognised as equivalent in over 100 economies across the world. This “accredited once, accepted everywhere” approach simultaneously lowers potential barriers to trade and removes unnecessary duplication of effort, further increasing an organisation’s competitiveness.
Confidence and reputation
Accreditation is utilised in almost every established industry sector and provides a framework for generating confidence in innovative new technologies. Either becoming accredited or using accredited services demonstrates that an organisation is concerned about embedding best practices and continually improving the quality of its goods and services. It can also illustrate that an organisation is concerned with wider societal issues such as sustainability and good health. Together this provides market differentiation, underpins customer confidence and enhances an organisation’s overall reputation, improving its ability to compete.
Professionals often hold accreditation in high esteem, seeing it as a badge of honour. As well as raising existing staff skill and morale levels, becoming accredited can also enhance competitiveness by attracting higher quality personnel into the organisation.
Efficiency and agility
Much more than being a mere box-ticking compliance exercise, going through the assessment process allows organisations to streamline processes by identifying and addressing internal inefficiencies. In addition to reducing costs, this could enable organisations respond more quickly to evolving marketplaces and customer demands, allowing them to steal a march on their competitors.
All UKAS stakeholders and customers are encouraged to participate with the hashtag #WorldQualityWeek and visit the CQI’s website for further information and resources: https://www.quality.org/WQW23