The first key to ensuring your products are successfully certified is to work with an accredited and knowledgeable certification agency. In order to prepare for the initial communication and to ensure you are receiving the correct support for your products is to provide as much information to them as possible. Important product details to provide include:
- A fact sheet or data sheet describing the product and its functionality (what is the product? What does it do? What are the specifications, design and materials it is made out of? How is it used?)
- Photograph or design of the product
- A break down of all materials the product is made of including models/catalogue designations, electrical ratings (if applicable) and certification file numbers (if applicable)
- Product labels or markings (i.e. ratings, warnings, etc.)
- Instruction and/or user manuals
- The full name and address of all facilities where the product will be assembled and a contact person for each facility
- A list of any previous agency approvals.
The next phase is to discuss your global market entry needs. Which markets are you intending to enter? If you are planning on entering multiple markets, you need to ensure you are aware of any national, regional or local regulations or governing bodies that exist. It is also important to ensure your product meets the correct safety standards for each market, and adheres with any important legislation that exists. You can read more in some of our previous articles about various markets and some of the requirements you may need to take into consideration:
Following ensuring that your product adheres to specific country/regional requirements, the next phase is evaluation and testing. Certification projects generally follow a process of evaluation and testing. From an assessment perspective, the certification agency you work with will evaluate your product against any required standards. An example of such an assessment is a Conformity Assessment, which, if successful, would produce a Declaration of Conformity for your product to enter the European Union marketplace.
In order to complete the review and testing, you would need to provide your agency with a sample of the product you would like to be certified. All product samples should be labelled with your project reference number. In some cases, the certifier may also visit your facilities – for example if the product is quite large or the production run is limited. If your product has already been tested, you would be required to provide the results in advance.
Upon completion of the review and testing, there will be a summary communicated that demonstrates the results and next steps of the certification process. Any adjustments or alterations would also be communicated in this step.
Once the product meets all requirements, the certification would be attained and the product would be suitable to enter the desired marketplace. Depending on which market you would like to enter, various markings would be put on your product. You can read more about some of them in our previous articles:
Audits and inspections may also be carried out once the product has been certified to ensure continued compliance of the product itself. Each auditing agency would have different requirements surrounding this.
Essentially, it is important to think things through before launching a product in general. There are many considerations and different ways of going about certification. If you follow the above checklist, you will definitely ensure you are well-prepared.