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25 TH ANNIVERSARY

One-stop-shop: combining certification, standardization and testing

The changes that have occurred in various areas of human activity and society, heavily influenced by globalization, understood the latter as the increased communication and interdependence among countries of the world, tend to unify the economy and diverse cultures. As a result of this phenomenon, in recent decades an unprecedented expansion of world trade has occurred, living standards have risen worldwide, and it has boosted demand for safe and high quality products and services for consumers. It is for this reason that consumers are interested in knowing whether the product or service that they are purchasing meets their expectations. Given the wide range that consumers find in the global market, it is usual to ask whether the product fulfils what is expected or if the product is safe and does not generate negative impacts to the environment, taking in account their needs and expectation in performance, including safety.
Thus, a definition of the characteristics that the product must have to satisfy market expectations is required, and it is achieved through the development of standards and regulations and other specifications which not only establish the requirements to be met, but also the way in which compliance with these requirements can be assessed by tests. Every day, companies have to adapt to new market rules and manufacture its products with the best quality, safety and environmental care.
The process addressed to prove that these characteristics of the product or service, meet specific requirements, called certification, has gained relevance and importance in recent years due to the demand from buyers and the need to compete in global markets.
So, it is possible to state the great importance of standardization, certification and testing in the context of the new global economy. Without these three elements, a manufacturer or supplier could not access new markets demonstrating that its products satisfy the buyer's expectations.
Standardization as a key tool for globalization offers significant benefits as a result of adapting products, processes and services to the purposes intended, by protecting health and the environment, preventing trade barriers and facilitating technological cooperation. By the other hand the standardization is a powerful tool for adapting o adopting new technologies by developing economies countries.
As a complement to the processes of standardization, the certification can bring to market the assurance required for the product or service, based on the implementation of testing or services to prove compliance with the requirements and providing assurance to the market about product conformity, allowing to generate appropriate levels of trust in relation to the product being purchased.
Standardization, certification and testing, a combination that constitutes the one-stop shop for access to markets.

Monica Vivas

ICONTEC Manager
ICONTEC Delegate to IQNet 

ICONTEC - Intituto Colombiano de Normas Técnicas y Certificación
Carrera 37 No. 52-95
Bogota, D.C.
Colombia
www.icontec.org