Questions about two Certification Bodies (Registrars)

  • Thread starter qualitygoddess - 2010
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qualitygoddess - 2010

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#1
I am posting a very specific query regarding two certification bodies (registrars). My client is seeking input for their decision to choose one of these registrars (see below); I have not worked with either before. I believe some of my fellow Covers may have valuable input. Not that I wish to preclude anyone, but I would prefer replies from Covers working in North America. I am specifically looking for answers to these questions:

1. do the auditors provided to your company by the registrar have good experience and basic knowledge of your particular industry?

2. does the registrar have a documented process for customer complaints? If you used it, were you satisfied with the response?

3. when making inquiries of a more technical nature (i.e., an interpretation of the std type of question), was there a simple way for you to make that inquiry, and did you receive a timely response (say within 72 hours)?

The two registrars are VCA North America and ASR.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful replies. (yes, I did inquire with a moderator if it was OK post this message).

--QG
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Moderator
#2
I am posting a very specific query regarding two certification bodies (registrars). My client is seeking input for their decision to choose one of these registrars (see below); I have not worked with either before. I believe some of my fellow Covers may have valuable input. Not that I wish to preclude anyone, but I would prefer replies from Covers working in North America. I am specifically looking for answers to these questions:

1. do the auditors provided to your company by the registrar have good experience and basic knowledge of your particular industry?

2. does the registrar have a documented process for customer complaints? If you used it, were you satisfied with the response?

3. when making inquiries of a more technical nature (i.e., an interpretation of the std type of question), was there a simple way for you to make that inquiry, and did you receive a timely response (say within 72 hours)?

The two registrars are VCA North America and ASR.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful replies. (yes, I did inquire with a moderator if it was OK post this message).

--QG
I have used American Systems Registrar (ASR) before. They understood the requirements and had a consistent interpretation. They responded to questions within 24 hours of asking even if they went to the IAF/AB. There Customer service was superb. They understood the industry well. The company I used them for was into Parts Lists, Standard Aircraft Parts Catalogs and various other computer aspects (IT stuff).

My suggestion is to ask each of the two potential Registrars to come to the facility and be interviewed by everyone involved (also bring their recommended Auditor). They both should do this at their own costs. At least in my situation, I had both UL and ASR visit and be interviewed. Top Management preferred ASR even when I supported them as the CB.

Also see this thread where ASR was discussed: http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=12576

Note: Post #1000
 
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Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Staff member
Moderator
#7
Everyone, let's try and stay within the OP questions.

qualitygoddess said:
I am posting a very specific query regarding two certification bodies (registrars). My client is seeking input for their decision to choose one of these registrars (see below); I have not worked with either before. I believe some of my fellow Covers may have valuable input. Not that I wish to preclude anyone, but I would prefer replies from Covers working in North America. I am specifically looking for answers to these questions:

1. do the auditors provided to your company by the registrar have good experience and basic knowledge of your particular industry?

2. does the registrar have a documented process for customer complaints? If you used it, were you satisfied with the response?

3. when making inquiries of a more technical nature (i.e., an interpretation of the std type of question), was there a simple way for you to make that inquiry, and did you receive a timely response (say within 72 hours)?

The two registrars are VCA North America and ASR.

Thanks in advance for your thoughtful replies. (yes, I did inquire with a moderator if it was OK post this message).

--QG
 

Bill Pflanz

Inactive Registered Visitor
#8
Coury has probably given your client the best advice.

My suggestion is to ask each of the two potential Registrars to come to the facility and be interviewed by everyone involved (also bring their recommended Auditor). They both should do this at their own costs. At least in my situation, I had both UL and ASR visit and be interviewed. Top Management preferred ASR even when I supported them as the CB.
The problem with asking Covers the questions is that you will only be giving your clients anecdotal stories based on passed history. It tells you nothing about what to expect from either organization in the future. If the registrars you identified or even the other ones mentioned cannot answer the questions to your client's satisfaction then they are not the right choice.

The first question is okay in that it saves time in explaining your specific processes but any good auditor can and does have the ability to conduct viable audits in lots of industries. At one time, I thought industry knowledge was important but have since realized that an auditor with good skills is better than a bad auditor with industry knowledge. Randy, Sid and Aaron probably agree with that.

I would be very surprised if the registrar does not have a documented complaint process. If they cannot produce one in a reasonably short time if not immediately then it is time to go to the next choice.

The third question is the most difficult and is dependent on how the organization is staffed. Even if they did a good job in the past, there is no guarantee that it will happen in the future. Registrars have turnover and performance may change. I would question the registrar about their policy on returning customer calls. The most important thing to remember is that the registrar works for you and can be hired and fired.

Back in the early 90's when ISO registration was relatively new in the United States, I invited a number of registrars to visit as described by Coury and at their expense. We interviewed each of them and decided which one fit our culture the best. Our choice ended up being BSI (with British auditors). Their performance did decline somewhat when the U.S. office was started and we got inexperienced auditors but their process remained the same for scheduling, responding to questions, handling complaints etc. The biggest problem I thought was auditor turnover. I would ask some additional questions on how they train auditors, what their qualifications are and how often auditors change.

Bill Pflanz
 
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