The Use of External Non-Accredited Lab

jamiedgwilson

Registered
I have a small lab within a large automotive parts supplier. We typically conduct material analysis for pre/post prototype products or sub-components. We do not directly sub-contract work as an internal lab. However, sometimes the engineering teams may use non-accredited labs (often local Universities) to gather data. They then engage us and we help with interpretation and sometimes use the data to inform the next steps in our investigations. The reason local Universities are used is speed and cost, as many of the team have existing relationships and can start analysis the next day at reasonable cost.

We are not ISO17025 accredited, although I am trying to align with the requirements as best practise and possible future application. I understand in accodance with ISO17025 any externally provided services must also be accredited to ISO17025. However, I'd like to understand are there any circumstances that this situation may be allowed?

Aprreciate any feedback! Thanks
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Leader
Admin
Welcome jamiedgwilson!

What are the things being measured, and what are their purpose(s)?
 

dwperron

Trusted Information Resource
I have a small lab within a large automotive parts supplier. We typically conduct material analysis for pre/post prototype products or sub-components. We do not directly sub-contract work as an internal lab. However, sometimes the engineering teams may use non-accredited labs (often local Universities) to gather data. They then engage us and we help with interpretation and sometimes use the data to inform the next steps in our investigations. The reason local Universities are used is speed and cost, as many of the team have existing relationships and can start analysis the next day at reasonable cost.

We are not ISO17025 accredited, although I am trying to align with the requirements as best practise and possible future application. I understand in accodance with ISO17025 any externally provided services must also be accredited to ISO17025. However, I'd like to understand are there any circumstances that this situation may be allowed?

Aprreciate any feedback! Thanks
Being ISO 17025 accredited will be a benefit to your customers. If you are not accredited then your customer is responsible to prove that you meet the requirements of conformity, which can be a burden.
It is the same issue if your externally provided services are not 17025 accredited - the burden will be on you to show that they are in compliance to 17025.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
Some labs are State "government" licensed so they are held to a standard, just not 17025. I see it all the time.
 

dwperron

Trusted Information Resource
Some labs are State "government" licensed so they are held to a standard, just not 17025. I see it all the time.
You're right, that would be "legal for trade" weights and measures. Those have nothing really to do with 17025.
But this appears to be a test lab, not something a state would regulate.
 

jamiedgwilson

Registered
Welcome jamiedgwilson!

What are the things being measured, and what are their purpose(s)?
Sorry for the delay in replying - I didn't realise I had responses :)

Typical analysis we would complete internally include SEM-EDX, FTIR, DSC, DMA, usually on plastics and PCBs. This is mostly to characterise or identify a material, identify the root-cause of a failure, assess the degradation of a prototype after testing. It's similar work externally, sometimes due to our capacity, or the need for other capabilities (e.g. GC-MS, ICP, etc...).
 

Jeanmcgovern

Registered
IATF 16949:2016 Sanctioned interpretation #10 says "where an non-accredited laboratory is utilized (e.g. for example, but not limited to: for specialist or integrated equipment, or for parameters with no international traceable standard reference, or original equipment manufacturers), the organization is responsible to ensure that there is evidence that the laboratory has been evaluated and meets the requirements of Section 7.1.5.3.1 of IATF 16949.4". That being said, the requirements listed in this section basically want you to be accredited to 17025, with the caveat of "unless acceptable to customer" as a tier 2 supplier, I interpret this to mean the OEM, and if I have a certified lab option available, I am not going to even ask my customer, I am going to choose the certified lab.
 
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