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  Measurement, Test and Calibration
  Summary of Lab Accreditation Programs

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Author Topic:   Summary of Lab Accreditation Programs
Marc Smith
Cheech Wizard

Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA

posted 14 September 2000 11:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2000 10:30:40 -0400
From: Jack Gale
To: 'Greg Gogates'
Subject: Summary of Programs

Guide 25 Gang,

I've been watching the postings and doing a little research on my own. I think what I have below summarizes calibration accreditation (or "accreditation") activity in the US:

A) NVLAP and A2LA have mutual recognition agreements or understandings with most of the Asian (APLAC)and European (EAL) nations. They are widely accepted, but are overwhelmed by the demand for their services. They are active participants in NACLA. (source: A2LA, NVLAP, NACLA websites). SCC, ILAC and APLAC members are also listed.

B) L-A-B is listed by the AIAG and puts out some useful information on their website. The company was established with the blessings of the Big 3. After a quick review, I believe their programs seem to be on par with the programs above (author's opinion) and they use ISO Guide 58. It takes time to achieve recognition from the other bodies and they are participating in NACLA, so it is assumed that they will achieve recognition as soon as NACLA can fulfill its role in this process. They state that their immediate goal is to help companies achieve accreditation. (source: LAB website, Fasor Listserv)

C) The AIAG has established a Second Party Calibration Lab Program (2pCP) to assess labs for compliance to the intent of ISO Guide 25. They will issue a "letter of compliance" to labs that pass. The program has yet to list anybody and is recognized by the Big 3. It uses auditors from supplier companies (ISO/QS auditors) and prepares them with three days of training followed by a 1/2-day test so that they may "audit calibration service providers to the intent of ISO/IEC Guide 25." (source: AIAG website, Stacy Oxley of AIAG)

D) Other auditing firms (Perry Johnson, BVQi, NQA, etc.) have been granted power by GM to conduct assessments to Guide 25. Since a two year cycle of accreditation history is required for them to be recognized by an accrediting body, they will be reviewed at the end of the period. They state that NACLA has no manpower to monitor during the interim and there seems to be little oversight. I was unable to to see which firms have been selected by GM, as I am not a direct GM supplier and could not enter their supplier website. I could find no description of the educational/experience requirements for this GM program. The wording used by the firms is varied and confusing (author's opinion). (source: NQA website, their customer's websites, Deana Hinske of GM, Richard Bernier of Perry Johnson)

In my opinion, the automotive industry greated a spike in demand with QS9000 rev 3 requirement and then has used sanctions to postpone it and allowed multiple methods, some controlled and others not, to meet the need by whatever means possible. Some possible solutions could include:

1. Clarification and oversight by the AIAG on programs originating from within the Big 3 until the programs can achieve proper recognition or be discontinued. Even something as simple as directing what the certificate can say and what the lab can claim would bring some order to the anarchy.

2. Intervention by the RAB to ask that the firms they accredit to perfom ISO9000 to not mislead customers when granting "accreditation" status. While the RAB has no role in G25, they have influence over the firms that are confusing the marketplace. Past RAB advisories have sought to eliminate confusion and this action would be towards that same goal. I would think that the RAB also has a stake in maintaining an organized and proper registration/accreditation programs in this country.

Jack Gale

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