Businesses take pride in the certification they hold. It is a way to get acknowledge for the standard of their products or services. The certification can tell the story of a product’s quality. However, in the context of Nepal, there is no separate national policy on the quality that clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of all organizations.
Importance of Certification
The primary reason to get certification and accreditation for a product or service is to ensure consistency in quality and customer satisfaction. With the growing market, there is unhealthy competition among the businessmen. In such a scenario, certification helps an organization meet a global, industry-recognized benchmark. People will trust a company more if they have a quality certification.
Certification means companies or products have maintained and are obliged to maintain their quality of products and services. The internationally recognized certifications will elevate the products’ value. With quality certification, customers too can feel safe and also it increases the reliability of the product they are consuming. This will lead to increased customer satisfaction and sales.
Having certification also adds up to the possibility of business expansion, be it in the domestic or international market. The certification makes it easier for companies to export the products. The increasing export eventually increases the national revenue. Products having the certification are and will be high in demand in comparison to products that have no certification.
Nepal is known to be the producer of handcrafted goods, the chances of them being of premium quality are higher. But, because of the lack of certification, the Nepali companies have not been able to benefit from the price they are entitled to. Though Nepali products are of quality and are competent in the international market, entrepreneurs are not being able to compete. It is due to the absence of internationally accredited quality certification lab for exportable goods.
Quality certification bodies in Nepal
The Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) in Nepal is responsible for providing relevant information and services to ensure the quality of services, from the ends of both consumers and the suppliers. The NBSM operates as one of the Departments of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Supplies. And as the sole national certification body of Nepal, it authorizes product certification against Nepal Standards.
The NBSM is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) since 1991. It is an affiliated member of the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) since 2001. While the NBSM started using NS/ISO numbering for standards adopted from ISO standards since 2003.
Besides the NBSM, there are other international Certifying Bodies operating in Nepal. They are either operating directly from their countries or through their regional or India-based subsidiaries for QMS, EMS, FSMS, HACCP, OHS certifications.
There are a few private agencies operating within Nepal, having links with internationally-accredited certifying bodies in different countries. Some of the foreign certifying bodies reported to have been operating in Nepal as well. Some of them are BSI Certificate Ltd, UK, Det Norske Veritas Certification BV (DNV), Netherlands, International Certification Services (ICS), India and Quality Austria, among others.
Quality Certification process
The NBSM obtains all the necessary information to complete the certification process. The processes adopted for product certification comprises of filling application, review, evaluation, certification decision and certification documentation.
The organization first has to obtain all the required information in order to complete the process in accordance with the relevant certification scheme. One can obtain the information via an official application or via online.
For product certification:
After one completes official application form, signed by a duly authorized representative of the application. Along with the form, Industry/Company registration document, VAT, PAN registration documents, and Food registration document (for food-related products only) and others based on the preferred scheme are also required.
As soon as the organization submits the application form, the procedure for application review proceeds. In application review process, they ensure that the information provided about the client and the product is sufficient to move ahead for certification. In case, the application form is incomplete, they return it to the applicant to complete and submit again.
The NBSM ensures all the necessary information, as well as documentation, is all according to the policies. The plan is generic, specific or combination of both, depending on the characteristics of the certification scheme and the product requirements.
In cases of non-conformities, the NBSM informs the clients about them. However, the process is repeated to complete the additional evaluation tasks, if the client agrees to correct and complete the additional evaluation tasks. As per the results related to the evaluation, the NBSM assigns at least one person to review all the information, who does not involve in the evaluation process.
After all these processes, the NBSM assigns the Certification Mark Committee. This is to make the certification decision based on the information related to the evaluation, its review, and other relevant information. Members of the Certification Mark Committee, not involve in the evaluation, make the certification decision. The certification body notifies the client of a decision not to grant certification, with the reasons for such a decision.
After the certification decision, its documentation includes the signature of Director General (DG) or the person authorized by DG. The formal certification documentation that includes the name and address of the certification body and the client. Also, date of certification granted, term and expiry date of the certification is provided to the client.