The global pandemic has drastically changed consumer perceptions of the world. According to the World Bank, the world recession caused by Covid-19 is the deepest since World War II. Covid-19 has had a dramatic effect on supply and demand in world markets, affecting the supply chain and altering consumer preferences. Against the backdrop of encouraging inclusive and sustainable industrial development, quality infrastructure has a particularly crucial role to play in the fight against the global pandemic.
With more than 50 years’ experience and 26,000 organisations serviced, SIRIM QAS is an accredited conformity assessment body (CAB) that upholds the highest standards when it comes to certification and conformity assessments.
Its CEO Mohd Azanuddin Salleh tells The Edge that its extensive customer base is testament to the confidence that consumers have placed in SIRIM QAS, a solutions provider for a wide range of services and facilities.
At the same time, SIRIM QAS is the largest certification body in Malaysia for the Management System Certification, in terms of the number of certificates issued and the range of certification services offered.
“As part of SIRIM group, SIRIM QAS is well positioned to tap the strengths of SIRIM in offering one-stop solutions to meet the industry’s needs. SIRIM QAS can leverage SIRIM’s industrial research and standard development capabilities,” Azanuddin emphasises.
He explains that SIRIM QAS is a nationally and internationally recognised CAB with accreditation from the United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS), International IECEE CB Scheme and Department of Standards Malaysia. It is also a member of IQNet, an international network of leading certification bodies.
He adds that, as an agency under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), SIRIM QAS fulfils its roles in assisting Malaysian industries to enhance their quality and competitiveness in the global market, as well as regulatory authorities in enforcing public health and environmental regulations.
On claims that SIRIM QAS was too rigid in its testing, inspection and certification (TIC) services, Azanuddin explains that its audits, inspection or test reports follow the requirements set by accreditation bodies so that such reports are credible while providing assurance in the integrity of quality and standards, accuracy and traceability.
At the same time, he notes that non-accredited CABs are ultimately risks to industries and consumers because although non-accredited CABs may seem more attractive by providing lower prices for their services, they ultimately open a can of worms.
“For one thing, they are not subject to regular monitoring of performance, quality and competence by Standards Malaysia. This means their methodologies may be suspect, resulting in potential safety and usage violations.
“Therefore, accreditation is essential for a CAB to ensure that the certification process they offer is not lax, does not lack objectivity and transparency and does not give non-credible certification results. Otherwise, they would put users and society at a higher risk of no assurance of quality, safety, health, environmental security,” he says.
Azanuddin underscores that quality infrastructure can perform a central role in ensuring private sector products are up to mark, as well as helping consumers choose sustainable products and services.
Today, more than ever, the use of standards is very important to ensure that products and services meet the requirements. The CEO also highlights that standards can help in mitigating the negative effects of the global pandemic in multiple ways, namely, the testing laboratory standards ISO 17025 ensure that product tests for medical equipment are performed accordingly and provide reliable results. Providing quality, high-volume testing capabilities allows frontliners to respond effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Additionally, product standards for medical equipment, respiratory protective devices and protective equipment – medical gloves, medical face masks, personal eye protection and so on – are particularly important to ensure that they meet the requirements, are reliable and safe and that medical personnel are sufficiently protected. In addition, management standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 help prepare for managing crises better. Organisations that have quality management systems in place are therefore better prepared to cope with the negative effects of the crisis,” Azanuddin says.
Ultimately, getting one’s products certified creates added value, ensures efficiency improvements, encourages organisational and process innovation, improves adaptability to market conditions and enhances reputation in the eyes of clients, employees, shareholders and competitors.