the “Made in Germany” label stands for outstanding quality and reliability in every corner of the globe. To do justice to this trust invested by customers, certification is applied to products, services and even entire organizations and management systems. This endorsement of trust provides the cornerstones for client-business partnership, at home and abroad.
For certification to be broadly recognized, issuers need to be seen as competent, neutral and reliable. An EU directive on certification thus envisages compulsory approval of certifying organizations through a centralized, domestic accreditation office which would also be charged with ongoing monitoring.
In recent years, an almost unfathomable plethora of certificates and certification bodies have been established – especially in Germany. As a result, consumers can no longer tell how meaningful certain certifications actually are when applied to products or companies. Even those “in the know” are often totally unclear on what underlies various certifications, or if they are even a true stamp of quality in the first place.
Given these developments, the establishment of a single domestic accreditation office tasked with overseeing the entire certification arena is a major opportunity, albeit also a huge challenge. Under the supervision of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, the DAkkS, a new German accreditation body, began this task on January 1, 2010 and started monitoring certification. Once the transition period ends in December 2014, it should be possible to refer to DAkkS accreditation to ascertain whether a certifying body genuinely possesses the competence and accreditation needed to carry out its task.
One can safely assume that internationally active certification bodies in particular, along with any other establishments that already fulfill the requirements, will be keen to gain DAkkS accreditation as soon as possible – as existing multilateral agreements mean this goes hand in hand with international recognition. So it will soon be possible for all interested parties including consumers to recognize “approved” certification by checking for DAkkS accreditation.
In July of this year, the Steinbeis enterprise EQ ZERT (European Institute for the Certification of Quality Management Systems and Personnel) was one of the first certification bodies to be accredited by the DAkkS as a recognized certifier of management systems and personnel. As usual, this edition of TRANSFER features a variety of other successful projects. I hope it provides interesting reading!
Jurgen G. Kerner
Jürgen G. Kerner is head of EQ ZERT, the European Institute for the Certification of Quality Management Systems and Personnel. To read more about the challenges of high quality certification, turn to: Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit statt Kontrolle und Bürokratie.