What is the best way to certify your product to release it in the shortest time? Or to release the most reliable product? Or to certify it step-wise? These are examples of questions that will be answered in a certification strategy and where we can advise. Certification is the proof of demonstration that the design or product, or process, is fullfilling the requirements. The certificate will be granted by an authorised body but only if all requirements are satisfied. This latter is a common problem in product development.
Choose your Product Certification Strategy
The strategy that will be chosen depends on one hand the risks and costs that the company is willing to take and, on the other hand, depends on the way of working of the company and the characteristics of the product. Product Characteristics such as for example: part of a product family or not, complexity of the product with integrated systems (mechanics, pneumatics, electronics, etc.), new or existing functionalities, innovations, the product life time and the number of sales. Is the product part of a product family than you might consider to request a general product certificate that covers the demonstration of compliance that is in common. If your product development phase is long and the product can be distincted by maturity levels you could consider to certify it step-by-step.
Delay in the certification process is a common problem and often result from missing communication in concurrent working environments. Concurrent working is possible but only successfull, meaning minimising repetitiveness of work, if strict rules are applied for changes. If a change management process is implemented it needs to cover engineering and production. If these two disciplines are working independently from each other in new product developments, then the risk increases that the design or the actual product is not in lign with the provided proof of demonstration. One of the consequences could be that at the final acceptance, the product does not meet the exact specification.
There are 3 solutions at that time:
- the design need to be modified and the provided demonstration material need to be verified
- the product is rejected and need to manufactured again
- the risk is judged to be acceptable, no modification of the design or product will be applied.
The first one is a typical iteration loop of new product development and gives the answer on why delays occur in the certification process. Although the costs coming with the modification are not as visible as costs coming from the second solution, it is often the chosen solution dictated and pushed by the concurrent way of working.
The third one is the cheapest way for the short term, but on the long term, could give the largest problems when deviations are not properly noted.