Three of Australia’s leading quality and standardization bodies have released a report that proposes to simplify the way product conformance information (including testing and certification) is managed by government and industry, to improve national productivity and Australia’s international competitiveness.
The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ), and GS1 Australia (GS1) have called for bi-partisan support of governments (federal and state), as well as peak industry bodies, to modernize national product conformity infrastructure by leveraging digital technology to enhance supply chain performance.
To support their case NATA, JAS-ANZ, and GS1 have published a report titled “Digitalisation of Conformance and Accreditation Processes,” outlining its proposed framework. The framework is based on compatible and existing ISO/IEC global standards to achieve traceability of product conformity certificates, business entities, products, test samples, and more.
The report looks at how the rapid transition of global supply chains and the use of data-driven digital systems has resulted in a growing gap between digital product traceability and the traceability of associated product conformity and credentialing information. It also considers that efforts to simplify trade systems require the national product conformity infrastructure and supporting systems to be responsive and of high integrity, enabling rapid verification of credentials and detection of fraudulent or erroneous claims.
To further encourage discussion, NATA, JAS-ANZ, and GS1 Australia are holding a webinar with the support of the National GS1 Traceability Advisory Group (NGTAG) on Tuesday, Feb. 22, to explore the challenges of existing analogue systems, the benefits of digitalization and review developments across industry and government.
The “Digitalisation of Conformance and Accreditation Processes” report’s proposed objectives include:
- Deliver international alignment on product conformity claims by leveraging existing data standards currently used by industry for physical tracking of goods
- Eliminate ways in which the compliance status, place of origin, and other assurance claims can become falsely associated with a product
- Use of open attestation systems giving credential holders greater control over information disclosures than is currently possible
- Adopting data exchange standardization for conformance and accreditation processes to align Australia with evolving supply chain traceability systems around the world
- Enable accreditation bodies (ABs), conformity assessment bodies (CABs), and others to innovate without compromising the integrity of product conformity systems
The framework is not intended as a replacement or alternative for any existing conformity or approval schemes and strengthens and simplifies the integrity of existing programs. It leverages an established system of global data standards used extensively by Australian industry and internationally for identifying, capturing, and sharing information through international supply chains.
“NATA is proud to be involved in this ground-breaking initiative to modernize Australia’s product conformity infrastructure, leveraging digital technology that provides assurance for all Australians,” says Jennifer Evans, NATA CEO. “Australian businesses, especially, stand to benefit from the confidence and transparency of product conformity information delivered by these innovative systems.”
“JAS-ANZ sees enormous value to industry and government in bringing conformity information that is the foundation of trust and confidence in trade into an open and interoperable digital environment,” says James Galloway, JAS-ANZ CEO. “This framework leverages the use of international digital standards and existing conformity information to ensure Australia’s product certification and accreditation systems remain relevant in a technology-driven future. Digital conformity information across the supply chain greatly enhances efficiency and traceability of traded goods, ensuring that businesses and consumers are able to engage and verify information about product safety, quality, and authenticity.”
“Having trust in traded products is foundational for efficient commerce. Our supply chains and channels to market are increasingly global, and customers need to effectively validate product safety, quality, and fit-for-purpose claims,” says Maria Palazzolo, executive director and CEO of GS1 Australia. “Having a common framework to capture and share product conformity information is vital. GS1 is committed to working with the public and private sectors, as well as standards and conformity bodies to digitalize supply chains and build trust and confidence in domestic and global trade systems.”
The report has already received favorable comments from industry leaders.
“The report is compelling—it provides a roadmap to simplify the way product conformance systems work,” says Ian Watt, vice chair UN/CEFACT Bureau for Program Development Areas. “Standardizing the way we share information that supports the brand promise of Australian businesses is critical for industry competitiveness.”
The proposed approach enables a system of interoperability and data exchange benefiting all manufacturers, exporters, importers, distributors, retailers, consumers, and regulatory bodies.
Download the “Digitalisation of Conformance and Accreditation Processes” report here.
Register to attend the Product Conformity and Credentialing webinar here.
The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) provides accreditation for laboratories to ensure testing results can be relied on and trusted. As Australia’s sole internationally recognized accreditation authority, NATA’s role is to uphold the national standards of technical competence for those delivering products or services to the general public. Through its extensive network, NATA provides assessment, accreditation, and training services to laboratories and technical facilities.
The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) is an independent, third-party accreditation body that provides internationally recognized accreditation services. JAS-ANZ was established in 1991 through an agreement (JAS-ANZ Treaty) between the Australian and New Zealand governments to facilitate the exchange of goods and services and strengthen the trading relationship between the two countries. JAS-ANZ accredits the bodies that certify or inspect organizations, products, or people by developing the assessment criteria certifiers and inspectors must meet to become accredited.
About GS1 Australia
GS1 Australia is the Australian arm of the neutral, not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains the most widely used global standards for efficient business communication. The organization is best known for the barcode, named by the BBC as one of “the 50 things that made the world economy.” GS1 standards and services improve the efficiency, safety, and visibility of supply chains across physical and digital channels in 25 sectors. With local member organizations in 115 countries, 2 million user companies (more than 22,000 in Australia) and 6 billion transactions every day, GS1 standards create a common language that supports systems and processes across the globe.