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ANAB, the largest U.S. accreditation body for management systems certification, does not provide certification, but the certification bodies (CBs) accredited by ANAB do.
Certification is the act of verifying the conformance to a standard or other requirements. A certification body audits an organization and, if appropriate, a certificate of conformance to a given standard (for example, ISO 9001 for quality management systems) is issued. With regard to management systems, the terms certification and registration are used interchangeably. (Certification also refers to the process of validating and verifying the credentials of individuals, such as auditors.)
Certification is done by a CB through a series of document reviews and facility visits and audits. The CB's auditors examine an organization's procedures, processes, and operations to determine their conformance to the requirements (elements) of the standard.
The CB evaluates a variety of issues, which, depending on the standard involved, may include the applicant organization's administrative, design, and production processes; management system documentation; personnel training records; management reviews; internal audit processes; technical capabilities and operations; training and experience of personnel; regulatory compliance; and environmental aspects and impacts.
The certification process can take several weeks to more than a year, depending on the readiness of the organization applying for certification. Other factors that can contribute to the amount of time certification takes are the size of the organization, the scope of the certification, and the number of facilities being certified and their location.
If you are new to the certification process, familiarizing yourself with the standard is the first step. Many of the standards for which ANAB-accredited CBs offer certification are available from ANSI, though some industry standards are not. For each ANAB accreditation program, the relevant standards are identified on the corresponding program page of this site.
While some organizations may feel confident that they already conform with the standard or can gain conformance on their own, others may seek training for their employees or call on an outside consultant for help. CBs may offer a pre-assessment option to help your organization determine its readiness.
Why use an accredited certification body? Third-party management systems certification is a frequently specified requirement to operate in the global market place. It can demonstrate compliance to a standard, code of practice, or regulatory requirements. It can also deliver internal business improvement. Read more.
Need help deciding or convincing others that certification is right for your organization? You can find case studies and research on the benefits for business at the Business Benefits and Public Sector Assurance websites.
We urge you to first seek information from an accredited CB, as CBs will be more knowledgable about specific certification processes. If you have questions for ANAB, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.