The basis for the establishment of the “Certification Division” has been envisaged under the Bhutan Standards Act 2010 with the following mandates:
- Carry out/operate Product Certification schemes
- Carry out/operate Management Systems Certification schemes
The Product Certification Scheme is operated as per the international standard ISO/IEC 17065:2012 which lays down the requirements that certification bodies must fulfil in order to carry out product certification. The Management System Certification will be operated as per ISO/IEC 17021:2015.
The main function of the division is to make an independent conformity assessment and provide a written assurance (a certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements.
The division is facilitated by the support units including the International Relations (IR) and Administration & Finance (A&F) Division.
II. 11th Five Year Plan
In fulfilling the mandate of providing product and management systems certification during the 11th FYP (FY 2013-18), the division besides meeting the above mandates, plans to expand the scope of accreditation of product certification; operationalize the use of the product certificate mark including marking fees; and increase the scope of accreditation in management systems certification.
The Division has achieved the following activities:
- Accreditation of Product certification for TMT reinforcement bars, cement and bitumen emulsion.
- Accreditation in management system certification has been initiated. The Office Assessment has been completed and Witness Assessment is being planned.
- Provided product certification/brand approval for more than 170 civil and electrical products.
The Division intends to expand the scope of accreditation of product certification to include products manufactured in Bhutan that are exported or have the potential for international market. It is expected that the accreditation for management system certification will be realized by the end of June 2018.
III. Standard Operating Procedures
Product certification is carried out as per ISO/IEC 17065:2012 and this standard lays down the requirement of having a certification scheme. The certification scheme outlines a standard operating procedure for the efficient provision of product certification. The product certification services are currently provided for civil and electrical products used in the construction industry. However, the scope of certification will increase in the years to come to include everyday products used in the household.
The provision for management system certification is currently underway and it is expected that accreditation will be realized by the end of June 2018. Once functional it will also operate under a separate set of standard operating procedure.
The processes indicated below are intended for efficient delivery of services, ensuring transparency and accountability.
1. The standard operating procedure (SOP) for product certification is as below:
- All applications are forwarded to the Director General. The DG forwards the applications to the International Relations Division.
- The International Relations Division gives the application a unique application number, inputs the details into the BSB website and forwards the application to the Head, Certification Division. The applicant is informed of the application number, who may check the status of the application on the BSB website.
- The Head, CD, allocates the application to the Officer Designate for the product through the BSB website.
- The Reviewing Officer reviews/scrutinizes the application for completeness and notes any missing information on the BSB website for the client to respond.
- After documentation review is complete draft and send an intimation letter to the applicant on the details of preliminary visit dates and visit team.
- Conduct preliminary visit- collect the required information from the applicant and fill up the visit report form at site and study the manufacturing unit and scope for finalization of final factory visit.
- Draft and send an intimation letter to the applicant on details of final factory visit dates. Also prepare an inspection plan and send to the applicant.
- Conduct final factory visit including opening meeting with the top management of the applicant, finalize the inspection plan and carry out inspection of raw materials, production, quality control, packing and markings and do sampling for third party testing. Fill up the inspection report form.
- Prepare the findings of the final inspection in detail.
- Review all the test reports of the applicant’s product for conformance to standards.
- Prepare the document check sheet for discussion in the Committee for decision on approval.
- Inform the Chairman and the members of the committee in writing on venue and date of meeting.
- Conduct the Committee Meeting
- Inform the applicants via email or telephone about the decision of the Committee and indicate the same on the BSB website.
- Prepare the certificates for all the certified products.
- Issue certificates for the approved products.
- Log on to the BSB website and update the list of certified/approved products.
- Conduct surveillance visits to the manufacturing plants.
Note: The two stage inspection is only applicable for local manufacturers.For manufacturers outside Bhutan only the final inspection is carried out.
2. The standard operating procedure (SOP) for management system certification is as below:
- All applications are forwarded to the Director General. The DG forwards the applications to the Certification Division.
- Review/scrutinize the application for completeness.
- Document Review of the applicant (in-house)
- Draft and send an intimation letter to the applicant on the details of visit dates and visit team.
- Conduct Stage 1 Audit
- Draft and send an intimation letter to the applicant on details of final visit dates. Also prepare an audit plan and send to the applicant.
- Conduct Stage 2 Audit - Conduct an opening meeting with the top management of the applicant, finalize the audit plan and carry out the audit. Conduct Closing meeting and issue Non Conformance Reports, if any.
- Prepare the findings of the Audit in detail. Accept/reject corrective actions taken.
- Reviewing Officer to scrutinize the audit findings and recommend for award/rejection of certification.
- Inform the applicants via email or telephone about the decision of the committee.
- Prepare the certificate.
- Issue certificate.
- Log on to the BSB website and update the list of certified organizations.
- Conduct surveillance visits to check compliance.
The Certification Division also carries out a number of awareness workshops/sensitization programs every year, along with the other Divisions of BSB, on conformity assessment including certification.
The following are some of the challenges faced by the Division:
- Lack of adequate competent personnel
Product and management system certification operates as per international standards: ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC 17021 respectively. The standards specify the requirement of competent personnel to carry out these activities. This requires all personnel to be trained on the above standards including being trained in each aspect of the product or the management systems that he/she is involved in. The BSB currently has accreditation for cement, TMT bars and bitumen emulsion. Personnel involved in the certification of the above products have been trained in their respective field. The increase in the scope of certification to include additional products will require the need to train the personnel in each of the additional products in terms of manufacturing processes and testing.
2. General lack of awareness of manufacturing firms on the certification process
Despite carrying out a number of awareness programs every year, including making a BSB profile video and broadcasting through the BBS, the general awareness of the manufacturing firms on the certification process and its benefits is low.
3. Lack of enforcement of the mandatory requirement of product certification by government agencies
Although there is a standing directive from the government on the mandatory requirement of all government procuring agencies to use only products certified by the BSB, there is a general lack of enforcement.
V. Way Forward:
- Train all new personnel on the requirement of ISO/IEC 17065 and ISO/IEC 17021
- Train the personnel on the manufacturing process and testing methods for a particular product before expanding the scope of accreditation
- Increase the scope of accreditation for product certification
- Accreditation to Management Systems Certification Schemes as per ISO/IEC 17021 by end of 2018
- Identification of prospective industries and establishments for certification
- Building a pool of auditors by training and providing auditing experience in industry for both product and management system certification
- Conduct awareness programs on the importance and benefits of product and management system certification
- Coordinate with the Department of Trade, MoEA, and Department of Revenue and Customs, MoF, to ensure quality products in the market
- Sign certification and marking (only for products) agreements with all certified organizations.
VI. Human Resource
- Karma Wangdi, Chief Engineer (Head)
- Jigme Wangchuk, Dy. EE (Officer Designate – Steel and allied products)
- Dechen Wangdi, Dy. EE (Officer Designate – Electrical Products)
- Jurmi Dorji, Engg. (Officer Designate – Electrical Products)
- Sonam Lhendup, Asst. Engg. (Officer Designate – Cement, Bitumen, etc. Products)
- Chhoki Wangmo, Asst. Engg. (Officer Designate – Electrical Products)
- Karma Loday, Jr. Engg. (Support to all Officer Designates)