In our case, the client wanted to get EAC certified adult t-shirts. These products are subject to TR CU 017/2011 "On the safety of light industry products".
The steps required for EAC certification are outlined below:
- Official filling of an application for certification;
- Quality management system audit of the factory (2 options: audit via video conference or offline audit by an audit expert in the country of manufacture);
- Sampling (2 options: sampling via video conference or offline sampling by a testing expert in the country of manufacture);
- Sample testing in an accredited laboratory (manufacturer’s reports are not accepted);
- Issue of test reports by the testing laboratory and issue of a certificate by the certification authority.
In our case, the manufacturer chose an on-site audit in Istanbul as the borders were open, and nothing prevented an offline audit.
Before visiting the factory, we made sure that:
- The application was registered with the certification authority (further steps are impossible without this);
- Samples of the required composition would be available in the quantities required.
As a rule, an audit of the factory is conducted by an audit expert, and the sampling is carried out by a testing expert. But we had only one expert with us, as he was authorized for both operations. This is essential to consider when planning your travel budget. The cost of on-site audit depends on visa policies, airfare, accommodation and meals costs.
The entire audit and sampling process took one day, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sometimes it takes 2-3 days.
The factory audit time always depends on many factors, such as:
- Factory size;
- Whether ISO 9001 system is in place at the factory (this system facilitates and speeds up the audit);
- Type of products (for example, auditing a light industry plant will take less time than a heavy industry plant);
- Need for on-site testing (but this applies more to heavy industry products when it is easier to test a sample at a factory than to take it to a laboratory in the Russian Federation);
- Arrangement and readiness of the factory team for the audit.
In short, the audit checks ISO 9001 compliance. Therefore, if the factory has it in place, the process will be much easier. This system allows you to structure the factory’s workflow and work safely and consistently.
In our case, the factory had no ISO 9001 in place. For this reason, there were difficulties in understanding the expert’s questions. Nevertheless, the expert was satisfied with the factory operation; all the requested documents were submitted, and the quality manager was able to answer all the questions.
Further, we were shown the products manufactured and took samples. Each regulation has its own requirements for the number of test samples. We discuss this aspect before the trip. Another important issue is sample labeling. The label should be developed in compliance with TR CU 017. We are always there to help with label verification and give the necessary recommendations.
Sampling was the last stage of the trip.
After the trip, the expert prepared a remedial action plan for the factory and drew up a Quality Management System (QMS) audit report. Expert recommendations should be considered by the factory and all problems should be eliminated as this is checked during the inspection.
After that, you can wait for the selected samples to be sent, forward them for testing, and register a certificate of conformity based on the QMS report and the test report.
By Leysan Karimova