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What Is Product Certification?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2016
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Product certification is a quality-assurance effort that items go through before becoming available for sale. Ensuring that a product is safe for use is one of the primary goals of product certification. Aside from that, each product category goes through different tests. For example, computer software will not have the same product certification testing as building materials. Some countries and industries do not require certification, so a business can either have its products voluntarily checked out and certified or sell them without certification.

Before a product can be sold in stores, or privately to other businesses, it goes through product certification. Most businesses have software that is made to test certification and will go through the entire list of tests to ensure the product is ready for sale. By using a program, a business can ensure no tests are accidentally skipped while getting an impartial look at the product. Businesses that have no such software can have their products undergo testing by humans. This means someone monitors the tests and checks that regulations have been met.

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Each industry has different product certification tests. This is because each industry creates a completely different product that cannot be tested in the same way. Products such as software are checked to ensure all features work correctly and, if the software says it is compatible with other programs, it is checked for full compatibility. Building materials are checked for weight and strength, to ensure they can be safely used in construction without crumbling or adding extra stress to the overall building. Similar industries may encounter similar tests.

Some countries and industries do not have product certification or make the process completely optional. As of early 2011, the U.S. does not require product certification for the nuclear industry but has requirements for many other products. The U.K. has optional product certification for all industries, meaning businesses do not need to certify their products before they are sold, though some businesses choose to seek certification as an ethical consideration or as a marketing tool.

When an industry does not need certification, it is up to the individual business to decide whether its products are checked for safety. Ethical standards dictate that products should be checked anyway, especially products that can risk consumer safety. Refusing to seek certification makes it difficult for wary consumers to trust the products and may cause the consumer to buy products from competitors that have had their products tested.

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