Some cases can involve various DAkkS divisions, comprise several accreditation activities or require the involvement of power-conferring authorities. Responsibility for the overall coordination of these processes can then be assumed by specially appointed case managers in a division. In the following section, you will find a summary of the most important answers to questions concerning the subject of system customers.
What is a system customer?
Here at DAkkS, we define a system customer as a customer who generally has more than three accreditation activities or for whom at least three divisions of DAkkS have technical responsibility. At the same time, the management system used by these customers is designed to ensure that common elements of the requirements for the accredited conformity assessment bodies are described and implemented using a higher-level, horizontally structured management system that can be used for all activities.
How does DAkkS support system customers?
DAkkS takes various measures to support system customers as effectively as possible. This includes assigning a central case manager to the customer, who acts as both the leading case manager and the processing case manager for as many of the customer’s cases as possible. The case manager conducts regular coordination meetings with a central customer contact and plans and coordinates all DAkkS activities for the customer.
What about the cases?
We also want the accreditation process to be organised as efficiently as possible for the customer. This means that individual assessments take place at the same time whenever possible (i.e. synchronously), that individual accreditations of the same accreditation activity (e.g. several accreditations as a testing laboratory) are brought together into a single accreditation, and that multiple cases can be supported by the same case manager.
What does “horizontal system assessment” mean?
An essential feature of the support provided to system customers by DAkkS is the regular implementation of a so-called “horizontal system assessment”. In this process, the requirements for a system customer’s management system from all applicable accreditation standards are assessed simultaneously – in other words horizontally. As a rule, DAkkS uses two very experienced system assessors for this purpose, whose report is made available to all other assessors involved in the process. With this approach, DAkkS ensures that higher-level requirements for the management system, for example for document control, internal audits or management reviews, are assessed only once, and not for each case. This ties up less capacity at the accredited customers.
How do you become a system customer?
DAkkS evaluates its customer base on a regular basis to determine who is suitable for support as a system customer. When such a case is identified, DAkkS seeks out discussion and works with the customer to agree on the exact approach to support to be applied. Customers can however also actively reach out to DAkkS if they believe that support as a system customer is a good idea for them. Customers do this by contacting their case manager or by getting in touch directly with the System Customers department at DAkkS.
How does DAkkS support customers who have cases but are not system customers?
In these cases, DAkkS again tries to use various measures to streamline processes and make them efficient. The principle that applies to all customers of DAkkS is the same – that individual assessments are carried out at the same time whenever possible, and that individual accreditations of the same accreditation activity are brought together into a single accreditation. For the support of multiple cases for a customer, an effort is also made to assign the same processing case manager whenever possible.