Laboratories worldwide have welcomed the launch of SDCE’s new Proficiency Testing Programme
Laboratories worldwide have welcomed the launch of SDCE’s new Proficiency Testing Programme, citing increased competition as a key factor in the need to maintain their market position. The scheme – which is due to launch early next year – is a global project allowing laboratories in the textile sector to audit their test procedures and technicians, rate their performance against that of their competitors and gain the kudos of participation in a globally-recognised independent benchmarking scheme.
Many laboratories are already accredited by ISO 17025; the main ISO standard used to by testing and calibration laboratories for technical competence. However, regular participation in PTP scheme demonstrates an ongoing commitment to quality control and technical competence.
“As an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, we have participated in PTP schemes in the past to empower our technical staff and to maintain our high levels of quality assurance,” says Mehdi Zaatir, technical manager at Total Testing Service in Monastir, Tunisia. “Lately, we have been made aware of several laboratories gaining ISO 17025 accreditation, which could lead to increased competition in the textile sector.”
Such competition has increased the pressure on long-established facilities to set themselves aside from their similarly-accredited counterparts. As well as the assurance that PTP participation can offer outside clients, the insight into the performance of one’s own facility cannot be under-estimated.
“Do we want to know how our performance compares with that of our competitors? Of course we do,” admits Mr Zaatir. “We want to deliver our results with as few uncertainties as possible.”
In a straw poll carried out by SDCE ahead of the launch of PTP, respondents indicated that the scheme would allow laboratories to identify any areas requiring improvement before reaching the potentially-damaging stage of customer complaint.
“Being made aware of any weakness in any section of our performance means we can take serious action, and ultimately become stronger,” says M.Nik Panjeh, managing director at Niktex Consultancy in Iran. “We were the first ISO 17025-accredited laboratory in Iran and we carry out our own internal testing, but we want to go above and beyond that. We have not previously participated in a PTP scheme, but we believe that it would give us assurance and even more confidence in our testing results.”
Many respondents also praised the anonymity of the benchmarking scheme, maintaining that results should be informative and confidential, without any potential compromise to the reputation of a facility.
“The ability to identify faults or deviations is of course useful,” reported one UK-based textile testing facility. “However, having information shared with other laboratories giving an insight into faults with certain tests could harm a laboratory’s reputation, which is why most PTP participants prefer to remain anonymous.”
SDC Enterprises is currently in the final stages of tailoring the PTP programme to the needs of the industry. Derived from the educational charity the Society of Dyers & Colourists and a global specialist in testing consumables, SDCE is completely independent from actual commercial testing procedures, and perfectly placed to provide a professional benchmarking service for laboratories worldwide.
Testing professionals can have their say here, and make sure that the tests most relevant to their business are available as part of the industry’s Proficiency Testing Programme.