Vendors like to make all kinds of marketing claims about their products, but how do buyers know if those claims are trustworthy?
There are two common ways these claims can be proven:
1. Verification– the claims are tested and proven by a third party with expertise in product claims verification and validation; and
2. Certification – the claims are tested, proven and certified to set criteria by a third party with expertise in product certification to government and industry standards.
Enex TestLab has 30-plus years’ experience and expertise in both.
Enex TestLab is an independent test facility with a team of highly qualified engineers and analysts skilled at applying the scientific method to test the worthiness (or otherwise) of products thoroughly and impartially. We’re vendor-agnostic, unbiased and un-swayable.
Our business has grown from a technology test lab within RMIT University founded in 1989 to a commercial lab offering independent product evaluation, benchmarking and certification, as well as consultancy services for product procurement and technology development.
With clients in nearly 100 industry sectors, certification to industry and government standards is a core activity for our business.
Why you need third-party independent evidence-based product evaluation, validation and certification
While manufacturers and creators perform all kinds of tests themselves, nothing beats thorough testing by third-party independent experts.
‘Independent’ is the key here: if you want to find out whether a product is worthy, you not only need expert testers with the deep experience and knowledge of what to look for – they also need to be vendor agnostic and impartial. They can’t have any conflicts of interest.
They must be unswayable by any commercial or other pressures, and steadfast in how they approach and report any product assessment to ensure any validated claims are trustworthy.
So, if you want product claims to be respected and have value in the marketplace, you need independent third-party testers who have demonstrable subject matter expertise – and robust, defendable and transparent validation methodology.
Better still, work with a testing organisation like Enex TestLab which holds appropriate certifications of good standing. We are certified because our methodologies are robust, reliable and reproducible.
We provide high quality reports with fair usage terms so organisations can publish and promote the results. And we can be available for comment and quotes if required.
Third-party independent evidence-based product evaluation, validation and certification can certainly help build credibility for an organisation and its products.
Done well, it can also deliver ongoing benefits such as:
• Shortened sales cycles
• Growth in number of clients – and larger accounts
• Increased margin/lower cost of sales and greater profitability
• Improved staff satisfaction, retention and recruitment
• Stronger public relations and marketing opportunities
• More compelling pitches for start-ups, capital raises and tender submissions
• Deeper trust in partnerships
What can verification and certification prove?
The main difference between having a product tested for claims verification and certification is the intent: do you want to know if the product delivers on the claims made by the manufacturer (and perhaps how it compares against competing products)?
Or do you want to know if the product meets expectations based on criteria set by your organisation, industry or a body governing use-cases?
Both evaluation approaches are useful, as they demand rigorous testing of specific characteristics of a product or service to discover the truth about:
• Performance – does it do the job it is designed for? Does it do the job efficiently and quickly?
• Value – does it reduce the cost of doing a specific task? Does it generate more value for the organisation?
• Quality – are the components well made? Will they last for an acceptable period?
• Interoperability – does it communicate with other devices?
• Product and service security — does the device or service genuinely protect? What does it protect against?
• Company security – is the device or service built and maintained with best security practices?
• Stability – does it operate well under pressure? (Stress-tests can help determine its fault toleration, failure rates and/or durability)
These criteria are also important considerations when assessing a product’s value for money, especially when compared to competing products.
Enex TestLab also offers value assessments as part of our procurement and consulting services, taking into account projections of future value such as total-cost-of-ownership and return-on-investment.
Real world certification
Certification is often promoted as official proof a product or service met certain criteria set by an assessment authority. Some of the common types of certification you’re likely familiar with include:
1. Standards-based certification – products and services must pass tests based on published criteria of quality, performance and safety standards, such as those set by ISO (International Organisation for Standardization). A fine example of an ISO standard is ISO/IEC 17025 (Testing and Calibration Laboratories) and it might not come as a surprise Enex TestLab is certified to this standard, which governs all kinds of test criteria, such as the calibration of vehicle speed measurement devices. Another certification Enex TestLab also holds in good standing is ISO 27001: Information Security Management Systems.
2. Localised certification – products and services must pass safety and/or quality tests set by local authorities governing their sale and use. A Certificate of Roadworthiness, for example, is typically issued by a third-party licenced vehicle tester confirming the vehicle conforms with the design rules for vehicles in that jurisdiction. This is typically the basis of all new cars sold.
3. Certifications based on social expectations – products and services are judged on how well the organisations providing them address larger macro-issues such as climate change and corporate social responsibility. These certifications may be administered by independent authorities or industry governing bodies and vary widely in how they set and assess performance criteria. B Corp Certification, for example, reflects an organisation meets an internationally-measured standard for social and environmental impact.
Note: some certifications are worth more than others because some certifying bodies have more authority: they’re stricter, more qualified and/or more experienced.
How Enex TestLab can help when a certification doesn’t exist (yet)
Clearly certification is the most-respected type of validation, and a compelling way to promote a product or service.
But what if there isn’t a certification available for a specific product or service yet?
Frequently, certification lags innovation: products are introduced, the market demands a measure of interoperability or compliance, and benchmarks are created.
A first-mover in a market that wants to prove its claims about its products will often find there isn’t a relevant certification or standard available.
Rather than wait for the industry to catch up, an innovative business can choose to have it claims validated by an independent third-party – and where possible, gain a new certification.
Enex TestLab is here to help:
• We work with vendors to clearly understand the main objectives of validation
• We are skilled at collaborating on claims design
• We focus on your product first (comparative testing contains many challenges)
• We provide advice on how you can best leverage the completed Claims Validation.
As a technology specialist laboratory Enex TestLab can certify a range of products, processes, systems and services to government and industry standards.
Reach out to us: we’re only too happy to share our experiences and insights so you can fully explore the benefits of Independent Claims Validation.