Prior to TÜV Rheinland, I was a university student attending the University of California, Irvine. Like many other students around me, I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduating. My only working experience was at the convenience store on campus, which has become helpful in my current position in terms of customer service. I knew I wanted to apply for a job with an international aspect as I had enjoyed my time studying abroad in Korea for a semester and always had an interest in other cultures. When I came across my current position on the university job board, I knew this would be something I would be interested in as it already had the word “international” written in the title and all over the job description.
New in the Field of MAS
When I was interviewed, I knew having the ability to speak multiple languages would be helpful, but not required and looking back, I can see why that is the case. My primary language is English, but I am also proficient in Cantonese and have a basic understanding of Korean. Although it may not seem much, it has come in handy when interacting with other colleagues and vendors globally. Those few words or phrases can help close the gap when working with others of different cultures.
When I first joined TÜV Rheinland back in 2014, it was the first time I was exposed to the world of regulatory compliance, specifically with Market Access Services (MAS). Depending on the scope, there are Market Access Services for over 180 countries. With so many geographical areas, each with their own numerous certifications and requirements, the information can be daunting. However, is there a way we can generalize the certification schemes so that those who are new to Market Access Services can easily understand it? It is difficult to remember each country and their individual requirements, but in this blog entry, I will cover how we, MAS Compliance Specialists, divide the certifications.
Global Market Access Certification – 3 schemes
One of the certification schemes we typically encounter involve countries accepting EU test reports, which consists of EN, ETSI and IEC standards. With these existing test reports, it is one less item to worry about when proceeding with global certifications.
Another category of certification schemes is countries that accept FCC test reports for their wireless approvals. Products tested to FCC standards are aimed to be marketed in the United States. Although some South-East Asian countries and the majority of Latin American countries leverage these reports into their certification schemes without additional testing involved.
The third and last category of certification schemes involve countries that do not accept either of the test report categories mentioned above and require testing to be conducted in the country and tested to that particular country’s standards. However, since TÜV Rheinland has Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRA) with these countries, testing to those countries’ standards can actually be done locally in an accredited TÜV Rheinland laboratory instead of the in-country testing route.
Challenges at Market Access Services
Although the above schemes are straightforward, we do sometimes encounter challenges during the certification process. Keep in mind that although these countries adopt EU or International standards, they might ask for a marketing sample for a spot check, depending on the schemes. When sending samples for in-country testing, customs clearance or misconfiguration of the sample can also lead to delays in the certification process. It is also important to make sure that the test reports we are submitting are issued from accredited labs, especially in the case of test reports issued under Mutual Recognition Agreements. We try to minimize these risks by early planning and conducting pre-review of the documentations before submissions are made to the government authorities.
It is important for us to set expectations for our clients as certification is not always a smooth and easy process. I have encountered my share of challenges with certifications as well and they are not always related to the test reports as described above. I have had applications submitted for the government to review only to get rejected due to the labeling not meeting the requirements or typos in the paperwork. The changes then must be submitted in a timely manner before the government officially rejects the application. Regulations are always changing so it is our responsibility to work with our clients in adapting to these changes.
MAS Compliance Specialist – an always exciting job
It is now 2019 and I am still here at TÜV Rheinland. Many friends, who have graduated at the same time, have already moved onto different positions and have always asked if I considered looking for another job. Currently, not only do I enjoy working with our TÜV Rheinland colleagues domestically and internationally, but I still find thrill and fulfillment in the certification projects that I work on. You can never predict that all projects will run the same way and they will always keep you on your toes, especially when we are constantly working with various types of products. Personally, whenever I am able to receive certificates from the countries that I am working on, I consider them to be little victories leading up to the larger victory of completing an entire global certifications project. Boredom is not in sight – the three certification schemes are just a general view when tackling the world of global certification. There are many other supporting activities and documents involved in each country’s certifications.