Bellac accredited service provider
HeX GROUP, a testing laboratory historically accredited since 2012, has made the ISO 17025 standard the backbone of its organisation. The extension audit in January 2020 was a real challenge for HeX: to comply with the new version of the ISO 17025 standard: 2017!
Following the 17 days of cumulative audits, the auditors and various technical experts deployed by the Belgian accreditation body declared HeX GROUP and HeX LAB to be in compliance with the requirements of the international standard ISO 17025 version 2017, and renewed the accreditation certificates 464-TEST, 464-CAL and 661-TEST for a period of 5 years…
Number of accredited activities
2017: HeX Lab activities are accredited for the first time.
2018: First accreditation of HeX Mapping & Calibration activities
Since 2018, HeX has experienced a deterioration in relations with the Belgian accreditation body’s own staff. Whereas the staff used to be approachable and interactive and the exchanges constructive and fruitful, these are becoming short, not constructive and limited. In addition, feedback from customers or prospects is accumulating and competing providers whose quality of work is not recognised are gaining their (admittedly limited) accreditation. These events are clearly undermining the credibility of accreditation, and HeX does not want to be part of this, nor does it wish to condone it.
As a result of a damaged relationship, and a total loss of confidence in the Belgian accreditation system, HeX has adapted to this situation and has decided to voluntarily give up its 464-TEST, 464-CAL, 464-INSP and 661-TEST accreditations as of 01 January 2021.
HeX is aware that this decision is risky, but HeX is also convinced that it has many advantages
With this relinquishment, HeX has decided, on the strength of its experience and expertise, to launch itself and to provide its clients and partners with its own proof of organisational, technical, relational and quality competence, in complete transparency, and to build a collaboration with them in full knowledge and trust. This renunciation does not mean a change in the Quality of HeX services. This is not the case.
HeX GROUP is continuously pursuing a quality policy in its operations and at all stages of the identified processes with the aim of fully satisfying the requirements of its customers and the requirements of the international standard ISO 17025:2017.
Complete, defined and functional management structure
– Process approach and risk analysis
– Consistent system with strong values regarding confidentiality, impartiality and thoroughness.
Accreditation is a tool for RECOGNITION by a single body: BELAC, attached to the Belgian Ministry of Economics. Accreditation is therefore a means of quickly identifying a service provider that complies with the requirements of a standard (ISO 17025, ISO 17020, ISO 15189, ISO 17021, ISO 17034, and certification bodies).
An organisation such as HeX complies with ISO 17025 without applying for such recognition.
Bellac accredited service provider
Compliance with the requirements of ISO 17025
Continuous improvement, customer satisfaction and internal audits
Process approach and risk analysis
Logo applied to reports
Fluidity and completeness of the documentation system
Auditors selected by BELAC
Auditors selected by HeX customers
Audit by external and independent technical experts every 18 months
Requirements audited by independent experts
ISO 17025 - and/or PIC/S PE010 and/or any other as required by the customer
Standardised and documented testing, calibration and inspection methods
Expertise and technical innovation
Qualified and competent personnel carry out the work meticulously and without influence of any kind.
HeX GROUP complies with the normative, legislative, regulatory or other texts deemed relevant with regard to the performance of tests and calibrations as well as the criteria used to determine compliance, if applicable.
HeX’s aim is to build a relationship of trust with its customers. This construction is based on transparency and accessibility to the information the customer needs, including:
• Quality manual reworded clearly. It describes the objectives, the means implemented, the “Process” organisation and the main rules to be followed so that the efficiency and continuous improvement of the management system are permanent
• Quality Agreement in which HeX commits to the ISO 17025:2017 requirements
• Cross-reference table between ISO 17025:2017 and all HeX documentation? (Available on request)
• Precise list of technical activities performed under “ISO 17025 COMPLIANCE”
• Availability of HeX teams and premises for supplier audits for its customers or prospects.
HeX GROUP is committed to continuous innovation in all its activities in order to meet the current and future needs of its customers under the best possible conditions.
This innovation is reflected in the implementation of new avant-garde technical solutions and anticipation of regulatory and normative developments. Standardisation is a strategic tool for innovation, but outdated and out-of-date standardised methods can put the brakes on innovation.
What can be done when a standard does not include efficient technical solutions available on the market? What is there to choose between:
– Strict or even limited compliance with a standard and use of outdated or obsolete technical solutions
– Improving the quality of the result, to exceed the requirements of a standard, by using recent and innovative technical solutions
In this case, HeX has chosen to progress and adapt its methods to safe and available technological developments, while securing the requirements of the ISO 17025 standard and analysing the related risks and impacts.
Beyond the formal, technical and organisational aspects, the policy followed by HeX also aims to promote a spirit of quality within the company, which is an essential complement to real progress.
HeX uses a third party to put together a team of external consultant auditors. The quality and competence of these independent consultants is assessed on the basis of their curriculum vitae and experience in the field. For example, they may have contributed to the drafting of international standards and, at the same time, have solid and long-term experience as a COFRAC and/or BELAC assessor.
HeX also offers the possibility for customers to nominate auditors to ensure bilateral trust between HeX and its customers; as well as the impartiality of the auditor(s).
Regarding the frequency, HeX applies the same interval schedule as for BELAC audits, i.e. at least every 18 months (“If the accreditation cycle is extended to 5 years, it includes 3 surveillance audits” 3.3.2 BELAC 3-11 Rev 13-2020)
In general, a laboratory applies for accreditation to the accreditation body of the country in which it resides (non-exhaustive list):
The only possible exception is if there is no accreditation body in the country concerned, which is not the case for HeX. So to the question, “Is accreditation by another equivalent body being considered?,” the answer is no, because it is not feasible.
Nevertheless, these national accreditation bodies play an important role in harmonising practices. HeX is convinced of the value of such a body and remains open to possible collaboration if trust is regained and proof of impartiality and neutrality provided.
HeX is convinced that its system is efficient and secure, so it is exploiting all available avenues to obtain official recognition by an independent third party. To date (2020), GMP accreditation is currently under active preparation and recognition as a Notified Body for medical devices (ON - Medical Device Regulation) is also being considered by the Management and the QA Team.
For the tests and calibrations performed by HeX, there is no legal obligation to choose an accredited service provider. Thus, there is no legal reason for your auditor to require HeX to be accredited for its services.
The selection of a provider is based on your own selection criteria such as:
The list is not exhaustive as there are many criteria.
When selecting a service provider, a qualification file of the provider must be produced on the basis of defined criteria. When the complete and comprehensive qualification file provides evidence that HeX meets your needs it becomes an approved provider. No additional elements may be requested by the auditor.
In addition, HeX offers to draw up a Quality & Technical Agreement to define and structure the various commitments, responsibilities and guarantees provided by HeX
Following regular audits by the independent third party, an attestation document is issued. Like an accreditation certificate, it will show the date of application of the certificate and its validity.
The technical appendices will also be present to specify the scope of application of this certificate and it will be signed by the independent manager of this audit team. CVs to attest to the competence of the auditors can be provided on request to easily demonstrate the competence and relevance of this audit to your auditor.
Absolutely nothing changes in terms of the quality of our services, which will always be carried out with the same thoroughness and professionalism that characterise HeX today.
The only 2 major differences are the following:
From a practical point of view, the costs necessary for BELAC to process our case are fully allocated to our customers, more transparency by providing all the necessary documentation to customers and not just hiding behind a symbol of our competence.
In addition, with an experienced quality team of 5 people (10% of HeX’s workforce!), HeX will be available to provide remote or face-to-face support for any needs raised by our customers (preparation of your audits, analysis of your non-conformities, etc.)
From an administrative point of view, the BELAC symbol will no longer appear on our reports, but will be replaced by a logo attesting to compliance with the requirements of the ISO17025 standard.
The rules for the application of this logo are identical to those applied for the BELAC symbol (BELAC 2-001 Rev 11-2019) and it can therefore only be applied to test reports and calibration certificates that are part of our third-party assessed technical scope.