Allay Consulting’s May Newsletter: Selecting a Certifying Body
Selecting a Certifying Body
Third party certifications have become increasingly popular amongst cannabis and fungi cultivators and manufacturing companies. Receiving and maintaining certifications is a worthwhile endeavor that will set up your business for long term success, give you a competitive edge and ensure a safe product for customers. Whether you’re seeking Organic, cGMP, GACP, ISO, etc. certifications, you will be tasked with deciding which certifying body to work with. Certifying bodies are independent third-party companies handling the certification process.
The first step is preparing for the certification. Allay Consulting helps to prepare companies for their certifications – we support our clients with facility plan reviews, document gap analysis, SOP creation, and audit preparation. The certifying body is the last step in receiving your certification. We are often asked, “which certifying body is the best?”. This is a tough question to answer because the decision is based on many factors. These factors will be specific to your company, not every certifier will be the same, and not all will be a good fit for you. To make choosing your certifying body (CB) an easier decision, take into consideration the following aspects:
Check if the Certifying Body Will Certify In Your Industry
Because THC and Psilocybin are not federally legal (…fingers crossed, not federally legal yet!), a limited number of CBs will certify these companies. Some certifying companies even refuse to certify hemp companies even though they are federally legal. This talking point should be one of the first discussion topics when speaking with a certifying company. If they can’t work with your specific industry, then obviously you will need to find a company that will.
Any person or company can create a certification, but how do you ensure they are being held to best practice? Seeking a CB who is accredited fixes this issue. Having accreditation means a higher authorization independent third-party oversight checking their standards, credentials, and competence. The accreditation ensures the CB’s standards meet and/or exceed a recognized set of standards. No matter which certification you choose, ensure the CB is accredited by an international accreditor such as ANSI or ANAB.
Considering the reputation of the certifying body must be considered when selecting your certifying body. Many CBs have been in business for several decades, whereas others are relatively new. The CBs that have been around for decades have industry clout and hold marketing value. Their industry-known logo may help with marketing efforts for the brand. If you’re using the certification as a marketing tactic, selecting a reputable company is a must.
Price typically drives company decisions. Because there are so many certifying bodies to choose from, it allows companies to shop around to best decide which company is a good fit for their business needs. Some certifying bodies offer significant discounts when working with consulting firms, like Allay Consulting. Make sure to get a quote from several companies so you can know how much it might cost, we have seen anywhere from $4,000.00- $20,000.00 for a certification audit depending on what company you go with. Contact us to learn more about the discounts offered to our clients!
Allay Consulting highly recommends working with a certifying body who is experienced with your industry. The downside is that not all companies will work with cannabis (either THC, hemp or psychedelics). In contrast, some CBs have standards specific to the THC cannabis and hemp industry. Using a CB that specializes in your unique industry tends to make for a smooth audit experience.
Customer service is key when working with a certifying body. Companies seeking certification will communicate often with their CB; you will need to determine audit dates, corrective action follow-ups, renewals, communication with questions, and more. Afterall, you are the customer and should be their priority. Many certifying bodies offer amazing customer service, ensure this is a topic of discussion when selecting your certifying body.
Narrowing Down Which Certifying Body to Use
Narrow down the potential certifying bodies to a few satisfactory contenders. Interview each CB based on talking points listed above. Talk with industry leaders who have used their services. After your research, narrow down your search to a single company who you believe will be the best fit for your certification needs. Allay Consulting has experience with many CBs, feel free to reach out to better understand their differences.
In Need of Compliance and Certification Support?
If your company’s values and goals include compliance, we are here to help! Allay Consulting compliance services work one-on-one with your company to create realistic Safety & Quality Management Systems that are unique to your company’s values and goals. Contact Allay Consulting to learn more about implementing FDA compliance, cGMP/GACP/Organic system, OSHA safety compliance, written documentation, facility compliance, certification readiness, and employee education.
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