The Conformity Assessment Process


Follow our 5-step conformity assessment process to learn how to get your goods certified for export and receive a Certificate of Conformity (COC).

While the specific process may differ depending on the country, all conformity assessment programmes require you to follow a broad 5-step process in order to clear your goods through customs:

The Conformity Assessment Process

* For a list of the different countries and more information on their specific conformity assessment programmes, please visit our Verification of Conformity page.

1. Preliminary verification

Following the receipt of the request of the applicant, we identify the relevant standards required for its execution. Then, we verify that the competences required are available and which procedures should be applied, which can be a combination of sampling, laboratory analysis and audit. To summarise, this first step allows us to define the “who, how and when” as follows:

  • Receipt of the request
  • Documentation review
  • Decision on what needs to be done, which route to choose (A, B or C)
  • Definition of the scope of work:
    • Identification of the standards
    • Interpretation of the standards
    • Identification of required competencies
    • Definition of procedures to apply
  • Quotation

2. Preparation

Cotecna is in charge of providing the necessary instructions to the involved parties (inspector, laboratory and auditor) and verifies that the parties are able to carry out the required tasks that have been decided in step 1. This could involve the following actions:

  • Sampling
  • Laboratory analyses (internal or partner)
  • Factory audit
  • Pre-shipment inspection

3. Evaluation

This is the technical analysis of the file, and the evaluation of the results. Strictly speaking, this is the assessment of conformity. At the end of this step, conclusions are recorded in a report, where all detected non-conformity is recorded.

4. Certification

This is when the decision to certify is made, which is documented and signed off by the person who made this decision. Generally, it is made by the technical committee, the Regional Office, an expert, or even a director. Ultimately, the certification decision is materialised with the issuance of a Certificate of Conformity (COC) or a Non-Conformity Report (NCR).

5. Surveillance

This is the continuous conformity assessment of certified products with regard to requirements of the importing market. This is performed randomly, in different manners such as:

  • Random loading supervision
  • Arrival verification
  • Surveillance of quality management systems
  • Control audits of manufacturing process
  • Regular inspections
  • Random product laboratory testing
  • Control of factory production registry

It is to be noted that the frequency and extent of surveillance are generally defined jointly with the authorities responsible for the setup of the Verification of Conformity program. In the absence of precise requirements, Cotecna operates its surveillance verifications punctually and randomly.

Request a Certification

If you need more information on this process, or would like to receive a Certificate of Conformity for your goods, please don't hesitate to contact us.

To learn more about our Verification of Conformity service and the different country programmes, please visit our dedicated page: