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Testing

Testing is defined according to ISO/IEC 17000 3 as "determination of one or more characteristics of an object of conformity assessment, according to a Procedure” where Procedure is defined as “specified way to carry out an activity or a process”.

Different parties can be involved in testing activities and therefore it is distinguished between

· first-party activities carried out by manufacturers and suppliers

· second-party activities performed by buyers, users, retailers or consumers

· third-party activities done by organisations independent of the above mentioned parties.

 

First-party testing is intensively applied in all sectors of the economy and comes in various forms. It is for example used as an internal quality control measure that the products, materials, items and services are up to the requirements expressed in legislation, standards, technical specifications and contracts with the clients.

 

The manufacturers' declaration of conformity expressed by different ways of marking the product is often based also on the outcome of these tests. 

 

Second-party testing is performed by the customer of the products, materials, items and services mainly in order to ensure that agreed requirements and specifications are fulfilled. Second-party testing is also often performed by retailers that sell OEM products under their own trade name.

 

For consumers, testing can be performed by consumer interest organisations or buyer organisations of products. Because of its often very individual nature this type of testing is not considered in detail here. 

 

Third-party testing is especially required, preferred or used if the results have a considerable influence or effect on public or societal issues, in particular related to health, environment, safety and large economic values. It is also applied when taking measures to reduce the possibility of cheating or when crucial risks of wrong or manipulated results exist.

 

Third-party testing is expected to provide a nonbiased neutral and objective view and thus greater confidence in the test results. Third-party testing occurs also if testing is in general outsourced to third party laboratories with the special case when a manufacturer’s laboratory (own first party) offers testing to other manufacturers as a service to perform the testing and issuance a test report.

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