The Independent Print Industries Association is putting the final touches to an accreditation scheme that will launch in the new year. This will allow IPIA members to seek independently assessed accreditation to enable customers to work with print suppliers knowing that they will be dealing with legitimate businesses and companies that can deliver what is promised.
Marian Stefani, chief executive of the IPIA says the scheme has been under development for a couple of years, culminating in trials for the new scheme that will be formally introduced in the new year. “We started looking at what it is that differentiates our membership,” she says. “We are already an association which is not about open membership: you must be invited and approved. We wanted to take that step further and make it into something that can be relied upon.”
It needed to be applicable both to the larger businesses which have the ability to manage formal accreditation procedures, such as for ISO qualifications, and to smaller businesses that do not have the full list of ISO. “They can follow the procedures and reach an accreditation level that is applicable to them,” she says.
The scheme will be marketed by the IPIA so that companies looking to outsource service will recognise the stamp of approval (and logo) will be carried by quality suppliers. For a print manager or reseller, the accreditation will provide additional reassurance to new clients, demonstrating membership of a properly policed professional body with an outside assessment procedure.
Associate members, generally technology and consumables suppliers, will also be eligible for the scheme and can use the IPIA accreditation mark to show that their products are best in class and that service meets required levels.
One of the associate members, Imprint MIS, has gone a step further with sponsorship for the scheme as it launches.
The accreditation has been developed in collaboration with PMC which is one of the key assessment bodies for ISO qualifications across the industry, including ISO 12647-2 for print quality.
“We will go live at the beginning of January,” says Stefani. “The accreditation will help our trade members by reassuring their customers that these are companies whose abilities have been investigated, that there is something behind the name, that you have the equipment and that for print managers, that you have trained and invested in your people and that you are backed by an accredited supply chain.”
The IPIA will introduce an accreditation scheme in the new year looking to provide assurance to those doing business with its members that there is substance to the claims. In short that those certified can be trusted.