What is A2LA and Why is it Important
If people were asked to guess what A2LA was an acronym for, most of them probably wouldn’t guess American Association for Laboratory Accreditations (well, at least not on their first try). Here at Grand Rapids Metrology, we not only know the acronym but we know who they are, why they are important, and how to obtain their certifications, and we want you to know too!
A2LA is a non-profit, non-governmental, third-party, public service, accreditation body (so, a mouthful). They provide various accreditation programs for organizations in numerous industries, such as testing laboratories, inspection bodies, clinical testing laboratories, and other industry specific programs like air emission testing bodies. Not only that, but they are the largest U.S. based, multi-discipline accreditation body. A2LA themselves are a signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA). It is probably not entirely clear yet as to why GRM choses A2LA as our sole accreditor, but the benefits of working with A2LA will soon become evident.
Receiving accreditation from A2LA is not an easy task. This organization works in accordance with standards published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and has done so for 30 years. Here at GRM, we are ISO 17025 certified for calibration. Grand Rapids Metrology recognizes that adhering to international standards require more rigorous evaluations and requirements from us, but it can also improve our customer’s competitive advantage, yet still allow for the flexibility needed to evolve. Likewise, working with such strict standards can improve your organization’s ability to make more informed decisions, reduce cost, and helps manage risks.
How does A2LA differentiate GRM from our competitors? First of all, over 90% of our customers seek some type of quality standards, a large portion of that being in the automotive industry. So, by using one of the strictest standards for calibration, our customers’ needs are well met, if not exceeded. There are other accreditation bodies in the business of course- NVLAP, NIST, L.A.B., and PJLA to name a few. A2LA, however, goes beyond the simple routine of checking boxes and distributing ISO 17025 certifications. This organization takes a more in-depth look at the processes and capabilities of their customers (like GRM) to strengthen the standards they are granting. Most of our GRM competitors are A2LA accredited for laboratories, however our scale competitors use a wide variety of accreditation bodies, some not as rigid as A2LA.
Grand Rapids Metrology has been loyal to A2LA for since the year 2000. We find working with A2LA to be an important attribute that contributes to the overall success of Grand Rapids Metrology and our customers. With their large scope of accreditation capabilities and strict international standards, they allow us to be the very best we can for you.