Facility certification update: catching up on the ESD control program standard, S20.20.
ANSI/ESD S20.20-1999 was designed to help answer the questions: "How do I convince my customers that my ESD control program adequately protects the products I provide them?" "How do I demonstrate that a single ESD control program will work for all of my customers?" The standard outlined the basic requirements necessary to design, establish and maintain an ESD control program. The standard itself provided broad program guidance, while allowing users the flexibility to develop a specific, individualized program within its framework.
Designed to he third-party auditable, the mechanism for that audit was announced by the ESDA in the fall of 2000. The S20.20 facility certification program is similar to ISO 9000, with certified registrars independently assessing a company's ESD control program and issuing a formal S20.20 certification. The assessment of a company's ESD control program can be performed as part of the company's ISO 9000 audit or as a separate audit.
S20.20 provides a formal, consistent process standard that can be ISO 9000 audited. S20.20 provides a single, auditable ESD standard for OEMs, suppliers and contractors. Using the standard as a program guideline, a manufacturer not only has a means for developing and implementing a program that meets its specific needs, but it also has an ISO-level certifiable program that can demonstrate to customers that it has a functioning ESD program in place. Contract manufacturers, who now face a myriad of differing control programs to satisfy their customers' varying requirements, have the opportunity to implement a single auditable program.
Approximately 30 sites in nine countries have been certified to ANSI/ESD S20.20. The facilities include OEMs, CMs and manufacturers of ESD control products.
Three registrars with offices in North America, Asia and Europe have been certified to conduct the S20.20 audits. A fourth registrar has been scheduled to take the training and conduct the witness audit that would qualify them to perform the audits.
The ESDA conducted three seminars in 2002--including one in China--to help ESD program managers better understand the audit process and to prepare their companies for the formal audit. The popularity of these seminars has prompted the association to schedule additional sessions in 2003.
Although these numbers provide some indication of the increasing interest in S20.20 certification, discussions with Ron Gibson, chair of the ESDA standards committee and overseer of the S20.20 certification program, yields a number of other observations. According to Gibson, the association has received comments that an "increasing number of companies are beginning to require S20.20 certification of their suppliers." They have also had "reports from S20.20 certified companies indicating that the normal conflicts that often arise between the companies and their customers on the matter of ESD control programs have decreased as a result of S20.20 certification. Reducing this conflict was one of the goals of developing S20.20."
With S20.20 certification entering its growing stages, what can we expect for the future? Gibson expects the number of certified facilities to double or triple in 2003, and to continue growing in 2004. Additional registrars will become certified to conduct the audits. More S20.20 training and education is on the schedule for this year and next. An ESD program manager certification program based on S20.20 is ,also in the development stages.
Additional details on ANSI/ESD S20.20, including lists of certified registrars and the new facility certification program, are available from the ESD Association; (315) 339-6937; www.esda.org.
Michael Z Brandt is a publicity consultant to the ESD Association and president of Marketing Resources Ltd., Rockford, IL; e-mail: email@example.com. This column is a regular contribution of the ESD Association, Rome, NY; (315) 339-6937; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|Author:||Brandt, Michael T.|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2003|
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