This post is by Rob Campling, Approvals Engineer at TRaC
Globalisation has opened up many more opportunities for manufacturers of radio and telecoms products. These days, business might be a few time zones away instead of on your doorstep.
While a share of a worldwide market worth hundreds of millions of pounds beckons to ambitious companies, getting product approval can be more challenging and time-consuming than people first realise.
There can be hurdles to overcome, especially when working in markets other than those in the EU and North America, so it’s very helpful to have access to the right networks of approvals professionals, know the best routes to market in different circumstances and possess good project management skills as well as cultural awareness.
We manage around 30 projects consecutively to enable clients to get the ‘green light’ for their products in the worldwide market and I would like to share my top three tips for seeking telecoms and radio approval; drawing on my experience of working in over 150 markets.
Tip 1: One size doesn’t fit all. Remember, if you are seeking product approval outside European or North American markets, the process may take quite a bit longer and be more involved than you might expect.
Within the European Economic Area (EEA), manufacturers benefit from CE Marking (meaning ‘Conformité Européenne’, or European Conformity), whereby the manufacturer can test to the applicable product standard and declare their product meets the relevant EU Directives. Following this the products can be freely distributed to any EEA country providing it meets the CE Marking requirements.
In addition, the manufacturer can then use the test reports to launch the product in certain areas outside of the EEA without further testing or adaptation, it is important however to ensure that any local certification is gained (using your EU reports) and the relevant labelling applied.
If in contrast you plan to launch in Brazil, one of the fastest growing global markets for electronic products, this is among the nations that require their own in-country testing. So new products require safety, EMC (electromagnetic compatibility), radio and/or telecoms testing within a Brazilian lab – something that could seriously impact on your launch schedule and budgets!
Tip 2: Can you vault the language barrier? Not all markets speak English as their working language – do you have contacts on the ground who can deal with officials in their ‘mother tongue?’
Despite the adoption of English throughout the Western World, the approvals path may run more smoothly if your network includes contacts who are fluent in the native language, for instance, in the Middle East. Being aware of the local culture and traditions may also be important to expedite the process, and the need to use a translator can add to your timescales.
Tip 3: The whole world isn’t digital. Even in 2012, not every market uses email. So you may need to work with old-fashioned paper forms and the postal service to get the ‘rubber stamp’ in some countries. This was something we recently factored in while gaining a certificate of approval for a client in Tanzania; a nation that still uses hand-written paperwork, along with the requirement to hand deliver the forms to officials.
So as you can see, there is more than meets the eye in getting your product to market, and we will be sharing further insight into global approvals in future blogs.
For more information, please contact me on email@example.com.