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Multisite certification at internal SGS Benelux

With Bob Van Doorsselaere, QHSE Manager Benelux at SGS Belgium I had a chat through Teams in September 2020 about their internal multisite certification for 9001, 14001 and VCA**. The scope of the certifications focusses on specific lab activities for their customers.

SGS Benelux has 15 legal entities, with about 50 sites, about 3.500 people and one central management. The core activities, testing, inspection and certification, are performed in 8 different business lines, linked with economic sectors, operating rather autonomous, with their own management teams. The QHSE department is responsible for the internal management system. This system is certified by Kiwa Belgium.

Certification of this system is important for SGS Benelux because of customers' demands. Bob states that certification has a clear added value for SGS. It’s always good when an external looks at your processes and keeps challenging the status quo. Kiwa is beneficial in this respect.

Reasons for the single management system and the multisite certification for SGS Benelux are that this single system is easier to maintain in a rather complicated organization and of course the significant savings on certification.

Today auditors tend to focus more and more on the implementation of the processes in the company, instead of only talking to the Quality Manager. For him it's important to have the same lead auditor for a few years in a row. It takes some time to understand organizations like SGS Benelux.


A disadvantage of multisite certification is the rather limited external control because of the sampling. The sites at SGS Benelux are first categorized into their activities. Kiwa samples in these different categories. Each year about 5 sites are audited by Kiwa. More self-control is expected at a multisite organization where sampling is permitted. This makes the internal audits even more important.

An interesting observation that Kiwa once did during their audits, is that there should be KPI’s to monitor the supporting departments like HR.

Central Function

The IAF.MD1 requires the central function to be audited every year. This means for SGS that EQHS is audited annually. Somewhere, almost hidden in a footnote, in the MD1 is described that the central function is where operational control and authority from the top management of the organization is exerted over every site. Based on this I would expect that Kiwa would audit for the central function, next to Quality, the central management and the management teams of the business lines. They plan and control certain processes/activities which are carried out at the sites, as described in the MD1.

Management Review

The centralized Management Review is based on about 30 operational MR's, coming from the business lines and so on. The template for these MR's is based on the mandatory input requirements from ISO and VCA. Main reason for the operational MR's is to have a review connecting to the day to day operations of the department or business line involved. A single central management review would create a huge distance between the operations and the MR team. The level of detail would be far too low for the MR to speak to “the man on the floor”.

This process is reasonably integrated in the operations and has added value for the business.


For Bob is further digitalization important. It offers him the possibility to implement a cockpit with a limited number of relevant KPI’s for the management to monitor the performance of the processes instead of only the results of the processes of SGS Benelux. In turn, this will allow the operational management teams to integrate quality into their daily operations.

See further our homepage on MD1.Support!


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It's a very good initiative that MD1.Support can help organizations in multisite certification!

Dirk Regenboog from Bureau Veritas Certification Netherlands
Dirk Regenboog from Bureau Veritas Certification Netherlands

MD1.Support helped us a lot how we could benefit from multisite certification

Jack Reinders from Bronkhorst
Jack Reinders from Bronkhorst

Bas Logister of MD1.Support helped us in the understanding of the requirements and the calculation of multisite certification,

Ronald Velsink from Unica
Ronald Velsink from Unica

Bas Logister of MD1.Support helped us in our negotiations with the certifier

Henk Kerkdijk from Teijin Aramid
Henk Kerkdijk from Teijin Aramid