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Introduction

SQAS (Safety & Quality Assessment System) is a system to evaluate the quality, safety, security and environmental performance of Logistics Service Providers (LSP's) and Chemical Distributors in a uniform manner by single standardised assessments carried out by independent assessors using a standard questionnaire.

An SQAS assessment does not lead to a certificate but offers a detailed factual report which each chemical company needs to evaluate according to its own requirements.

The SQAS Principles

Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, centrally manages the system and ensures its integrity and success. The system is based on four pillars:
- A common questionnaire for each category of companies
- The accreditation of assessors
- The electronic database of assessment reports
- The Service Group

The SQAS Questionnaires and Modules

Cefic has developed five specific SQAS questionnaires for the different types of LSP active in land logistics and one for chemical distribution, in close co-operation with the involved partner companies and their associations. The questionnaires and the associated databases of assessment reports are accessible via the modules listed on the "home page". The logistics modules cover Logistics Service Providers offering transportation and other logistics services to chemical companies. The SQAS Distributor / ESAD module addresses chemical company customers - the chemical distributors.

Similarly, CDI (Chemical Distribution Institute) coordinates a number of assessment modules to cover the various Maritime activities. These modules are covered in separate systems.

As a consequence, each industry sector (transport, cleaning, warehousing, etc) can be assessed with a common questionnaire. SQAS avoids multiple assessments by different individual chemical companies at the same logistics company, which prevents duplication of efforts and saves resources at both ends.

The SQAS Assessors

The assessments are done by professional auditors who are trained and accredited by Cefic for each type of assessment. They are also closely monitored by Cefic to ensure a continuous high and uniform quality of work across Europe.

New candidate assessors are referred to the link "Assessor Accreditation Documents" for further information on how to become an SQAS Accredited Assessor.

The Electronic Database of Assessment Reports

The assessment reports are stored in a central database, split per module. The electronic database allows better accessibility, transparency and easy analysis of the assessment results, but is secured to provide access to authorized persons only.

Chemical companies use these assessments for Risk Management in support of their product stewardship activities. The reports provide useful information on the strengths and weaknesses observed during the assessment. The chemical producers use the reports in their selection of new service providers and for their ongoing evaluation of the quality, safety, security and environmental performance of their existing partner companies, and for their dialogue with these companies, leading to continuous improvement.

The Service Groups

In order to ensure an ongoing sustainable operation of SQAS, Cefic has created the SQAS Service Group (for logistics) and the ESAD Service Group (for Chemical Distribution) for those chemical companies that actively support and use the SQAS Systems. These member companies provide both the financial resources and the management structure to operate the systems successfully.

Chemical companies that are member of these Service Groups obtain the following services:
- Access to the online database containing all the assessment reports allowing a quick analysis of the assessment results by using queries and templates;
- Training in the adequate use of the SQAS system;
- Access to the European network of accredited SQAS assessors.

The membership fee is dependent on the size of the company. For further information on these Service Groups, please contact Victor Trapani, e-mail vtr@cefic.be or telephone +32 2 676 73 85.

Getting started to do an SQAS Assessment

Any logistics or distributor company who considers to undertake an assessment is advised to familiarize themselves with the applicable questionnaire and the associated guidelines, and to choose an assessor from the list of Accredited Assessors, in order to plan and prepare the assignment and fulfill the required administration. The assessment process is explained in further detail (in various languages) in the guidelines of each module, and can be downloaded under the link "questionnaires" of the chosen module.

Use of the SQAS system by Logistics Service Providers and Chemical Distributors

The User Group "Logistics & Distributors" has been created accommodating all users who need access to other SQAS reports of interest, allowing them to evaluate their respective business partners, like transport companies, packaged warehouses and cleaning stations.

Any logistics company or chemical distributor, who have performed an assessment at their own facilities, may register as a member of this User Group. The registration form is posted under "other documents". Only one corporate registration is required for a multi-site or global company, with one central contact person, who can appoint multiple users within the organization.

At current, these users have access to all SQAS Cleaning reports and to SQAS Transport Service reports when the partner transport companies have authorized them through a function in their assessment "Manage User Access to the Report". To allow a good functioning and transparency of the system, it is recommended that assessed companies authorize access to their business partners who may have an interest in their report.