Whether a business is dishing out candy, measuring pharmaceuticals, or weighing produce and bulk bin ingredients, it’s imperative that they weight goods on an NTEP certified scale. If you’re new to the scale market, it’s important to know that NTEP certification is non-negotiable, but buyer beware: every scale on the market doesn’t have this important designation.
What is NTEP certification?
NTEP certification is granted by the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) Committee of the National Conference on Weights and Measures. The standards they use for certification, with guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cover every aspect of a scale’s use, including capacity, accuracy, and the effects of temperature fluctuations on its operations.
If you’re investing in a scale for your business, here are three reasons why an NTEP certified scale is the only type of device you should consider:
1. When a product is sold by weight, it is a legal requirement that weighing equipment must be ‘legal for trade’
A retailer that is caught using a non-NTEP certified scale may be subject to heavy fines, seizure of the illegal scale, or work shutdown. Only consider purchasing a scale with an NTEP Certificate of Conformance (CoC), which means the scale is legal for trade and can be used in a commercial setting to sell products by weight. Every NTEP certified scale will have a CoC number that an inspector uses to verify that the scale meets the agency’s testing standards. Only a NTEP certified scale, when properly inspected and calibrated, is “legal for trade”.
2. Accurate and consistent measurements are important
When purchasing items by weight, the scale tells the customer they are receiving the exact amount of produce they’re paying for an ensures the retailer is receiving the correct payment. Always choose a scale that’s the correct accuracy class, because a candy store doesn’t need the same level of accuracy required for a pharmacy.
Maintaining properly calibrated devices helps you avoid overcharging customers or shorting your business. It could cause irreparable harm to your brand if you’re caught overcharging customers due to an improperly calibrated scale, even if it’s only off by a cent or two. Although this error would be unintentional, the negative backlash will cause you to lose customers and once this happens, it’s hard to regain the public’s trust.
3. It will be inspected annually by the Bureau of Weights and Measures
Just because you’ve purchased a NTEP certified scale, it doesn’t mean you can unpack it and start processing transactions right away. Before using the scale, contact your local regulatory authority to find out what you need to do before processing any sales by weight.
Every state has its own agencies and departments that monitor scales and inspect them for accuracy. A local weights and measures official will use NIST standards when inspecting your scale, certifying it for use and in most localities, the scale will be sealed (with a sticker showing the date) to prove it’s legal for trade. Scale inspection isn’t a “one and done” process, you’ll have to register your equipment for regular inspections.
There’s plenty that can go wrong for a business, but an issue with weight and measures doesn’t have to be one—calibration and compliance laws are there to protect you and your customers. And NTEP certification can make sure you are protected.