Conformance VS Compliance​​

Definition: Conformance VS Compliance​

A Certificate of Compliance and a Certificate of Conformity are not the same. So, What is the difference between conformance vs compliance? Here is a brief definition of each:


Conformity is defined as the regulatory system that is followed within your management system. You can think of conformance as abiding by your internal manufacturing standards and regulations. Some examples of these regulatory standards are ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015.

In a manufacturing business, a nonconforming product is a product that doesn’t meet the requirements that are already specified in its ISO documents.

Each different industry will have its own set of rules requiring a general certificate of conformity or a certificate of conformance.


Compliance is about following the external rules and regulations of the industry. These rules could be either federal or provincial regulations or even specific contractual agreements that are agreed upon with your customer. 

For example, aviation or rail and transit industries have special regulations within their industry and might require a vendor certificate of compliance

They might have their vendor issue a Certificate of Compliance to ensure the safety of their products or that parts within their product are in compliance with the given regulations.

Conformity Assessment and Certification

This process is to show your conformity to requirements. On the ISO website Certification defines as: “Certification is the provision by an independent body of written assurance (a certificate) that the product, process, service, or system in question meets specific requirements.”

Conformance VS Compliance​​ from a customer point of view
You have a wall panel covered by awards and certifications that will impress customers, yet the customer will ask you to issue a CoC for the product that they are buying.

Summary and Examples of Conformance vs Compliance

Certification paves the road for entering the market and being part of the game. While CoC provides liability for the actual transaction between buyer and seller. Below generic examples should provide a better sense of the difference between conformance and compliance.

  • To check the credibility of a company you ask to see if they have any certification.
  • To show off your credibility, you affix your certifications and awards in the lobby or on your website.
  • When buying a product or service, you request a CoC to receive a warranty or detailed specification of such a specific item.
  • When selling a product or service, you issue a CoC to provide a warranty or detailed specification for a such specific item.

Certifications and Awards which you have received from different organizations will show how well you are recognized by others. Yet the customer needs a CoC for the actual product that he is buying. For example, regardless of the manufacturer’s reputation, you need a CoC for the car that you are buying, indicating the serial number and terms of the warranty.

The request for CoC is a common practice for Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Services.

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