The second quarter of 2016 has been one of anticipation and hard work for the site and staff in Gracanica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Final preparations for the full Security Accreditation Scheme for UICC Production (SAS-UP) audit by the GSM Association (GSMA) were underway. Even though a provisional certificate was already secured, there was a constant but remote sense of uncertainty and disbelief – as success in realization of a project which started towards the end of 2013 would place a newcomer in the same constellation with world leaders in Universal Integrated Circuit Card (UICC) production industry!
Nothing short of that was the outcome. After the GSMA auditing team left the site mid-September, behind them stood the first UICC / (U)SIM personalization center in Bosnia and Herzegovina, fully certified by the GSMA for: data generation for UICC personalization, UICC personalization and Value-added fulfillment of UICC’s. A vision became reality.
Elatec d.o.o., the Elatec CSS subsidiary, is now one of 12 certified sites in Europe, and one of 39 worldwide. Having in mind that some of the largest players such as Gemalto, Giesecke & Devrient and Oberthur have multiple sites under their umbrellas – Elatec CSS is in fact among 9 suppliers in Europe and among 27 worldwide.
Initiative, Preparations and Provisional Certification
As assurances of information security, product reliability, availability and quality have already been an established standard requirement in the worldwide telecommunications products and services market, Elatec CSS’ development strategy was clear – put ourselves on the map and offer something the competition cannot.
Obviously, certification of the production process according to the SAS was the main objective. Combined with the philosophy of flexibility, short delivery times and constant availability, it was deemed a winning combination by the company management.
In early 2014, the plan and the objectives were presented to the staff, soon afterwards a specialist consultant was brought in to commence and help with preparations. After a couple of different realization propositions were reviewed, a decision has been made to build a modern site according to recommendations of the GSMA SAS standard. Site planning began around the middle of 2014, ending with building completion and moving operations from Tuzla to Gračanica in April 2015.
Only two short months remained until the first provisional or ”dry” audit, as the GSMA staff like to call it – which would focus on all aspects of security except for production, which was still in the development phase.
The audit went surprisingly well – with the young and capable team being on top of things. According to the auditors, this was one of the best newcomer results ever. Still, the non-compliances had to be improved on, and in December 2015 – after final improvement evidence was submitted – Elatec d.o.o. was awarded the provisional certificate.
Based on the acquired knowledge, experience from the provisional certification and constantly increasing production activities, the focus of the SAS implementation team expanded onto the production process itself, resulting in full certification in September 2016.
New trends in Telecommunications products and services, as well as in Smart Card products and services in general, are already more and more present in the world market. The challenges of keeping up with them are already around the corner. With constant improvement, growth and new strong partnerships, Elatec CSS is successfully executing its strategy of increasing the market share in Europe and Middle East.
One of the major steps planned for the near future is Payment Card Industry (PCI) certification for personalization of Visa and MasterCard banking cards – a successful completion of which could establish the company as one of the regional industry leaders.