Mandatory should have’s of a Quality Management Software for Calibration & Testing

Calibration management

Every Calibration & Testing business needs a reliable and robust Quality Management Software to deliver good quality service with a lesser turn around and high profitability. In this article, we talk about the quintessential features every lab manager or Calibration & Testing business owner should look for while evaluating a Quality Management Software.

User-defined data sheets & test reports

The core of every calibration or testing process or rather the most tangible proof of calibration & testing is the datasheets and the reports that are handed over to the customers. Labs spend a lot of time and effort to ensure the quality and legibility of the reports that they produce.

Commercial calibration & testing business is a service industry where the customer requirements are dynamic which means the datasheet templates, report formats, etc may change from customer to customer. One would need the right set of tools to keep up with customer demands and maintain profitability.

The quality management software of today should enable the user to define their own datasheet formats & certificate(report) templates. In addition, the reporting engine should also have options to include graphs and plots which are an integral part of calibration and testing reports nowadays.

Asset Tracking & Performance Statistics

Does your quality management software give you insights into the performance of your calibration standards? Have you ever thought of the value you could add to your customers if you are able to provide them with an in-depth analysis of their instrument’s performance over time?

The conventional Gage insight, Gage tracking and Asset Management software does not go beyond asset inventory management and calibration due alerts.

Comprehensive Quality management software like Metquay, on the other hand, has the capability to capture and analyze calibration data over a period of time and give you valuable insights on the performance of both your calibration standards and customer instrument. This is in addition to a user-configurable calibration due alerts and an interactive customer portal.

Document Control

Document control is the cornerstone of every quality management system. When documents are stored in paper format or in disconnected systems it drives down efficiency and increases the possibility of error.

The Quality management system that you look for should have a robust document control module that allows organizing documents under different categories, subcategories, etc along with meta tags to enable fast and accurate search results.

In addition, the document control system should have a review process to ensure that the documents stored are reviewed and current. There should be an option to assign document owners and configure alerts to inform users proactively on the expiry of the documents under their ownership.

Non Compliance Reports ( NCR) & Customer Complaints

Calibration and testing labs face regular audits ranging from ISO 17025 for Calibration and testing, ISO 9001 for quality and even from customers who look for compliance with specific quality guidelines.

A non-compliance report will be filled each time an audit is completed to indicate if the calibration/testing lab has failed to meet any regulatory requirement explaining the nature of the failure. It would also include the corrective action that should be taken to rectify the noncompliance at the earliest to retain accreditation. The noncompliance reports need to be tracked and corrective actions should be taken in priority and failure to do so could result in a penal action against the organization.

The Quality management software should have features to create, assign, track and approve Noncompliance reports effectively. Alerts should be given to appropriate people if an NCR ages for more than a given period time without closure.

Dashboards

The stakeholders in a calibration and testing lab need to be presented with all the critical information at one place in an easy to understand format.

Main areas a dashboard should cover include Aging non-compliance reports (NCR), Calibration Expired or soon to be expiring master instruments, Customer instrument recalls pending, Aging projects and jobs, Aging documents, etc. Dashboard in a quality management software should help users to be proactive, quick and efficient.

Metquay’s dashboard design follows the KANBAN principle where each of the sensitive areas mentioned above is plotted in KANBAN boards with appropriate color coding to indicate criticality.

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