Keeping Quality Simple


Here are my musings on quality issues, links to interesting articles (well they're interesting to me, at least!) - and some tips too, if you're looking for something free!

If you plan to write your own quality manual, click 
here to get an idea of where to start.

Happy reading and all the best as you continue on your own quality journey.

March 2014

Are you prepared for your next NATA audit?

Completing a thorough internal audit at least annually is not only a great way to improve your company's overall systems and performance but it can also reduce the conditions raised by NATA. You will have already identified areas of weakness and can be working towards addressing them. Complying with ISO IEC 17025 doesn't need to be a burden to your company - make it work for you! Implementation can actually give you an advantage over your competitors as you continually target areas for improvement and act before problems arise.

April 2014

Are you making the most of your Management Review process?

Many companies view Management Review as an activity to be completed solely to meet NATA's requirements. Management Review is an opportunity to step back and consider the overall performance of your laboratory. Utilise the Management Review process to celebrate your successes and identify areas for improvement. The items listed in ISO IEC 17025 17025:2017  Clause 8.9 provide a great framework for reviewing all areas of the laboratory's activities. Use this information to identify trends and make improvement action plans

May 2014

Identifying the same Non-Conformance over and over again???

Many laboratories miss out on getting the most value from Non-Conformance and Corrective Action process. If root cause analysis is conducted thoroughly, actions can be implemented and prevent recurrence - resist the temptation to blame 'human error' for the non-conformance and look deeper!!

July 2014

Can't I just download a Quality Manual from the internet?

When laboratory managers initially consider accreditation to ISO 17025, the first thing they often do is 'google' examples of quality manuals. The danger in doing this is information overload and an often ill-conceived idea that the more documentation the better. The examples you are looking at on line may be for laboratories that are vastly different to yours in size and fields of testing or may be so generic that they are almost meaningless. 

November 2014

I am spending the day 'simplifying' the quality system of a small business - one employee who is also the owner. He thought he needed his 46 page Quality Manual and well over 50 internally generated quality documents to maintain his NATA accreditation. He doesn't (as he found out at his last NATA audit!!). The manual is now around 20 pages and other documents are significantly reduced. 
At morning tea, I found this article Running out red tape is a growth industry
Does this describe your business? If so, do something about it- you are wasting your time and your money if you don't!!

 January 2015

Are you getting value from internal audits?

This article will remind you of how useful they really can be Internal Audits- your (not so) secret weapon.

March 2016

I'm always looking for ways to improve as a Quality professional.

Here's a great article from Mango '5 Habits of Successful QHSE Compliance Managers'.

 December 2016

The ISO / IEC 17025 will be reissued in 2017 and there will be significant changes. If you are familiar with ISO 9001: 2015 and / or ISO / IEC 17020 you will recognize the structure.

It is likely there will be a transition time for compliance with the new standard but you will also be expected that your accreditation body (ie NATA for my Australian friends!) will expect you to have a plan in place soon after the standard has been issued. Include this as an agenda item for your next Management Review meeting and start thinking about the resources needed to conduct a gap analysis.

 June 2017

The draft for the new revision of ISO / IEC 17025 is now available. Here are some of my thoughts on the proposed document which looks quite different from the ISO / IEC 17025 that most of us are used to!

October 2019

​Confused about decision rules and statements of conformity?

ILAC have recently published a guidance documentILAC G8:09/2019that is worth reading.

January 2020

​Does your laboratory conduct internal checks on timers?

If so, are you aware that the Telstra talking clock is no longer available?This article details an alternate way to conduct these checks that maintains the required traceability and will be acceptable to NATA.

June 2020

Do you use test results to determine product conformity?

Here are five questions to ask yourself to make sure the results you get are reliable and that you are using them appropriately.