Preparing for an assessment

Like most laboratories, when it’s time for an on-site assessment we all scramble to be sure we’re prepared when the assessor walks through the doors of the laboratory. Preparation typically consumes lab staff weeks before the big day. Having tools to manage your Quality Management System, and having an ongoing process in place can make the on-site assessment almost like any other day (well, almost).

I bring this up because we’re embarking on our 3rd on-site assessment since the implementation of R18LabQMS for our own laboratory. This has simplified our life and has enabled us to manage all the requirements of AASHTO R18 in one place. R18LabQMS is just that, a tool, that if not fully implemented is no different than a 3-ring binder or a filing cabinet that we used back in the 1980s.

So, have a process, implement the right tools, establish ongoing accountability and be proactive with your quality management system so when the time comes for your on-site assessment you will be well prepared.

Your QMS and the assessor

As one of the primary requirements of accreditation, having a fully implemented QMS is critical to maintaining your accreditation. Some treat it as a document that is dusted off and brought out every couple of years when the assessor shows up. Unfortunately, that’s the case for many. Your QMS should be treated as a “living document” that is continually edited and updated.

When it’s time for the assessor to review your QMS they have a couple of options if your laboratory has fully implemented R18LabQMS. If given access, they can review your QMS prior to coming onsite, or wait until they arrive. Either way, they have access right from their desktop.

Update on v2.0

Real progress is being made as we approach our March 1st, 2018 launch date with v2.0. Beta testing is in full swing with some real progress. Plans are being made for webinars for users to become familiar with changes and updates, please keep an eye out on the blog as we get closer.


R18LabQMS YouTube channel
Training and informational videos that include version updates, R18LabQMS demos and more.

R18LabQMS has a knowledge base
Accessible from the dashboard within the application, top right “help”.

Training opportunities

Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the application;
• Support – email us
• WebEx – additional training, please let us know and we can set this up.
• Onsite Training – fee-based, please inquire.

Upcoming industry meetings

AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange
March 12-15, 2018, San Diego, CA

An excellent opportunity for laboratory managers, quality managers, supervisors and technicians to learn about pertinent industry topics presented by AASHTO re:source staff and other subject matter experts.

R18LabQMS will be a sponsor at this event. Please come by and say hello!

AAPT – Association of Asphalt Paving Technologist
March 18-21, 2018, Jacksonville, FL

AAPT’s three-day annual meeting is held every spring, and includes asphalt-related technical sessions, symposia and workshops presented by experts in all aspects of asphalt paving technology from around the world.

R18LabQMS will be a sponsor at this event. Let’s get together!

– Gary Irvine