With equipment procedures being one of the most active areas in managing your QMS, it’s fair to say that notifications are of the utmost importance in keeping on track and not getting behind.

If you’re an average laboratory with 100+ pieces of equipment requiring a cal/check/standard or maintenance procedure, you’re dealing with 100-200 procedures annually. That said, when the assessors pay your laboratory a visit every 24 months they can potentially be reviewing 200-400 procedures that include frequency of the procedure as detailed in the AASHTO R18 Standard, along with content requirements. Without a solid process in place, this can bring havoc to the on-site assessment that will create non-conformities requiring a resolution.

“How will we be notified about procedure due dates?”

Looking at one of the most asked questions, let’s review how R18LabQMS handles equipment procedure notifications and the implementation process.

Adding equipment to the application

When equipment is added to the inventory, you will be required to include at least one user to receive a notification for all procedures associated with that equipment.

Weekly emails

Weekly emails are sent every Monday morning at 12 a.m. to all users for upcoming equipment procedures. Content in the emails include past due, upcoming due this week, due next week, due in 3 weeks, due in 4 weeks. Details about equipment include name, procedure ID and type, manufacturer and model, serial number, and due date.

Email management 

Email management can be done in a couple of ways. First, when adding equipment to your inventory you are required to add at least one user to the email notification list. You can always go back and add additional users to the list as needed. However, once the equipment is added, the most efficient way to manage email notifications for all equipment is to go to the manage lab tab and click on the email notification tab. There you will see all of your equipment categories on the left column and all users that are active in the application in the top row.

Other email notifications 

Other email notifications within the application include internal audits, management reviews, technician training records and certifications and the recurring checklist that can also be managed from the manage lab tab.

Even with the best notification systems available, action is required to maintain ongoing procedures. So the question is, what creates a sense of urgency? The boss? The imminent arrival of the assessor?

A quick story

When version 1.0 of R18LabQMS was launched back in 2013, email management for equipment procedures within the manage lab tab was not available, so every user received notifications for all equipment. We were contacted by a DOT and commented that all lab personnel were receiving all upcoming equipment procedure list. They wanted a way to manage their email content by user/department. I tell this story to encourage laboratories to share their experiences and to provide input to make R18LabQMS a better application for our users.

R18LabQMS user questions

Q: We are finally getting around to rolling out R18LabQMS to our satellite labs. I wanted to see what the best way to go about that is?

A: Great question! Completing all procedures (none-equipment related) in the Primary Lab before moving on to the satellite labs is the correct way.

When you begin the process of setting up each satellite lab you will notice the content from the PL (an example would be training procedures, section 5.5.1), you can then either edit or delete that content.

Resources

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 0pportunities

Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application:

• Support
• User Guide
• R18 Blog
• WebEx – Additional training, please let us know and we can set this up.
• Onsite Training – Fee-based, please inquire.

Upcoming meetings for 2019

2019 AASHTO Committee on Materials & Pavements (AASHTO COMP)
• August 5-9, 2019, Baltimore, Maryland

For all questions regarding your quality management system, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your company.

– Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager