The onboarding process – revisited

The onboarding process – revisited

I’m often asked, “how long will it take to complete my Quality Management System using R18LabQMS?” The short answer is, every lab is different.

Each laboratory varies in size, which will determine the amount of equipment and procedures that will need to be included in the process. So let’s take a deeper dive into the onboarding process that will complete your QM and get your laboratory 100 percent up to speed!

Onboarding is an umbrella term that’s often used to describe the overall process that users go through when they begin building their Quality Management System (QMS). The onboarding process will ultimately define the success users have. 

When a laboratory decides to take on a new project or undertake a new system for managing its QMS, a new habit needs to be formed, a new process. That said, let’s walk through what a new user can expect and experience when starting their account with R18LabQMS.

Initial QM assessment

While going through the onboarding process, it’s important to do an initial assessment of information that’s required in AASHTO R18 sections 5 and 6, and determine the information that’s required. Most laboratories learn that they have a significant amount of scattered information that just needs to be assembled and then managed in once place.

Onboarding process 

When the commitment is made and your account is set up, the first user associated with your lab account is the Primary Lab Manager (PLM) role. The PLM is set up on the admin side and, like all users added to your account, will receive an email from service@r18labqms.com with a link to create a password. Once this is done, the PLM can log in by using their email address and password. Important to note is that all users have varying levels of access to the application according to their user roles. This will be summarized at the end.

First time logging in

You will be asked to accept the terms of service prior to accessing the application, and again whenever your account is renewed.

Setup process

Once you have accepted the terms of service, you will be taken to the setup page to officially begin the onboarding process. You will notice in the left-hand column all the sections that require a procedure are listed numerically as they are in R18, Section 5 (Management) and Section 6 (Technical).

Areas to note: 

Content can be added to each section by clicking, then on the right, you can cut and paste your procedure description or add a file by clicking “Add File” in conjunction with your added content. Once content or files have been added to each section, on the bottom left you will have the option to “Save Progress” or “Save and Continue.” If “Save and Continue” is clicked this will be reflected on the progress bar on the top left, and a green dot will appear on the left column for that section. 

Setup process completed – proceed to the dashboard

When all sections have been completed and your progress bar is at 100 percent, proceed to the dashboard view by clicking “Save Progress” and “Exit Setup” in the upper right-hand corner. You can exit the setup process at any point and complete all areas of your QM from either your dashboard or quality manual, however, this intuitive setup process is intended to guide you and act like guardrails along the way. 

User roles and application views

Primary lab manager

Each primary lab will have at least one PLM who will have full access to manage and maintain the R18LabQMS software. PLMs are the only roles that have access to both the primary and satellite labs.

Lab manager

The lab manager manages and maintains all features within the specific lab he/she has been added to.

Lab technician

The lab technician has access to only the dashboard, procedure history, and QM (read-only and unable to open links), and can enter data and complete procedure calibrations or maintenance forms within the specific lab he/she has been added to.

Senior manager

The senior manager can view with read-only access the Procedure History, QM, and Internal Audit reports for all labs within the company.


A non-user does not have access to the application. The best example of this role is a person that is part of the ownership and management structure within the company that does not work directly within the laboratory and would be included in the organizational chart. 

User questions

Q: I’m considering becoming an R18LabQMS user, can I upload my existing inventory from an excel spreadsheet into the application; conversely, once my inventory has been completed can I download it from the application?

A: At this time, you must add your equipment inventory to the application, then add cal.check.standard.maintenance procedures as required. However, once your inventory is completed, you can export your entire inventory details as a CSV file.

Resources and training opportunities

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


 R18 Blog

• Virtual Training (1 hour or less, no fees), please let us know and we can set this up.

• Extensive Virtual Training – Fee-based, please inquire.

Upcoming meetings

 AAPT (Association of Asphalt Paving Technologist)

  • Sponsor  
  • September 13-16, 2020

 SEAUPG 2018 Annual Meeting & Exhibits

  • Sponsor (on-site)  
  • November 17-19, 2020
  • Knoxville, Tennessee

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