Our laboratory was expecting a remote assessment late Q4 2020-21, however, our assessment date was moved up to late September – so the process begins.
With all the talk since April 2020 about remote assessments with AASHTO re:source, and lots of questions coming our way, I’m going to share our experience, both before and after the assessment, in our September/October blog entries.
The process leading up
Preparing for a remote assessment isn’t much different from your normal assessment preparation with a few exceptions that I’ll point out.
• Communicate with the assessor. Discuss what to expect from a technology standpoint, setting dates for the dry-run, and required documents to be provided through electronic format, namely your quality manual.
• Request a remote assessment
• Remote assessment agreement
• Supervisor and technician matrix
• Required documents and records (quality manual)
AASHTO re:source remote assessment flow chart
• Perform a dry run and technology review. Verify your internet connection around the lab where observations will take place, apps that will be used, cameras/phone/or possibly computers or iPads to be used. You don’t want issues during the assessment!
• Consider additional equipment. We will have tripods for ease of use to provide an optimal viewing experience for the assessor while using iPhones, iPad and possibly Bluetooth speakers. Also, considering the battery life of technology, either cordless or keeping them plugged in. This may seem obvious but the tendency is to be one power cord short in times like these. Do all you can to make the process go as smoothly as possible, especially during an assessment where there’s an hourly rate for each Assessor engaged in the process.
• Providing your quality manual records well before your remote assessment date. We have on our calendar the date we will share our Quality Manual with the Assessors involved, 14 days prior to the start of the remote assessment. If your laboratory is not using R18LabQMS as a means to create, manage, and share your quality manual, you are required to provide all of your QM records before the assessment via the AASHTO re:source portal (limited file upload) or some other electronic means of sharing your QM. In our last blog entry, we detailed sharing your quality manual using R18LabQMS titled Remote assessments and your quality manual.
• Be prepared financially. There is a base fee for administration, scheduling and the dry run prior to the assessment, plus an hourly rate for assessment time for each fully trained assessor. Preparation or the lack thereof can be costly.
• All detailed information regarding remote assessments with AASHTO re:source can be found by going to their Remote Laboratory Assessments page.
On our next blog entry, we will share our remote assessment experience along with any tips on how to make this go smoothly so stay tuned!
Q: I would like to add history of past records within my quality manual, specifically proficiency samples (PSP) from various agencies, is this possible?
A: Yes. You can create new sections within your quality manual tab by clicking the custom section. There you can select new title, or WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), and file upload. The WYSIWYG is a place where you can cut and paste content for procedures or information regarding that section, and an example of how you can label WYSIWYG elements would be “comments or procedure description.” In the case of adding history for PSP samples, simply provide a description and upload your file history.
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), contact us for an appointment
Extensive Virtual Training – Fee-based, please inquire.
AAPT (Association of Asphalt Paving Technologist)
This is a great opportunity to kick the tires, learn more about an organization that’s in its 96th year, and gain a wealth of knowledge within its membership.
SEAUPG (Southeastern Asphalt User/Producer Group)
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
LabQMS Program Manager