Timely processes and documentation within your quality manual

Timely processes and documentation within your quality manual

As with equipment procedures, there are other documentation requirements that come with specific frequency requirements needing the attention of laboratory staff that are often overlooked. And while there are many areas to explore, in this post we will focus on areas found under the report tab within the R18LabQMS application. 

Take note: there are several navigation tabs along the top, and any work that is relevant or required outside of the quality manual tab will automatically be populated in the appropriate section within the quality manual. An example of this would be when adding a new user and their resume, as the resume would automatically appear in section 5.4.2. The same will be true with any content added under the reports tab, let’s explore.

When clicking the reports tab along the top, you will find the following areas to address to complete your quality manual:

External assessments: This is the documentation of your on-site or remote assessment/inspection, which typically takes place every 24 months. It provides a place to upload your final report, make comments, etc. When doing so, you will also find this content appearing in the quality manual in section

Customer complaints: This area requires the user to have a procedure for responding to a customer complaint. Obviously, there is no frequency for this action (hopefully). Here you will provide records of any complaints along with any actions taken. After completing, you will find the documentation records populated within the quality manual in section 

PSP reports: Proficiency Sample Program (PSP) samples that laboratories participate in will vary in frequency requirements depending on the type of samples. Aggregate samples, for example, have a 12-month frequency and Performance Graded Asphalt Binder has 6-month frequencies. PSP participation is required in your laboratory’s specific area of accreditation. All documentation can be added in this area of the reports tab, including the final report and root cause analysis on test results with low ratings. You can also find these documentation records populated within the quality manual in section

Corrective actions: This area is for documenting and implementing corrective actions when non-conforming work has been observed. The procedure for implementing corrective actions can be found in section 5.8.1 of the quality manual. After completing, these same records can also be found within the quality manual in section 

Internal audit reports: A procedure for implementing internal audits is required to verify that the laboratory’s operations comply with its policies and procedures and the requirements of this standard. Once added here, you can also find the procedure within the quality manual in section 5.6.1, and internal audit records in Section 5.6.3. The frequency for internal audits is at least every 12 months.

Management reviews: A procedure for implementing management review is required to ensure it continues to effectively satisfy the requirements, this procedure can be found in section 5.7.1. Once a new management review is added here, you will find it populated within the quality manual in section 5.7.2. The frequency for management reviews is at least every 12 months.

To summarize, it’s important to be aware of items within your quality manual that are associated with frequencies and required documentation.

User question

Q: I have a question regarding email notification on technician evaluations and certifications. How far in advance will I be notified prior to due dates, are they included on the notification bell on the application?

A: Great question. Basically there are three ways the Primary Lab Manager, and the Lab Manager (roles) are notified of upcoming events that need to be addressed: 

1.) An email notification is sent 30 days prior to an event.

2.) A monthly digest that shows 30 days prior and past dues for technician evaluations; the email subject line is R18Lab QMS: Technician Evaluation Due that comes from service@r18labqms.com. Currently, the 30 day digest only includes technician evaluations and not certifications, however we are in the process of upgrading this to include certification.

3.) The notification bell icon on the top right of the application. Click on the bell icon and you find all non-equipment related notifications including technician evaluations and certifications. There are two options on notification items: view or dismiss. In the case of technician evaluations and certifications, and when clicking view, it takes you to the evaluations tab but doesn’t specifically indicate which user has an upcoming event. Good news! We are in the process of highlighting the user who has the upcoming event to make it more intuitive. 

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.

  • Support
  • R18 Blog
  • Virtual Training (1 hour or less, no fees), contact us for an appointment
  • Extensive Virtual Training – Fee-based, please inquire.
  • 1 Full Day in your lab onsite – Fee-based, please inquire.

Upcoming meetings

All travel to industry meetings will be assessed on their scheduled dates, 2021-22 is looking good! 

We are planning the next sponsorship event with AAPT (Association of Asphalt Paving Technologist) Annual (hybrid) Meeting & Technical Sessions August 30 – September 2, 2021 in Nashville, TN. Please visit the AAPT website for the most up-to-date details.

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