Benefits of satellite labs

Benefits of satellite labs

Does your company have multiple laboratory locations that may or may not be accredited? Managing and assuring quality can be a challenge if there isn’t a standardized system and process in place within your company. Far too often, I see companies that allow their laboratories to operate autonomously, which can ultimately lead to confusion and problems down the road (no pun). 

Using R18LabQMS can bring a ‘family of labs’ and their various locations together as one cohesive operation that will standardize the process with all laboratory staff having a full understanding of their Quality Management System, minimizing: ‘We do it this way’ or ‘We’ve been doing it this way for 35 years and we’re not changing now’.  Managing a laboratory’s operation and the products and services they provide are crucial to a company’s overall health. When there is a problem or a product failure, the root cause analysis always leads you to the level of quality in the laboratory. 

Managing quality 

R18LabQMS was designed to allow users to add satellite labs for multiple locations across their company. By doing so some benefits can bring labs together to work as a cohesive unit with their procedures. The uniqueness between labs would be the number and pieces of equipment, users at specific locations, and accreditation details – just to name a few.

Sharing procedures with new satellite labs

Creating a new satellite lab (SL) is done the same way as creating a primary lab where the application walks you through a setup process. The big advantage here is that all primary lab procedures previously created carry over to the new satellite lab with the option to keep or edit procedures as required. There’s also an option where the primary lab manager (role) can restrict or manage the content within the SLs.

Equipment procedure

One of the most beneficial parts of the R18LabQMS application is that created equipment procedures can be shared and managed across the family of labs (primary and satellite). If your company has, for example, 10 laboratories, and there’s a large amount of unique pieces of equipment, the primary lab can create one (calibration) procedure and share it across all laboratories and not have multiple versions of the same procedure. 

Managing procedures

Primary lab managers (PLM role) can edit procedures that simultaneously update across primary and satellite labs. There’s also an option for labs to make copies of existing procedures to make them unique. An example here would be the same procedure having more than one frequency. 

Managing the primary and satellite labs

There are several roles within the R18LabQMS Application (User roles defined) with various levels of access. In the case of satellite labs, the PLM has complete access to the primary lab and all satellite labs.

Subscription rates

When adding satellite labs there is a significant discount for each additional lab added to the primary lab account.

R18LabQMS celebrates another year

We’re celebrating 11 years this month since the launch of V1.0! It’s been an exciting journey developing a service that has now helped countless laboratories across the country that include 40+ states, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, DOTs and universities. We look forward to continued success in the coming years.

User question

Q: Can I add more than one user to my R18LabQMS primary and satellite labs, and if so how does that process work?

A: Important question. Yes, you can add as many users to each lab account as needed.  When doing so you will have the opportunity to assign user roles. To add a new user just click the ‘Users Tab’ (top right), then click + ‘New User.’ 


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

Training – onboarding process

Getting started happens within the setup process, it’s intuitive and follows the sections that require procedures within the management and technical sections. Each section number within the setup process corresponds to AASHTO R18. You can either enter your procedure Itself for each section or upload a file with the details of the procedure. I always tell labs during a demo that it’s much like a ‘Turbo Tax’ experience as it walks you through each step.

Once you have completed the setup process, or wish to move on to the dashboard view, just click save progress and exit setup in the upper right-hand corner. It’s straightforward and intuitive.

Upon exiting the setup process, there will be a dialog box that pops up asking you if you would like to add additional ASTM Quality Standards, and their sub-standards, i.e., D3666 (aggregate). 

Additional training needed to jump-start the onboarding process: 

Virtual training

We target a specific area for training and limit the time to one hour. An example would be adding equipment procedures to your equipment. There is no charge for virtual training limited to one hour.

Onsite training

We spend one day in your laboratory to review all aspects of your quality manual and take a deep dive into R18labQMS implementation. This training is fee-based, please inquire. 

Upcoming meetings we will soon be attending:

2024 AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange

March 18-21, 2024 in Boston, MA

The 2024 AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange is sure to exceed your expectations. To experience this one-of-a-kind event, join us March 18-21, 2024, in Boston, MA.

Exchange information, expand your professional network, and explore construction materials testing topics in sessions led by industry experts. This exceptional event allows you to engage with peers in workshops, roundtables, and panel discussions. This is a great event for laboratory managers, quality managers, supervisors, technicians and engineers.

 More notables

  • AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast with Brian Johnson & Kimberly Swanson

S2 E18: Moving to a Digital Quality Management System

Gary Irvine, from the Asphalt Institute, joins us to discuss the benefits of moving from a paper QMS to a digital system.

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 laboratory.

One last favor to ask, if there is a specific topic of discussion you would like to see in upcoming blogs, please send us a note!

Follow all future R18LabQMS blog posts, click here!  

Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager