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3 things to avoid with NATA accreditation

written by Maree Stuart

When it comes to NATA accreditation, we’ve seen it all! Including what not to do!


You might have just started down the path of NATA accreditation and are stuck. Or maybe you already have accreditation and feel like you’re in a maze and there’s no way out.


Maybe it’s simply that things need to change and you don’t know where to start.

#1 Putting the wrong person in charge

Just because someone was a part of a NATA assessment once long ago, does not make them the right person to handle NATA. They might have had a walk-on part on the show, rather than being the lead actor.

There are a few options that you can investigate for choosing the right person. You can do it yourself if you or a staff member have had lots of experience dealing with NATA with successful outcomes, seek help from a consultant, or something in between. It all depends on your budget, internal resources, time, and the difficulty of the problem.

Doing it yourself

When it comes to being a newbie to accreditation, be prepared to invest time and effort in developing, redesigning, and implementing systems if you decide to do it yourself.

You might be in the fortunate position of having staff who have taken on this project in the past. However, it’s important to factor in whether this is the best use of resources. Is your time, or that of your staff, better spent working in the business instead of on the business?

Buying off-the-shelf systems can be a helpful option if you know what you want to get out of your system. You will need to put in some time to customise the generic information provided in these products. However, you could also find that the systems offered in these products are too complicated for your needs. Or they may not quite suit how your lab has been set up.

You might already have some documents and systems in place, but you have to buy the complete package which seems like a waste.

You’ll need to weigh up the upfront costs of these products with the time and resources needed to make the system fit your needs and accreditation requirements.

If you’re already in the NATA circle, consider if it is the best use of your time and energy, and whether you have been totally comfortable and satisfied with the process of undergoing a NATA assessment.

Using a consultant

Engaging a consultant to help you work through the problem is a great option. This is especially true if you are time-poor or have limited experience in accreditation.

A consultant can bring loads of expertise and ideas for creating a system that will suit your needs. It need not be as expensive as you think: at MAS Management Systems, a simple gap analysis to give you a plan through the NATA Accreditation maze usually costs less than $1000.

A consultant should also be able to provide you with just the services you need. Whether it’s developing and writing documents, revamping your existing systems, providing training in accreditation requirements, or conducting internal audits, the decision is yours.

There are a few things you should do when engaging a consultant. You should be clear on what you want to achieve and by when. The Consultant should have a good track record of success. They might also be able to tell you when things didn’t work out well with clients and how this was handled.


#2 Poorly navigating the NATA maze

mazeGetting the right person or people for the job is only half the task. You’ll have to also tackle the challenge of solving the NATA maze.

We’ve recently written some general advice on how to work through the process. You can read our article here.

Our tips on how to avoid running into problems with the unknowns of the NATA maze are simple.

Break down the lab into it’s sub-components, then develop your plan for review against those requirements. Those sub-components can be things like:

  • having the right equipment that is calibrated;
  • having competent people performing the work;
  • having documents or other materials to explain how activities are to be done;
  • developing records that capture all the activities that have been done.

Next, methodically go through all of the NATA documents relevant to your lab on the NATA website.  OK, we know that’s a BIG task! You’ll need at least one beverage of your choice.

Highlight or mark the various clauses according to the sub-component.

Good preparation is the key here.

#3 Don’t ask for help

supportive hand mental healthYou could put on a brave face and just battle through….. or you could reach out to people in your network, including friends and family. As we always say, you don’t have to do this alone!

Think about who in your network you can enlist to talk through your questions, help with finding or implementing solutions, or join forces to battle the more unreasonable requirements.

If you need the professionals and want guaranteed success, you can always contact us. At MAS Management Systems, we listen to your needs and assist you in identifying where you need some extra help to succeed in NATA.

If you’re not sure which way to go, we offer a free, confidential service to help you decide which way to turn.

So don’t feel like you’re a rat trapped in a maze – contact us now to get some help!

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