Accreditation

The Complete Guide to Traceability

Climbing your Traceability Tree   Most NATA accredited labs will butt up against the requirements for metrological traceability. Those requirements seem to have become more difficult to meet, with even the tiniest and what would seem an insignificant piece of equipment or reference material being the subject of a condition for accreditation. Many labs have …read more »

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 …read more »

Reporting for Impact

Lab reports are like bees. According to the Earthwatch Institute, bees are the most important species on earth. These tiny creatures are responsible for ensuring pollination of up to 87 percent of leading food crops worldwide.  Some authors estimate that if insect pollination were to fail, economic losses would be about 8 percent at most. …read more »

5 simple steps for meaningful management reviews

written by Maree Stuart The prospect of doing a management review is not exactly a cause for celebration. Unlike birthdays, which also come around annually, management reviews can be dull, life-sucking events that last way too long. But it is possible to turn your management reviews from boring to brilliant! Our 5 simple steps explain how …read more »

Corrective action under the microscope

When you get a wicked problem, do you just throw your hands in the air and give up? What about those problems that simply won’t go away? Or the dreaded negative findings in an external audit report, like a NATA report? Let me help you understand this better with a classic example of a problem …read more »

Where does your medical lab get stuck with NATA and ISO 15189?

written by Maree Stuart It’s now been 6 months since NATA commenced assessments against the new edition of ISO 15189. Time flies when you’re having fun! 🙂 In this article, we’ll explore some of the areas Medical Labs get stuck. 1.   Management review for ISO 15189 labs We’ve written previously about management reviews so it’s worth revisiting this …read more »

Bad Blood

As that iconic philosopher Taylor Swift reminds us, when behaviour and communication go bad in the workplace, it can mean some Bad Blood. We’re often subject to human foibles like Liam’s loud chewing. Or Lauren’s leg jiggling when she talks. Or Lachlan’s tendency to use the word “like” in every sentence. Plus, it’s possible that …read more »

Climbing your Traceability Tree

Most NATA-accredited labs will butt up against the requirements for metrological traceability. Those requirements seem to have become more difficult to meet, with even the tiniest and what would seem an insignificant piece of equipment or reference material being the subject of a condition for accreditation. Many labs have told us of the relentless demands …read more »

Navigating the Accreditation Maze

  Here at MAS, we’ve noticed a troubling trend with navigating the accreditation process. There is some dissatisfaction with the NATA accreditation process and the time taken to get answers to applications and other submissions to NATA, as well as “creeping criteria”. We’re not naming and shaming individuals. The problem seems to be more systematic. …read more »

7 tips for choosing the right training partner

You always have a choice when it comes to who you partner with for training   Listen up, because I’m about to lay down some truth. When it comes to education and professional training, you’ve got a choice. You can settle for the run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter programs that promise the moon but deliver a flickering star, …read more »

5 steps to risk management success

No doubt you’ve read through the ISO/IEC 17025, ISO 15189, and ISO 17020 standards plenty of times and you’ve seen an increased emphasis on risk management. Some of these requirements have been in place for 5 years!   These requirements mean you look at risks in a more formalised and strategic way. Having a risk …read more »

Problem solving: When Honesty is the best policy

  What happens when a management system to identify the causes of problems fails? Over Christmas, shoppers in Japan had an unexpected experience. Several hundred customers who ordered the “strawberry frill shortcake” later complained the cake had arrived damaged.   In response to complaints, the Department Store issued the following statement:   “We sincerely apologise …read more »

Plan for success

  It’s been said that failing to plan is planning to fail. But sometimes we’re paralysed by the prospect of getting started and the time it takes to plan. Besides, there’s that other adage of “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. So you can only take these sayings with a grain …read more »

Impartiality: passing the Pub Test

written by Maree Stuart A while back, there was quite a stir about the Federal Government’s program for funding of commuter carparks. Under the Urban Congestion Fund (UCF), established in the 2018–19 Budget, the Commonwealth sought to ‘support projects to remediate pinch points, improve traffic safety and increase network efficiency for commuter and freight movements in …read more »

Solving your communication catastrophes

You might have heard about the latest Sydney-centric communication stuff-up. It involves the Spaghetti Junction of the Rozelle Interchange. One reason for the traffic chaos came from poor signage. This miscommunication meant that there were extraordinary traffic jams and hours of lost productivity! It shows how a lack of communication can lead to frustration. It’s …read more »

Making your internal audits meaningful not mediocre

The recent renewed focus on the quality of audits performed by the Big 4 accounting and audit firms has put a spotlight on audit outcomes and reporting. While the focus has been on pesky financial audits, there are plenty of subjects that are covered by audits. The topics can be wide-ranging and include audits of …read more »

Your NATA Assessment Survival Guide Part 3

written by Maree Stuart Welcome to our third and final part of our NATA Assessment Survival Guide.   Last week in Lab Man vs Wild NATA, we looked at how reviewing and maintaining your staff competence and HR systems, equipment systems and methods go a long way in preparing for NATA Assessments. We also looked at …read more »

Your NATA Assessment Survival Guide – Part 1

written by Maree Stuart   Being a NATA-accredited lab can feel like you’re Bear Grylls, with a depleted level of resources but being pushed to achieve ever more thrilling feats to entertain the audience of NATA assessors. It’s hard to survive a NATA assessment. We get it- we’ve felt like that too! Being prepared not only will …read more »

Everything you need to know about sampling and sample management

written by Maree Stuart The things labs test and calibrate don’t magically appear out of nowhere.  Somewhere along the line, there is a sample taken. Many labs aren’t in charge of sampling. That’s something left to clients, clinical staff and production line staff. Just because it’s somebody else’s responsibility does not mean laboratories can ignore it. …read more »

The Essential Guide to Kicking your Accreditation Goals

written by Maree Stuart Finally achieving the ‘holy grail’ of NATA accreditation might be your resolution for 2023. Problem is, you don’t know where to start. And we’re more than half-way through the year!   You might have even started down the path of NATA accreditation and are stuck. And if you’re a medical lab, now …read more »

Method Selection: A Step-by-Step Guide

written by Maree Stuart Method selection is one area that many labs take for granted. You often only have one choice…….or so you think. After all, when you have a hammer, everything is a nail, right? In this article we’ll explore some of the questions labs should be asking so that the right method is used …read more »

Can you rely on your suppliers?

written by Maree Stuart We’ve all been disappointed by our suppliers from time to time, especially in times of supply chain constraints. Imagine being the CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation a couple of days ago. You’re quietly minding your own business, basking in the last rays of glory that was Birmingham 2022 and looking forward …read more »

Quality Control: When doing your best is not good enough

written by Maree Stuart I recently came across a process that went along like this: Team completes an activity Quality control by review of records and report by a supervisor Quality control by review of the records and report by a technical manager Quality control by review of the records and report by a committee of …read more »

The top 3 things to do to be ready for ISO 15189 assessments

written by Maree Stuart Late last year, a new version of ISO 15189 was released. It wasn’t done under the cover of darkness – hopefully, those affected know it’s coming. The countdown is now on for implementation, and there’s less than a month to go until D-Day, 1 August. In this article, we’ll explore some of …read more »

Risk Management in 5 steps

written by Maree Stuart No doubt you’ve read through the ISO/IEC 17025, ISO 9001, or ISO 15189 standards plenty of times and you’ve seen an increased emphasis on risk-based thinking. We’ve written articles previously about risk management and discussed how the requirements need you to look at risks in a more formalised and strategic way. Since …read more »

6 Accreditation Basics you might not know

written by Maree Stuart   World Accreditation Day falls on 9th June each year. It was established by the International Accreditation Forum/ International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Joint General Assembly in 2007 to mark the importance of accreditation in conformity assessment. This year’s theme is Accreditation: Supporting the Future of Global Trade and focuses on how accreditation …read more »

Navigating the Accreditation Maze

written by Maree Stuart   Last week, I attended the Future Labs Conference in Sydney. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn about developments in AI, machine learning, digitization, facility design, and systems. But there was a troublesome undercurrent in the discussions- dissatisfaction with NATA accreditation. Despite the enthusiasm to adopt new technologies in the lab, …read more »

Unveiling the Importance of Method Validation

written by Maree Stuart It’s the question that can excite you or make you groan, “Show me your method validation data”. It’s not like we are scammers trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the nearest gullible person. After all, we’re professionals! And the same response might apply when you’re asked about your method …read more »

5 ways to deal with Complaints

written by Maree Stuart Oh Alan, I would give everything, not to be like him.   Would you want to be Alan Joyce right now? He’s the butt of many jokes, including this one from The Shovel:     With QANTAS seen to be the stand-out performer in poor customer service and failures to respond to …read more »

Decisions, decisions, decisions

written by Maree Stuart   Being in a lab isn’t always easy, especially when there are decisions to be made. According to prospect theory, if two equal options are put to a person but one option is described in relation to gains and the other is described according to losses, the person is more likely to …read more »

Total Control

written by Maree Stuart Would you sell your soul for total control like Martha Davis in The Motels? Sadly, your documentation system isn’t just a ‘set and forget’. They require reviewing, updating and managing to ensure they’re accurate, up-to-date, and available. And that’s where a document control system comes in. A good system allows your documents …read more »

The Essential Lab Guide to QC

written by Maree Stuart I had a conversation with someone recently where we discussed what was meant by the concept “Quality”. The discussion quickly reached the subject of quality control and it was clear that there was a lack of understanding of what this term meant.   We recently wrote about Quality Basics and included some …read more »

Quality in the Spotlight

written by Maree Stuart Getting the basics right I’m sure if someone asked you what did “Quality” entail, you’d have a list of things that are done. Some of those things might be drawn from topics and requirements that appear in Standards like ISO 17025, ISO 15189, ISO 17020 and ISO 9001. Some of them might …read more »

3 things you need to know about the new ISO 15189

written by Maree Stuart Late last year, a new ISO standard was released. It wasn’t done under the cover of darkness – hopefully those affected know it’s coming. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key changes and what that means to Medical Labs. We’ll also cover how you can prepare for assessments done to …read more »

5 simple steps for great management reviews

written by Maree Stuart The prospect of doing a management review is not exactly a cause for celebration. Unlike birthdays, which also come around annually, management reviews can be dull, life-sucking events that last way too long. But it is possible to turn your management reviews from boring to brilliant! Our 5 simple steps are here …read more »

New Year Resolutions

written by Maree Stuart Do you make new year’s resolutions each year? A survey found that in 2022, just 23% of survey participants intended to make new year’s resolutions. The most popular resolutions for 2022 were living healthier (23%), personal improvement and happiness (21%), and losing weight (20%). Anyway, who really cares? By the time we …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 12

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season we are delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the twelfth day of Christmas we had a NATA assessment For many lab folk, the prospect of a NATA assessment is the stuff of nightmares. If you’re a little …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 10

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season we are delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the tenth day of Christmas we discovered we had missed calibration of our most used piece of equipment Issues to do with equipment and calibration are often areas where …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 9

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season we are delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the ninth day of Christmas, the air conditioning in our lab died If you’re in Melbourne right now, then dealing with hot temperatures hasn’t exactly been a recent issue. …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 7

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season we are delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the seventh day of Christmas, one of our test reports appeared in the newspaper when it was leaked to a journalist by a staff member You might regard this …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 6

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season, we’re delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the sixth day of Christmas, our field staff were given a gift from a client It’s always nice when a client recognises the hard work of our staff. But sometimes, …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 5

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season, we’re delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the fifth day of Christmas, we did our management review with our business planning session. Huh? You mean we can do a management review not just to tick the accreditation …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 4

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season, we’re delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the fourth day of Christmas, we did an internal audit of some new work we wanted to seek accreditation for. How many times have you requested a change to your …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 2

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season, we’re delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the second day of Christmas, our server went down! These days, most information and data are stored electronically. Apart from saving the planet, maintaining information in an digital format can …read more »

12 Days of a Lab Christmas – Day 1

written by Maree Stuart As we head into the silly season, we’re delighted to present: The MAS Management Systems 12 Days of a Lab Christmas! On the first day of Christmas, we found our procedures hadn’t been reviewed for 2 years. Lab documents provide essential guidelines and references for what we do. They allow us to …read more »

5 secrets for successful risk management

written by Maree Stuart The world can be a risky place! With claims by Mark Bouris who says Australia runs the risk of “going overboard” and pushing interest rates too high next year, and ongoing risks to our personal data and privacy through data breaches, we’re besieged by warnings about the present and the future. Those …read more »

Happy customers, happy life!

written by Maree Stuart There’s a saying often used by many a marriage partner, “Happy wife, happy life”. The same can be said for our business relationships, both inside and outside our organisations. The question is how do you get to that point? Well, like any partnership you have to work at it. But the investment …read more »

The best kept secrets to GCP (Good Compliance Practice)

written by Maree Stuart Compliance is big news! The woes of Optus following its data breach keep on coming. And we can look forward to investigations by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and ACMA to help understand why this breach of data security requirements occurred. Hopefully, we’ll also get some insights into how these …read more »

5 tips for writing good Policies and Procedures  

written by Maree Stuart Have you heard that in New Zealand, they’re legislating for laws to ensure that bureaucrats use plain language? You’re probably thinking, that would be nice, but how does it relate to me? Have you read an ISO standard or NATA accreditation document recently???   Apart from those ISO and NATA documents, we see …read more »

Internal audits – who are you pleasing?

If you’ve been doing internal audits just to tick the ‘yes we did that’ accreditation or certification box, you’re doing your business a huge disservice. Of course, internal audits are necessary for compliance and conformance. But they can also drive real change and add value for your business. As well as determining if the lab …read more »

The Lab Manager Conversations part seven – Quality

We’ve been speaking to lab managers and leaders about their roles and their challenges. These conversations have been collated into a series of articles that will probably resonate not only with lab leaders, but those across other businesses as well. While their pathways may have been somewhat different, all our respondents have clocked up well …read more »

The Lab Manager Conversations part five – Learning

We’ve been speaking to lab managers and leaders about their roles and challenges. These conversations have been collated into a series of articles that will probably resonate not only with lab leaders, but those across other businesses as well. While their pathways may have been somewhat different, all our respondents have clocked up well over …read more »

The Lab Manager Conversations part four – Communication

We’ve been speaking to lab managers and leaders about their roles and challenges. These conversations have been collated into a series of articles that will probably resonate not only with lab leaders, but those across other businesses as well. While their pathways may have been somewhat different, all our respondents have clocked up well over …read more »

The Lab Manager Conversations part three – Development

We’ve been speaking to lab managers and leaders about their roles and challenges. These conversations have been collated into a series of articles that will probably resonate not only with lab leaders, but those across other businesses as well. While their pathways may have been somewhat different, all our respondents have clocked up well over …read more »

The Lab Manager Conversations part two – Leadership

We’ve been speaking to lab managers and leaders about their roles and challenges. These conversations have been collated into a series of articles that will probably resonate not only with lab leaders, but those across other businesses as well. While their pathways may have been somewhat different, all our respondents have clocked up well over …read more »

Navigating the 7 Cs of communication

Every day we need to communicate. And whether it’s grunts from teenagers or the long, winding conversations we have with old friends, we also need to interpret what’s being said. Effective communication in the workplace is critical. Management is often judged by the quality of communications with the rest of the organisation. Teams judge their …read more »

Does your lab face these 5 ISO/IEC 17025 challenges?

Even the best labs can find themselves floundering a bit when external audit or assessment time rolls around. As consultants and mentors, we’ve visited a LOT of client’s labs over the years. And although each lab faces different challenges, we’ve found that there are a few issues that regularly crop up that can lead to …read more »

Process improvements for productivity

written by Maree Stuart Since accredited or certified labs have solid systems in place, you could be forgiven for thinking there’s nothing much else that needs to be done. After all, your existing business processes are tried and true and mean that you can navigate those accreditation or certification visits relatively unscathed. But (there’s always a …read more »

New Financial Year resolutions for business success

A new financial year is approaching with alarming speed. Although it may not be a thrilling time for everyone, any end of year event comes with a certain amount of navel gazing. And 1 July is the perfect time to examine just what has and hasn’t worked in your business. For business owners, unless you’re …read more »

Are you drowning in documents?

Imagine having all the documents you deal with in a week piled on your desk. If you were to include print outs of your work and personal emails the pile would probably be too high to see over! Clearly, you’re not going to do this (no time, waste of trees) but thinking about that pile …read more »

Why do we celebrate World Accreditation Day?

Every week there’s a special day to celebrate or cause to acknowledge. These range from important causes such as Breast and Prostate Cancer Awareness to those a little more left of field like National Sea Monkey Day (it was 15 May if you’re wondering). These days are useful for raising the profile or drawing attention …read more »

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TRAINING IN THE LAB Part 2

In our last article we looked at why you need a training plan and what you should consider when developing one. This week, we’re looking at the best ways to deliver that knowledge. Training isn’t a one-off event. It’s a continuous process that requires monitoring and upgrading as your business environment changes. Professional development isn’t a …read more »

Marvin’s Guide to Quality – part 2

written by Maree Stuart Welcome back! In our last episode, we explored how to enhance Quality Management through automation and digitisation with a little help from Marvin the Paranoid Android. We discussed how digitisation and technology could help with managing people, documents, and QC. This week we’ll look at facilities, equipment and purchasing. Facilities management Facility …read more »

World Metrology Day

We enjoy any opportunity to celebrate significant dates on the scientific calendar, but World Metrology Day continues to be a favourite. Not only because we run a Measurement Uncertainty training course on this day. But also because metrology plays such a central role in scientific discovery and innovation. This year’s theme is Metrology in the …read more »

Marvin’s Guide to Quality – part one

written by Maree Stuart In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Marvin the Paranoid Android is a robot and has a ‘brain the size of a planet’, but he is seldom asked to use this capability. Instead, people ask him to perform simple tasks, like opening doors and picking up pieces of paper. Back in the …read more »

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TRAINING IN THE LAB

The ultimate guide to training in the lab – part one You know that having competent, well-trained staff ensures the stability and reputation of your business. A dedicated and skilled workforce allows for innovation and helps your business to stay ahead of the curve and to flourish. And that’s why you’ve put together a training …read more »

Protecting your lab from today’s bandits

written by Maree Stuart You might remember the famous case where David Bowie and Queen took Vanilla Ice (or Robert Van Winkle as he is legally known) to court for copyright infringement of their song ‘Under Pressure’. Van Winkle had quite clearly sampled the classic bassline to Under Pressure. However, he famously insisted that the two …read more »

5 proven tips for accreditation mastery

Those gurus that promise your lab will obtain accreditation (or re-accreditation) in seven days or less are like those recipes that tell you caramelised onions will only take five minutes. It just isn’t going to happen. We’ve certainly assisted clients to obtain accreditation quickly. This meant that with a lot of work, focus and effort, …read more »

From spreadsheets to solutions – implementing a new system

During March, we took part in the Future Labs Conference. As well as the excitement (and strangeness!) of being back in a face-to-face conference setting, we heard insights from speakers on how their labs are preparing for the future. One such speaker was Dr Shabnam Tarahi Tabrizi, Lab Manager at Nanosonics. She was instrumental in …read more »

An end to Measurement Uncertainty?

What if we told you that you’ll never have to do Measurement Uncertainty again? Would there be cheering? Balloons and streamers? Morris dancing in the halls? While we’d like to witness such unbridled joy (although perhaps not the Morris dancing…) unfortunately it’s not going to happen. And that’s because Measurement Uncertainty (MU) is a vital …read more »

Is Quality still the key to success?

If someone were to ask whether your business had a Quality focus, how would you answer? Would it be an enthusiastic, “Well of course! Quality is at the core of everything we do!” Or would it be more like, “Sure. We’ve got that document thingy we follow. We put it in a glass cabinet, so …read more »

Retiring? Re-selling? Read these tips first!

written by Maree Stuart It happens to everyone eventually. That’s right, the ‘R’ word … Retirement. If you’re lucky enough to be the owner of your lab the possibility of lazing somewhere unencumbered by the worries of cash flows, BAS, HR management and the like is a great dream. But if you’re looking to sell your …read more »

The critical role traceability plays in your lab

Whether you’re a NATA accredited lab in an assessment or going through a certification audit, it’s highly likely that there will be a discussion about metrological traceability. In fact, most labs will understand that there is a need to compare results over time or between different batches or laboratories. Metrological traceability enables tracking back to …read more »

YOUR LAB’S REPORT CARD – ARE YOU ‘FUTURE PROOF’?

written by Maree Stuart It’s a new school term and that means it won’t be long before students receive their next report card. If your lab were to receive a report card, how do you think you’d do? Hopefully it won’t look like this! When it comes to labs, you already know it’s important to stay …read more »

Risk appetite – how hungry are you?

written by Maree Stuart When we think of risk and risk management, we often first ponder how we get rid of it. Indeed, in the COVID-19 Pandemic, many Australians, and governments, have shown themselves to be a very risk-averse lot! In contrast, some have shown themselves to be really tolerant of health risks in comparison with …read more »

Do you REALLY know what’s happening in your lab?

As a lab manager or owner, you have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your laboratory. You have your eye on the big picture and introduce improvements to enable your staff to do their jobs and do them well. But what about those nitty-gritty, everyday issues that arise? Would your staff come …read more »

Getting a handle on ISO/IEC 17025

Remember back in 2017 when the latest version of ISO/IEC 17025 was released? You might remember a feeling of anxiety about the changes and how they should be implemented. This was particularly the case for NATA accredited labs whose first assessment visits after the standard was implemented were sometimes nerve wracking! Four years down the track, …read more »

ISO/IEC 17025 – where does your lab get stuck?

While no longer the ‘new’ version of the Standard, when the 2017 version of ISO/IEC 17025 was released there was quite a bit of anxiety about the changes and how they should be implemented. This was particularly the case for NATA accredited labs whose first assessment visits after the standard was implemented were sometimes nerve …read more »

NATA accreditation – do you really need it? 

We all know that lab owners and managers have plenty to do and lots to think about. Juggling the daily needs of the business can be enough to fill your day. Setting aside time to make long term plans feels like a luxury you can’t afford. So perhaps you’ve been thinking that if you didn’t …read more »

5 steps to risk management success

No doubt you’ve read through the ISO/IEC 17025 standards plenty of times and you’ve seen an increased emphasis on risk-based thinking. We’ve written articles previously about risk management and discussed how the requirements need you to look at risks in a more formalised and strategic way. Since it’s not prescribed HOW this should happen, some …read more »

There’s a fraction too much friction

Ever since caveman days we’ve relied on others to ensure positive outcomes. Heading out on your own to grab a mammoth because you felt like a steak would have ended in a swift and probably painful death. Being on Zoom or Teams meetings means we’ve forgotten all our colleagues’ little quirks. As we’re slowly emerging …read more »

Getting to the root of the problem

It’s Friday morning and as you walk out of your front door, you look up and think what a beautiful day it is. The overnight rain has left the air crisp and fresh. Stepping out onto the path, your foot slips on wet leaves and you feel yourself falling. You put your hand out to …read more »

Management reviews – are you doing them properly?

Once you’ve completed your assessment visit, you may feel like you can take a deep breath and rest on your laurels for a while. And this is absolutely true. You certainly can do this. For at least a couple of hours. Because once you’ve waved goodbye to your NATA assessment team and closed the door, …read more »

Is your NATA accreditation in danger?

We’ve written previously about your quality system. We’ve addressed training and internal auditing and how to be sure your QMS is up to scratch. But we also know that sometimes things can start to go wrong in a lab. And these are things that could lead to a lot of issues in your next assessment …read more »

Making your internal audits meaningful not mediocre

Evidence of auditing has been discovered dating from the fourth millennium BC. Scribes in Mesopotamia kept records on clay tablets, some of which showed tiny marks beside the figures. These dots, ticks and circles indicate that checking of the records had been done. While we still use tablets today, generally they’re the electronic kind (if …read more »

Show me the records!

At MAS, we’ve been part of and carried out hundreds of NATA assessments. It doesn’t take long before you start to see a pattern. You begin to see the same issues emerging and learn just where a lab is going to come unstuck. Labs know that preparing for their assessment is critical. But labs are …read more »

Does your lab have a disaster plan?

You may have excellent systems in place. You and your staff work as safely as possible. But despite your precautions, there’s always a possibility that something may go horribly wrong. That’s why having a disaster plan in place is so important. While it may not be a specific requirement of ISO standards it will add …read more »

The Star Wars guide to good practice in a lab

There so much ‘stuff’ that goes on in a lab. People are busy, they’ve got important jobs to do. And all these questions and requirements about compliance and needing information and good practice! Honestly, what’s the point? That’s why you need information from someone who has presence. Someone with authority and The Force to back …read more »

Temperature Controls achieves NATA accreditation!

It took just over two years, but on 10 August 2021, Temperature oControls were thrilled to finally be granted NATA accreditation! Considering the restrictions placed on businesses during The Time of Covid, this achievement is even more noteworthy. The beginnings Temperature oControls began in 1988, originally focussing on producing temperature and level sensors for industrial …read more »

5 TOP TIPS for presenting Measurement Uncertainty

Eccentric business owners. Cantankerous managers. Agitated lab staff. Confused clients. As consultants, we’ve seen it all (well most of it anyway…). However, by far the most consistent issue we’ve come across is confusion about measurement uncertainty (MU). Often, a business will approach us after an accreditation body (AB) such as NATA has rejected their MU …read more »

Impartiality: passing the Pub Test

written by Maree Stuart If you’ve been keeping up with the news, you’ll have noticed quite a stir about the Federal Government’s program for funding of commuter carparks. Under the Urban Congestion Fund (UCF), established in the 2018–19 Budget, the Commonwealth sought to ‘support projects to remediate pinch points, improve traffic safety and increase network efficiency …read more »

How to keep NATA happy

We know you’re busy. For business owners or managers, there’s always plenty of juggling to be done. And with Covid restrictions thrown into the mix, you’d be forgiven for thinking that keeping an Accreditation Body happy is the last thing on your mind! However, we also know that keeping your business processes and procedures up …read more »

Preparing for your assessment

You’ve received the notification. Your assessment is coming up in two weeks and the team will be arriving at 8:30am on the day. Deep cleansing breaths. With a bit of preparation, assessment day may not be a breeze, but you’ll definitely feel in control. Being prepared shows your assessment team that your organisation is professional …read more »

NEW (FINANCIAL) YEAR RESOLUTIONS

Happy New Year!! While a new financial year probably won’t see you popping champagne and singing Auld Lang Syne (unless you moonlight as an Accountant) it’s still an important time of year. For those very organised folks who regularly scan and file their receipts and make notes about expenses, end of financial year tax returns …read more »

How to ask good questions

Many of us can spend large chunks of our day seeking information. Whether it’s an update from a team member, negotiations with a contractor or trying to get more than an ‘ugh’ from a teenager, we usually do this by asking questions. Asking questions fuels learning, improves interpersonal bonding and rapport plus it makes us …read more »

Training bundles provide best business value

Good things come in big bundles Suddenly it’s June and apart from the fact we’ve pulled out our track pants and beanies, the scramble has also started to check budgets before the end of the financial year. And because it can sometimes be a case of ‘use it or lose it’, businesses may be looking …read more »

Root cause analysis means digging deeper

We’ve written previously about root cause analysis and just how important it is for your quality system. Root cause analysis (RCA) is about problem solving – sort of like CSI for your quality system. As you get better at performing RCA, your process will be less reactive and more proactive, leading to improvements in your …read more »