Accreditation

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 »

Changing your mind about risk management

“Opportunity and risk come in pairs” Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom Risk isn’t a chore to wade through a few times a year. As the quote above says, it can be something positive and goes hand-in-hand with opportunities. Many different companies share similar risks, like a poor economic outlook over the short-term (well, …read more »

Shhh it’s a secret – confidentiality in the lab

We’ve all heard the expression knowledge is power. In the hands of cybercriminals, knowledge is also big business. In a lab setting, it’s understood that keeping information safe and secure is in the best interests of clients and your business. If you hold accreditation or certification, it’s also a requirement of the standard. ISO standards …read more »

Quality: A balancing act

We believe in seeking out and sharing ideas that will support your business to be better and smarter. Different perspectives on quality and business practices may provoke conversations in your workplace that lead to new and better ways of doing things. We reached out to our network of experts and asked for their perspectives on …read more »

Supercharge your systems!

Many organisations have a quality (or environment, or safety) management system. If you’re in one of these organisations, then I bet you’ve sometimes felt like the ‘system’ rules your life, rather than you ruling the system. How did it get to be this way? More importantly, how can you change this? It probably got to …read more »

5 powerful ways a consultant can help your business

How many times have you heard the expression ‘two heads are better than one’? Or heard someone bemoan the fact that they could do with an extra pair of hands. By using a business consultant, you can add an extra brain and another pair of hands without getting bogged down in the process of a …read more »

Solving your communication breakdown

Quality communication: A recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald highlighted the plight of the critically endangered regent honeyeater. It seems that the male birds are either forgetting their birdsong, singing an abbreviated version, or beginning to mimic the songs of other birds. Since the females don’t recognise these songs they’re not matching with males. …read more »

A trio of quality thinkers

Anyone who has ever been involved in quality or project management would have heard the names Deming, Juran and Crosby. Their contributions have had long lasting ramifications and made us all think differently about what quality is, what it means and how to achieve it. We’ll be running a series of articles all about quality …read more »

Manual adjustments

Ah, the start of a new year. Our resolutions are still fresh and crispy (like the salads we’ve committed to eat more of this year…). We have new calendars and wall planners, just waiting for the imprints of our fabulous new year. But before you leap into the year ahead, there’s a couple of things …read more »

The 5 whys of ISO/IEC 17025

As any accredited lab will know, understanding ISO/IEC 17025 is a critical part of how your lab operates. From developing your quality manual to sending out reports to your customers, the process is clearly defined, simple to follow and easy to implement. Right? Well…judging by the number of ‘help with ISO/IEC 17025 courses’ available, maybe …read more »

Things we’ve learned in 2020

Every year we see examples of the best and the worst of humans. There are always protests, political unrest, wildfires, and catastrophes on a global scale. But in 2020, this was multiplied by COVID.   We were thrown together in our fear. We were kept apart in grief. And the world as we knew it, …read more »

Testing times for athletes

During the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Brenton Rickard was part of Australia’s 4 x 100m medley swim team. The team won a bronze medal in the event. Eight years down the track, the sample he provided on 1 August 2012 was re-tested. It returned a positive result for furosemide. Furosemide is a diuretic commonly …read more »

50 Shades of….Measurement Uncertainty

Measurement Uncertainty. OK, we understand that this isn’t the sexiest of topics. In fact, it probably isn’t something that makes it through your front door, let alone into the bedroom! However, if you’re running a lab, Measurement Uncertainty (MU) is something you should know about in all its shades of grey. Let’s take a look …read more »

How do you build a framework for business success?

No business has ever regretted implementing standards for improvement. A quality management system is put in place because you want to deliver on the expectations of your customers. Get this right, deliver your goods or services according to expectations while remaining compliant with regulations, and you have a recipe for business success. A quality management …read more »

Resistance is futile: how to ace your internal audit

We all know the feeling when an external assessment is coming up. The scurrying search for documents, the interminable hours of scanning, the crossing of eyes and slurping of teas… But what about internal audits? Your colleagues do these. They’re all on your side so you’re bound to get a free pass on some of …read more »

Risky Business – risk management for labs

We know that businesses often walk a tightrope between what must be done and what’s possible with the tools and resources they have available. This includes implementing risk management processes. Labs face a particular set of challenges with compliance and maintaining accreditation while still remaining competitive and viable. We’ve put together this list of hints …read more »

November is NATA’s cutoff for ISO/IEC 17025:2017 transition – are you ready?

November 2020 marks NATA’s cutoff for transition to ISO/IEC 17025:2017. While the majority of labs have made alterations to their processes, it seems timely to re-visit what changed in this version. Many organisations  base their business decisions on information and results provided by laboratories. It is critical that the sampling, testing and calibration activities carried out …read more »

Putting together the Measurement Uncertainty puzzle

We hear it from laboratories all the time (quite often accompanied by an eye-roll or a groan!). Measurement Uncertainty (MU) is something that laboratories do because they have to. Because ISO 17025 and ISO 15189 say so. And, of course, because NATA says so. Every measurement is subject to some uncertainty. That’s why the MU process …read more »

Are you using this simple risk management tool?

Risk management. It’s a hot topic right now. There are 1.3 billion (that’s 1,330,000,000) entries on risk management that appear in a simple Google search. Risk can be anywhere, from the minute we wake up in the morning until our eyes close at night. We inhabit a world full of risk and uncertainty and have …read more »

5 Top Tips – how to prepare for remote assessments

The move to carrying out lab assessments remotely has been sudden, with little time for transition. However, considering the cost and time savings, carrying out assessments this way could become the new normal. Maree Stuart, Principal of MAS Management Systems, recently went through this process with one of our clients and shares her experiences. “With …read more »

Staying Alive through the Corona crisis

Will your laboratory business be staying alive during the Coronavirus crisis? The news is full of doom and gloom and there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future. People are clearly wanting control and going into survival mode, as the ‘toilet paper wars’ visibly demonstrate. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail and …read more »

Are Calibrations Worth the Money?

Breaking news! The Guardian says “The only uncertainty is how long we’ll last”. Clearly they have not heard about the MAS MU for Testing Labs workshop. Register now as places are filling fast!    

Your Guide to Reading Standards and Finding Loop Holes

The laboratory shall, if relevant, to the extent necessary, maintain records of competence to read standards. Understood? Deciphering these kinds of phrases in standards is not easy. Learning to read and understand them is like learning a new language. But once you get the hang of it, a whole new world of interpretation opens up. …read more »

Corrective action under the microscope

Are your laboratory’s problems prone to re-surface over and over again? Are you spending most of your valuable time and resources tackling a recurring problem in preparation for an audit? You may be convinced that your answers are ‘THE’ solutions to the problems identified in your lab. But perhaps it’s time you took a closer …read more »

What to expect when you’re expecting….a NATA audit

So you’re facing a NATA audit and it’s being done to the new 17025. You’ve probably read various bits and pieces online that have given you an idea about the significant changes. An ISO 9001-friendly structure, new emphasis on impartiality, confidentiality and customer complaints, decision rules, and a lot of stuff about risk management. A …read more »

ISO 17025:2017 transitions made easy

  ISO 17025:2017. You can see it looming ahead of you. You vaguely know that there’s some change you have to grapple with. Or you might have already been through an assessment to the new standard. The question is, how do you conquer the NATA ISO 17025:2017 beast? You know, the Titanic hit the iceberg not …read more »

Designing your Lab to be Future-Ready!

  In my work, I come across lots of laboratories wanting to improve the space in which they work. Let’s face it, improvement is not just about documents! Where do you go to get some professional advice on this important improvement project? ‘Laboratory Architect’ is a very niche profession. It makes sense though – there …read more »

3 more ways to make your management system work for you

In my last article, I talked about how you can take steps to simplify your management system. But as a true systems expert, I like to deal with the root cause of a complex problem. The other cause of the creation of a management system is a failure to critically analyse feedback from auditors and …read more »

3 easy steps – make your management system work for you

Many organisations have a quality (or environment, or safety) management system. If you’re in one of these organisations, then I bet you’ve sometimes felt like the system rules your life, rather than you ruling the system. How did it get to be this way? More importantly, how can you change it? It probably got to …read more »

Time to take a close look at ISO 17025

  The progress with updating ISO 17025 has taken a big step forward with the release of a draft for comment. NATA has made the draft document available for comment. The proposed revisions incorporate the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. This takes a risk management approach to management systems. It also calls for a review and analysis …read more »

How to make NATA happy about your calibrations

The NATA equipment tables might be on their way out! Who will tell me how often to check my gizmo? You’ve been minding your own business and just doing as NATA says to do for equipment calibrations for years.  Now they tell you that you might have to work out your own calibration frequencies and ‘prove’ that they are suitable. To …read more »