management systems

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

It’s no longer the ‘new’ version of the Standard. But 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 …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 »

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 »

Let’s talk about NATA accreditation

Our guidance document Navigating the NATA accreditation maze was written to provide an overview of the NATA accreditation process. However, we thought that a little more detail would be helpful if you’re looking to start down this path. And for those labs already holding NATA accreditation, there’s some hints for you as well. Know your …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 »

Are you listening??

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” So said Stephen Covey, author of ‘The 7 habits of highly effective people’. We’ve all been guilty of this. In our recent article we discussed asking the right questions. But the best questions in the world won’t matter …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 »

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 »

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 »

World first accreditation for Vecta!

It took a river of coffee, reams of paper and four years of hard work but in March 2021, Vecta Pty Ltd were delighted to finally be granted accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025! The accredited electrical test methods are in Passive RF and Microwave Devices; intermodulation level measurement (PIM); Return Loss (uniformity of impedance) and Insertion …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 »

The road to high performance in sustainability

We believe in seeking out information and 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. So we’re reaching out to our network of experts and asking for their perspectives …read more »

How did THAT happen??

There are some things you never want to hear. Words like “uh oh” from your hairdresser when they’re standing behind you during a haircut. Or “I’ve never seen THAT before” when your doctor is looking at an x-ray. Or perhaps a guilty-looking family member asking, “How much did you like that (extremely valuable fragile item) …read more »

ARE YOU BEING SERVED?

For those of a certain demographic, this title will conjure up a British television sitcom based in Grace Brothers Department Store. But perhaps you heard those words just today, when you went into a clothing store or supermarket. In last week’s article, we examined the theories of three quality thinkers – Deming, Juran and Crosby. …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 »

Document control 101

In our previous article we looked at documents and in particular, what makes good ones. Good documentation forms the essential guidelines for operations in your lab. But your documentation system isn’t just a ‘set and forget’. Documents require reviewing, updating and managing to ensure they’re accurate, up-to-date, and available. And that’s where a document control …read more »

The write stuff – documentation in your lab

No matter what your area of expertise, all scientists and engineers know the importance of documentation. Lab documents allow you to review your activities. They help you to train your staff. Excellent documentation provides proof of accurate, reliable testing not just to clients but also to external accreditation or audit bodies. In fact, the management …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 »

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 »

What’s a quality management system and do you need it?

According to the American Society for Quality website a quality management system (QMS) is defined as: ‘…a formalized system that documents processes, procedures, and responsibilities for achieving quality policies and objectives. A QMS helps coordinate and direct an organization’s activities to meet customer and regulatory requirements and improve its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous …read more »

Happy World Metrology Day!

Not even a pandemic can keep me from writing about World Metrology Day! The theme for 2020 is Measurements for Global Trade. There are multiple global trade agreements that underpin good measurement.  Measurements are critical in ensuring products are fit for purpose. And this includes protecting healthcare workers and the general population from the ‘invisible …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 »

Design your Lab to be Future-Ready!

In my work, I come across lots of laboratories wanting to improve the design and 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 – …read more »

The truth is out there

Our social media feeds are filling up with the doom and gloom of celebrities and musicians we lost in 2016. The world has also experienced some tumultuous events through the likes of Brexit, Trump and the long-running war in Syria. But it’s been a great year for science, with some important discoveries and insights into …read more »