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Calibration/Reference stickers

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by William Floyd, Aug 18, 2021.

  1. William Floyd

    William Floyd New Member

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    Good morning, everyone. I am currently working on a company's QMS and preparing us to go for our ISO Certification. I came across something that I've never encountered before as an auditor, and I'm not sure how I feel about it or if it's acceptable.

    In the QMS, as written so far, it's written that any measuring device that doesn't have a calibration sticker on it is to be considered reference. In any other facility, those tools that were out of calibration or not calibrated for whatever reason always had a "reference only" sticker on it.

    My question is is this a valid/acceptable procedure? Thoughts?

    Frankly, I think it's clever. But also kind of lazy. But hey, if I can get it past an auditor....I suppose.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Hello William:

    The whole use of "reference" is a cop-out. Some (incompetent) auditors may accept it, but it's not control. Worse, it's confusing for operators etc. as well as messes with cost controls for calibration/asset management. Find and use a better way. Let us know if you need help with that.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2021
  3. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    I echo what @Andy Nichols stated @William Floyd
    Two additional considerations.
    1- Years ago I coined the term "wrong or gone" to help my teams consider if something needed "controlled". In context of your post, if any of the gages in question become "wrong or gone" can it lead to a nonconformance? I'm guessing so. For that reason I council to control them properly.
    2- The statement "...if I can get it past an auditor...". concerns me. I would council to never (EVER) do anything for the sake of the auditor.
    a) Leadership will see (rightly so) no direct benefit of the QMS and will properly be resistant to it and any cost/resources aimed at it.
    b) Associates will see right through any "horse and pony" show, and (rightly so) quickly become jaded and have no faith in the QMS.

    My council is to establish all parts of the QMS in the selfish best interest of the organization. Leadership should be able to see and quantify (by the way, leadership has ultimate responsibility), benefits of the QMS. Simply ensure that as the QMS is established to benefit the organization, that it does so in a manner that also meets the requirements of the standard.

    Hope this helps.
    Be well.
     
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  4. William Floyd

    William Floyd New Member

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    Thank you both for your responses. Both of your responses are along the lines of thinking I had myself.

    For some context, I'm fresh into my tenure with this company which is a small, fly by the seat of your pants sort of shop. The owner brought me in in order to prepare for a level of requirements which most have never experienced before. The general attitude of my Peers and Supervisor is more along the lines of bare minimum to achieve certification. Even the 3rd party they worked with to prepare the QMS manual and framework that I walked into seems to have operated under that type of thinking.

    Thanks for giving me some more attack vectors to approach this from.
     
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  5. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Good to know we're aligned, William.

    This type of thing is rife, to be honest. Some folks do it believing that it's what implementing ISO is all about, others are more cynical, taking money from unknowing clients and justifying the approach because hapless auditors turn a blind eye.
     
  6. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    I am generally suspicious of "For reference only" labels, and want to know what these instruments are being used for. In a place where such instruments exist, I expect to be able to verify that a calibrated instrument was used to perform a measurement on a characteristic (identify it on the records) that contributes to product or service quality. That is what the ISO standard is supposed to be about.

    3rd parties are not alike. Some are famous for a superficial approach to QMS development and certification. Some are accredited by "independent" accrediting bodies not recognized by IAF. Even the better ones tend to support not overthinking a QMS because too much complexity discourages people from maintaining it. The 2015 version of ISO 9001 enabled less complexity with many of the old shalls removed. Still, the basics need to remain the focus (customer satisfaction) and certification is a result; it should not be a goal unto itself.
     
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