Title

The process for implementation of a quality assurance management system in a multi-functional laboratory

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Ferguson, RA, Henry, RJ & Inkerman, PA 2006, 'The process for implementation of a quality assurance management system in a multi-functional laboratory', Quality Assurance Journal, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 262-269.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/qaj.392

Abstract

The intent of this study was to design, document and implement a Quality Management System (QMS) into a laboratory that incorporated both research and development (R&D) and routine analytical activities. In addition, it was necessary for the QMS to be easily and efficiently maintained to: (a) provide documented evidence that would validate the system's compliance with a certifiable standard, (b) fit the purpose of the laboratory, (c) accommodate prevailing government policies and standards, and (d) promote positive outcomes for the laboratory through documentation and verification of the procedures and methodologies implemented. Initially, a matrix was developed that documented the standards' requirements and the necessary steps to be made to meet those requirements. The matrix provided a check mechanism on the progression of the system's development. In addition, it was later utilised in the Quality Manual as a reference tool for the location of full procedures documented elsewhere in the system. The necessary documentation to build and monitor the system consisted of a series of manuals along with forms that provided auditable evidence of the workings of the QMS. Quality Management (QM), in one form or another, has been in existence since the early 1900's. However, the question still remains: is it a good thing or just a bugbear? Many of the older style systems failed because they were designed by non-users, fiercely regulatory, restrictive and generally deemed to be an imposition. It is now considered important to foster a sense of ownership of the system by the people who use the system. The system's design must be tailored to best fit the purpose of the operations of the facility if maximum benefits to the organisation are to be gained