Central Access to Quality Management System Manual

Jim MurphyJim Murphy, CEO, STRATA, Inc. and Bob Tuttle, CEO of Agile Frameworks presented at the GBA 2019 Fall Conference. This post is an excerpt from Jim Murphy’s portion of the session titled “Delivering Real-Time Results—The Future of Laboratory Operations.”

When STRATA implemented the MetaField software platform, Murphy knew that there were other areas of their business where they could leverage the technology to help streamline company operations—beyond field data collection and laboratory testing. In a previous blog, Murphy described how STRATA uses MetaField for their radioactive materials program. In this post he outlines how they use it for their Quality Management System manual.


Single Document with Digital Access

We put our entire Quality Management System manual in MetaField. Why? We had multiple versions of the Quality Management System manual across all of our offices. Now we have one version with several appendices that have unique elements that we can easily change out. These elements include organizational charts and field and lab position descriptions for each office.

We did this so that when an auditor shows up to an office, they can easily access and read the Quality Management System manual. With AMRL (AASHTO Materials Reference Library) auditors charging $1,200 per half-day on site, we didn’t want them to spend that time on site reading the manual. We asked them if we could submit the manual digitally to AMRL for review prior to the audit and they agreed.

It’s a great option to be able to submit the Quality Management System manual to AMRL or CCRL in advance. They can read the whole manual and they typically approve it. Then when the auditors show up on site all they have to look at are just the unique elements–for example, the organizational charts–that are specific to that location.

Ability to Store and Track NCRs

As part of our quality management system, the NCR (non-conformance report) is a critical piece. NCRs aren’t any good if you don’t archive them. The auditors look at whether you are tracking non-conformances and what you are doing to improve on them. This is important so that your firm has the ability to track and understand the non-conformances. You also want to convey the improvements to all of your offices, so you don’t have the same problem in another location.

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MetaField also can track non-conformances by project and enable you to track those defects through resolution. When you find an item that is not in line with project plans and specifications, you can quickly document it in the system. You can add photos if desired and appended to a list of discrepancies. You also can report on and act on this list in the future to ensure all items are addressed before project close out. In addition, your scheduler can be notified of the non-conforming item and easily schedule follow-up work.

Read the posts in our series that outline how you can use MetaField for safety programs, radioactive materials programs, and lab accreditation.

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