ISO 17025: Practical Benefits of Implementing a Quality System

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Abstract:

As a laboratory certified to ISO 9001:2000 and accredited to ISO 17025, rtech laboratories has incorporated an overall system for technical and quality management, which results in benefits observed in daily laboratory practices. Technical requirements were updated to include the addition of formal personnel training plans and detailed records, method development and validation procedures, measurement of method uncertainty, and a defined equipment calibration and maintenance program. In addition, a stronger definition of the sample preparation process was documented to maintain consistency in sampling, and a more rigorous quality control monitoring program was implemented for chemistry and microbiology. Management quality improvements focused on document control to maintain consistent analytical processes, improved monitoring of supplier performance, a contract review process for documenting customer requirements, and a system for handling customer comments and complaints, with continuous improvement through corrective and preventive action procedures and audits. Quarterly management review of corrective actions, nonconforming testing, and proficiency testing aid in determining long-term trending. The practical benefits of these technical and management quality improvements are seen on a daily basis in the laboratory. Faster identification and resolution of issues regarding methods, personnel or equipment, improved customer satisfaction, meeting quality requirements of specialized customers, and overall increased laboratory business are all the result of implementing an effective quality system.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: rtech laboratories, PO Box 64101, St. Paul, MN 55164-0101

Publication date: September 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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