Calibration System was In-House now Outside (External Service Provider)

S

StanH - 2009

#1
Our company used to have an in-house calibration lab and tech. The lab and tech have since left the company and basically started their own company. They have been continuing doing our calibrations but our procedure has been structured around an in-house tech that goes around and gets equipment and updates our databases as he goes. I am wondering how to redo our procedure to say most, it not all calibrations will now be done by an independant lab. They do not have access to work instructions they used to use since they are no longer with the company but have "unoffical" docs they work from.

The other small thing I am concerned about is they have yet to receive the 17025 cert and "hope to have it by summer". I dont want to be caught with my pants down since I am in process of being moved into ISO Administrator. Just trying to find short and sweet "the tech does calibrations next door now instead of upstairs."
 
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Phil Fields

#2
Re: Calibration system was In-house now outside

How have you qualified and added this company/person to the Approved Supplier Llist?
 
S

StanH - 2009

#3
Re: Calibration system was In-house now outside

I doubt it. They basically left company and were just told "keep doing what you were doing just not here." I was not involved with any talks being I am not that high on totem pole but if I am going to be responsible for the ISO docs I want to know things like this from now on.
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
#4
Well, I would say it depends. Are you in an industry/ regulatory situation that requires 17025? If yes, you cannot use them until they get it.

I think Phil brought up my thought process. This new organization needs to be qualified to perform your calibration work. Now, in one instance, I don't think you'll have an issue in verifying their competence in doing your work. However, they are on their own, and there are several business decisions that go along with it. For example, what shape are their standards, do they have an adequate recall schedule, document control, etc.

I realize you probably know these folks, and they are 'great people'. However, they own their own business now, and don't have the allegiance to your organization they did before. You need to assure they will take care of business, and provide competent calibration for you. In addition, make sure it is documented very clearly they are contractors. I might even require them to provide liability insurance.

Also, whatever requirements you have of them (17025, etc.) you better put in writing, and have a deadline. If you are going to do that, you should have another vendor lined up in case they don't pan out.

As far as your procedures, if you put a specific reference to who was going to do the work in each one of them, eventually you will need to revise them. If it was me, I would put something a little more flexible in there for future business needs!;)
 
S

StanH - 2009

#5
I think the catch 22 I see coming is that I can't change the procedure to say we aren't doing calibrations in house because these people don't want to be held liable because they aren't certified yet, which they want so they can expand their new buisness. My company has alot of FCC regs to follow and I am thinking I need to rewrite the procedure to be more flexible as to who does our calibrations. I do agree that this company needs to be added to an approved vendor list because if we fall into non-compliance they will say they have nothing to do with it since they don't work for our company. If we are hacing pizza day they always seem to still think they work here though. :cool:
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
#6
I think the catch 22 I see coming is that I can't change the procedure to say we aren't doing calibrations in house because these people don't want to be held liable because they aren't certified yet, which they want so they can expand their new buisness. My company has alot of FCC regs to follow and I am thinking I need to rewrite the procedure to be more flexible as to who does our calibrations. I do agree that this company needs to be added to an approved vendor list because if we fall into non-compliance they will say they have nothing to do with it since they don't work for our company.
OK... be careful, Stan. I'm a little concerned for your situation. Now, I'm not talking about quality here (that's another situation). It needs to be very, very clear they are not employees. Not only liability issues, but if it is not clear enough (1099 is a must) and they don't pay their self-employment taxes, you could end up in a situation on that. Just make sure it's very clear. Make sure these contractors understand their responsibility in their new endeavor.

Why not revise your procedures to state that something like:
calibrations shall be performed against internal procedure XXXX by competent calibration personnel. Alternatively, calibrations can be performed by a qualified calibration source...
or something to that effect. Whose procedures are they performing work against?

If we are having pizza day they always seem to still think they work here though. :cool:
Hey... they need to be bringing you pizza, not the other way around!:tg:
 
S

StanH - 2009

#7
Thanks for the advice. I don't know all the details but the people are not employees of my company anymore but are being handled as an outside vendor. The work instructions they are using are ours but they wrote them so I think someone said it was ok for them to use "un-offical docs" for testing purposes. It can be a whole can of worms the more I delve into it thats why I am trying to get a plan of attack if it blows up. Your suggestion for wording is what I was thinking to remove "in-house tech" to "an approved outside lab" and such. Thanks for the help. This is the biggest step I have had in my career and if I end up as THE man for ISO for the company I want to show them I am worthy.
 
K

Ken K

#8
I'm curious if your cal lab was accredited when it was in-house?


The other small thing I am concerned about is they have yet to receive the 17025 cert and "hope to have it by summer". I dont want to be caught with my pants down since I am in process of being moved into ISO Administrator. Just trying to find short and sweet "the tech does calibrations next door now instead of upstairs."
Personally, I like your shorts:cool: I think after reading your posts your way past the point of being caught with your pants down. Seems like some deep doo-doo to me.
 
S

StanH - 2009

#10
No we were not "an accredited 17025" lab. The in-house calibration was moved in-house by new owner to cut costs from outside labs. The 1st ISO audit we had after it was transitioned we had a major non-conformance due to un-traceability of test equipment and no gold standards. Our tech was basically using a meter to test a scope then the scope to test the meter so we had no standards. That was corrected and policies and procdures put in place and 9 months later we passed ISO with flying colors now 2 years after getting everything in line and under control everything is headding back out the door for calibration. Long long story on they who's and why's but I don't want to get into company business here but I have been slowing over time been put in charge of the calibration system for the company, kind of like putting a frog in a pot of water and slowly heating up the water till it is boiling and before he knows it you got frog soup.
 
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