How do I control all the records we have? What do I put on a matrix?

M

millerwl71

#1
Hi,

I somehow was just thrown into the position ISO Coordinator. I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to come up with a way to control records. I am making a matrix and wondering how much I need to show.

Like under inspection and test. Can I just put inspection and test, where the docs are, who is in charge and the retention time? On the other hand, do I have to put Calibration Records, Final Inspections, Supplier Material Certs, each separately?

And with maintenance records, like work orders, preventive maintenance, ect. Can I just put maintenance records? Are maintenance records even relevant?

What records are or are not relevant? Are they all, or do we decide?

I am going crazy! I think I might be thinking too much.

It is a small business, pretty much production of small parts. We also have a plant in Mexico. Losing lot's of money. So I guess I need to make it as simple as I can. We are controlling everything up here, they just have read and print access.

I could use all the help I can.

Thanks
 
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GStough

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
Re: Thrown in position and going crazy!

Welcome to the Cove! :bigwave:

Your profile doesn't indicate which industry or ISO standard your company is registered to, but if you do a search of the threads in the forums relevant to your industry (a list of forums is found at the bottom of this page), you'll find several discussion threads on document control and control of records, retention times, etc.

After reading the threads relevant to your situation, you may also find useful templates in the Post Attachments List (green bar at the top of this page) which can give you a jump start in the right direction.

Hope this helps. And as always, if you can't find what you're looking for, you can post specific questions here and I'm sure that any Covers who can will be happy to help. :)
 
B

Benjamin28

#3
Any document which makes up part of your quality system or effects the quality of your products/services should fall under your document control.

The quality system you are working towards, whether ISO 9001 or others should give you the base requirements, then you'll have your client requirements, and your internal requirements. This is how you decide your retention times, which documents are quality records, documents, etc...

My suggestion is to slow down....and approach this in portions.

First define what quality documents you utilize, certainly there must be some basic system which already exists, start there, and then add other documents which fall under the control system...from there you can define retention times, periodic reviews, revision criteria, etc...

As suggested there is a great deal of information on this site pertaining to document control, so take advantage of that as well. ;)
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#4
Welcome Miller! :bigwave:

Yes, please slow down and take this one step at a time.

I like matrices because they can organize and show so much information in one place.

I recommend you start by simply listing your records, in no particular order, on a spreadsheet in Column B. Yes, maintenance records might also be important. The defining question is "Does this record show something that happened that could affect product/service quality?" Arguably not all records will do so. Consult the Standard for which records are required and work from there. But for now, list them all anyway so as to get them out of your head.

Then you can move the names of records around on the spreadsheet into groups. Each of these groups, like maintenance records, might get an overall title like "Equipment maintenance" in its own row at the top of the group.

Next you can assemble into subgroups. Ask the question "Does this type of record show something that happened that could affect product/service quality?" and enter the answer (In what way it shows the whatever-it-is) Column C to the right of each title.

Now that you have some beginnings of organization you can decide which records need to be controlled. Depending on how long you think you should keep the record, assign a code like A, B or C beside each title in Column D and explain the code below this entire list. A, keep for life of the ___; B, keep for life of product plus 7 years, C, keep for 5 years, whatever.

At this point you can start to purge your list of records that do not need to be controlled. I suggest you move them to a new spreadsheet.

In Column E for each remaining title, state what form the record will be maintained in. Scanned as a .PDF, paper in a file drawer. The means for disposal would reflect the medium it's stored as; shredding, shattering backup disks, etc.

In Column F, state where the record would be kept.

In Column A, you can now assign some numbers if you think you need to.

I hope this helps!
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#7
Hi,

I somehow was just thrown into the position ISO Coordinator. I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to come up with a way to control records. I am making a matrix and wondering how much I need to show.

Like under inspection and test. Can I just put inspection and test, where the docs are, who is in charge and the retention time? On the other hand, do I have to put Calibration Records, Final Inspections, Supplier Material Certs, each separately?

And with maintenance records, like work orders, preventive maintenance, ect. Can I just put maintenance records? Are maintenance records even relevant?

What records are or are not relevant? Are they all, or do we decide?

I am going crazy! I think I might be thinking too much.

It is a small business, pretty much production of small parts. We also have a plant in Mexico. Losing lot's of money. So I guess I need to make it as simple as I can. We are controlling everything up here, they just have read and print access.

I could use all the help I can.

Thanks
There is no need to control records in the same sense that process documentation such as procedures, work instructions, and specifications are controlled. That is to say, you don't need a matrix, and you don't need change control, because records shouldn't change, except under unusual circumstances.

All you need is to define the required records and how long they need to be kept. In order to keep track of them, set up a filing system, whether it be traditional filing cabinets or digital files or some combination of the two, and train people on how and when records are to be kept, and the importance of maintaining their historical value (by not changing them, by making sure that proper approvals have been recorded, etc.)

You will probably want to control forms, which are the medium for capturing the data, but those can be controlled in the same system you use for controlling other documentation that's subject to periodic change.

The confusion about controlling records stems from the fact that some level of control is necessary, but it's not the same type of control invoked for other types of documentation.
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#8
You matrix looks good to me, also. Although a matrix is not required by the standard, it is an easy way to organize the information you need to know and keep track of. Just keep plugging away, do everything a piece at a time. Lots of us oldtimer's in management rep positions started just like you. By falling into the job. It can be very rewarding, or very frustrating, and sometimes both. Keep visiting, you'll find lots of information.
 
M

millerwl71

#9
Hey thanks for all the help so far!

I have another question. I noticed I didn't put a dispostion line on my matrix. Do I need that and if I do, can I just put "At the end of records retention time the documents may be destroyed at the discretion of the person in charge of it", or do I have to put it into my matrix? Thanks again for all the help!:)
 

GStough

Staff member
Super Moderator
#10
How the records are disposed of usually isn't mentioned so as to allow flexibility in determining how it's carried out. As long as they are disposed of, that is the important thing (if your procedures state that they are disposed of). :)

We do not specify how we dispose of records, we just state the retention time and that they are disposed of once the retention requirements have been met.

Hope this helps. :bigwave:
 
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