Site using "reference only" stickers and stamps on WI and tools.

jam325

Starting to get Involved
Hello all,
I am in process of performing an internal audit for a site. The site is using "reference only" stamps and stickers on tools, work instructions, and procedures to try to get around the need for calibrated equipment and make old documents in the work area not a finding.
Has anyone run into this or used this method? The claim is this is something the operations manager picked up from aerospace.

Thanks,
John
 

qusys

Trusted Information Resource
Hello all,
I am in process of performing an internal audit for a site. The site is using "reference only" stamps and stickers on tools, work instructions, and procedures to try to get around the need for calibrated equipment and make old documents in the work area not a finding.
Has anyone run into this or used this method? The claim is this is something the operations manager picked up from aerospace.

Thanks,
John
It depends on the traceability of the measurement, if it considered a requirement from the organization about the validity of the measurement. See clause ISO 9001-7.1.5.2 . For example, if the value measured is ok only for pass - no pass, for reference only could works, but not to release process or product. Besides, consider also the implication of safety.
 
We still use those stickers, but not on all equipment, most employee stuff is marked that way, but on the floor there are several calibrated measuring tools to use as "final quality checks". Most assembly is checked by function anyway, either it fits or it is wrong, the reference gauges are there to determine which parts to use, use the 2" collar or the 1.5" collar? Grab a caliper and check it against the print, the wrong part is "self checking" as it will not fit. All final inspection is done with calibrated tools though.
 

Ed Panek

QA RA Small Med Dev Company
Leader
Super Moderator
You could look at the complaint log to see if its impacted their customers first and go from there.
 

John C. Abnet

Teacher, sensei, kennari
Leader
Super Moderator
Good day @jam325;
Consistent with what @Miner said...

I often counseled my previous teams (and current clients) using an easy to remember phrase I coined...

"If it's WRONG or GONE (can it lead to a nonconformance...i.e. unintended outcome).

I would be curious to understand the explanation as to WHY the team feels like "reference only" is an acceptable approach.

If the answer is 'yes' then the burden is on the auditee to convince that 'reference only' (i.e. GONE) is a good approach. (HINT- it is not a good approach IF the items in question are necessary to achieve the intended outcome).


Hope this helps.
Be well.
 

jam325

Starting to get Involved
Thanks all for the replies.

I certainly see the benefit of having some intermediate steps or measurements that may not be done with calibrated tools. As long as that check or part is verified to a tracible measurement later on before it is shipped. Perhaps it is cheaper to buy calipers that are not able to be calibrated, for example.

@John C. Abnet I am not sure what the reasoning is. My understanding is that they feel it gives them freedom to not have to have gages or WI updated and some "plausible deniability" if the gage or WI is not up to date. The point I am trying to get across to them is that if the tool or WI is used to produce product, and if the product is important enough to be produced correctly. Then it should be important enough to have accurate equipment and WI.

I have always felt that if you have an uncalibrated gage or an uncontrolled document, then you don't need that gage or document. If it is important enough to measure or write down, then it should be important enough to make sure it is accurate.

Thanks again!
 

dwperron

Trusted Information Resource
Hello all,
I am in process of performing an internal audit for a site. The site is using "reference only" stamps and stickers on tools, work instructions, and procedures to try to get around the need for calibrated equipment and make old documents in the work area not a finding.
Has anyone run into this or used this method? The claim is this is something the operations manager picked up from aerospace.

Thanks,
John
My guess is that they got bagged during an audit for not having adequate document control or calibration system. They crafted a response that addressed the findings, but did nothing to improve the quality of the operation.
Though this is definitely NOT an aerospace practice, I have seen it used in cases where auditors go crazy calling any work aid posted (such as a page from a tool catalog describing torque wrenches) a "work instruction" then citing the lack of document control. The Reference Only stamp was the response to those events. But yes, you can certainly go overboard on this.
 
Last edited:

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
Do
Hello all,
I am in process of performing an internal audit for a site. The site is using "reference only" stamps and stickers on tools, work instructions, and procedures to try to get around the need for calibrated equipment and make old documents in the work area not a finding.
Has anyone run into this or used this method? The claim is this is something the operations manager picked up from aerospace.

Thanks,
John
Do they use only calibrated equipment and controlled, approved documents to perform key operations like manufacturing and final test/inspection?
 
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