In our final article we are looking at the third problem facing businesses when managing metrology calibrations.
If you’ve missed the first two articles in the series, click the links to find out more about the two other common reasons affecting businesses; the lack of company-wide understanding on the importance of calibrations and the lack of best practice information on how to manage calibrations.
Or, download our guide, ‘Why are metrology calibrations so misunderstood?’, where we cover the three common reasons affecting every business, in greater detail.
Problem 3: No clear guidance on the attributes to look for in a calibration supplier
The headache involved if a supplier doesn’t deliver can cause no end of problems for QA teams. The UK has a huge range of calibration providers who all seemingly offer a similar service, making choosing a supplier a minefield.
Here’s our advice on what to look for in a supplier…
How long can you afford to have your equipment out of process for a calibration? For many businesses it’s no longer than a week.
Most calibration suppliers will offer a ‘guaranteed’ turnaround time of less than 7 days, but to ensure the timescales promised are actually met, make sure you read the small print and find out when the turnaround time starts.
Accreditations and certificates
Find out if your supplier has the correct accreditations to provide the level of calibration you need. As a minimum, they should provide fully traceable calibration certificates backed by internationally recognised quality management processes including ISO 17025:2017 which is required to provide UKAS accreditation
After your calibration is complete, find out how the calibration certificate will be supplied – and more importantly, when you can expect to receive it. Many providers will only offer a paper certificate which can take weeks to arrive.
If you have a range of metrology equipment requiring calibration, it’s not uncommon to use multiple suppliers to carry this work out. But with each separate supplier comes different deadlines, documentation and contacts to manage.
To simplify the process, businesses look to bring all calibrations under one supplier who can calibrate all on and off-site metrology equipment.
No two businesses are the same. And no two businesses will have the same calibration schedule. Does your current provider work round your schedule – collecting items on a day that suits you, or planning on-site calibrations around your shut down periods?
How does your supplier keep you informed on the status of your items while they’ve been sent for calibration? Some suppliers will use an asset management system, like our Calibration Hub, which provides full transparency on the items’ calibration status – from when they arrive at the lab, to when they are calibrated and ready to return to your site – whereas others won’t contact you at all during the process.
Even if your business isn’t located in a remote area, it makes sense to find out where your nearest calibration engineer is located. Some calibration suppliers have small teams with minimal skill sets, meaning resource is often maxed out and you’ll be kept waiting for the calibrations you need.
Free guide download
In our guide, ‘Why are metrology calibrations so misunderstood?’, we cover the three common reasons affecting every business in greater detail. Click here for your free download.