Quality Management practices are becoming a necessity for organisations worldwide to promote their competence and commitment to customer satisfaction. In particular, quality processes within a production testing environment are essential to maintain the accuracy and validity of test results.
NATA, the National Association of Testing Authorities, is Australia’s National laboratory accreditation system. NATA accredits laboratories against requirements based on internationally recognised criteria, and promotes the technical competence of testing and calibrating laboratories.
The key elements of an effective quality management system, and their importance within a production testing environment, are introduced. A case study of Austral Bricks laboratory practices is presented, and demonstrates how these elements are applied.
A new quality management system was successfully developed and implemented within Austral Bricks testing laboratory, designed to meet the requirements for NATA accreditation. NATA accreditation has not been officially achieved, however, a report is being prepared by NATA personnel to the NATA board members recommending accreditation. A database was successfully developed and implemented in the laboratory to store Austral Bricks test results. The database enables test records to be easily accessible and analysis of the variability in test results.
The project overran the desired deadline and it is recommended that the revised project management schedule (Figure 6) be implemented if a similar project is encountered.
This project was conducted under the auspices of the CEED program – Cooperative Education for Enterprise Development. As such the project work forms the basis of this undergraduate engineering thesis. The objective of the project was to achieve NATA registration by the end of May, 2003.