Quality and Compliance Management
Lab Director is an innovative and powerful application for tracking and maintaining your organization’s ongoing quality, environmental, health, safety, laboratory and other compliance requirements. Lab Director makes it easy to stay on top of one time and recurring requirements. Never miss another deadline – you’ll be better prepared than ever for your next audit or inspection. Lab Director helps bring teams together to make plans, delegate responsibilities, review progress and resolve problems. Five powerful modules work seamlessly together to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
Lab Director Tips and Tricks (Blog Post)
Free Lab Director Checklist Templates
Frequently Asked Questions
Quality management is the pursuit of excellence – striving to meet the needs and expectations of customers. In today’s competitive marketplace, quality is the difference between success and failure. Consistent quality takes effort, planning and follow through.
Compliance management is the process by which managers plan, organize and control activities that ensure compliance with regulations, laws and standards. For example, strict regulations exist for environmental, health & safety, food handling and other areas. Failing to comply with regulatory statutes and standards can have costly consequences.
The key elements of a quality and compliance management system include:
- Planning and documentation
- Employee training and improvement
- Recurring tasks
- Internal audits and inspections
- Corrective actions and continual improvement
Lab Director is an effective and easy-to-use quality and compliance management application. Five integrated modules help ensure that every internal and external requirements is considered, delegated, completed and documented.
Achieving quality and compliance is a team effort. It’s not something that can be assigned to the “quality person” alone in his or her office. Top management must establish and promote the vision for the organization. Specific steps to achieve the vision are documented in a written plan. The goals and details of the plan are shared often and updated as necessary.
Lab Director is the center of an effective quality and compliance management system. Lab Director helps you organize, prioritize, delegate and follow through with every detail of the plan. Some initial and ongoing effort is necessary to enter and maintain the specific Lab Director documents and events – training, tasks, audits and actions. When events and assignments are correctly and consistently completed, the organization can be confident that they are compliant with internal and external requirements and plans.
In our experience, quality and compliance cannot be achieved without the direction and participation of top management. With this in mind, Lab Director is intended primarily as a management tool and resource. For managers, Lab Director can be essentially a “set it and forget it” system. When Lab Director is properly set up and maintained, managers can see all of the scheduled tasks and assignments as they flow on and off of the prioritized action items list. If the action items are up to date, then the management system is working as intended. If the delegated assignments are overdue and piling up, the system is not functioning properly.
Every manager and employee plays a role in achieving quality and compliance for the organization. Typically, top management determines the quality and compliance standards and then delegates specific responsibilities to other managers. For example, a quality manager or team may be responsible to track and maintain internal quality standards for the organization. Likewise, and environmental or health & safety manager may be responsible for providing employee training and conducting regular inspections. Finally, specific employees or employee groups may be designated to read and update procedures, receive specific training, perform periodic tasks or follow up on corrective actions.
Lab Director is an excellent tool for defining, delegating and tracking specific assignments and responsibilities. For each requirement, admins or managers designate the title, description, start and end dates, person(s) responsible, recurrence pattern and other specifics. In Lab Director, this creates discrete “instances” of that assignment. On the start date for each instance, that assignment will appear on the individual and team Action Items list. Action items are prioritized by due date with warnings for overdue assignments.
On the home page, Lab Director automatically updates the My Action Items and (for managers) the Team Action Items. If enabled, a weekly email reminder is sent to each employee. Managers can also send task-specific emails as needed. Not surprisingly, Lab Director is effective only if managers and employees take the time to consistently view, complete and document their own assignments.
Lab Director replaces at least five different programs or calendars that you’re currently using to:
- Coordinate action items and assignments,
- Control and distribute documents,
- Track employee training,
- Delegate and follow-up on recurring tasks,
- Conduct on-site audits and inspections, and
- initiate and complete corrective actions.
AQS is a technical consulting company and we use Lab Director every day to help our clients stay in compliance with internal and external requirements. We are always adding new features that matter to our clients. Lab Director’s key features include:
- Web-based design, accessible anytime, anywhere
- Prioritized task lists for individuals or teams
- Daily email notifications
- Recurring tasks with start and due dates
- Optional review step for critical tasks
- Upload photos, documents or other attachments
- Assign individuals or groups to specific tasks
- Complete and save inspections on a laptop or tablet
- Easily download or build customized inspection forms and checklists
- Document and delegate corrective and preventative actions
Lab Director is a web-based application accessible from any web-enabled desktop, laptop, tablet or cell phone. Every feature is completely portable. For example, an inspection form can be built on the office desktop and then completed in the field on a laptop or tablet.
Initial Lab Director setup is important but not difficult. With a little effort up front, Lab Director will save time and headaches for years to come. In addition, every subscription comes with initial and ongoing support to get you started and keep you running. The first step is to complete the Lab Director worksheet with relevant information for
- Organization information
- User information
- Controlled plans and procedures
- Training requirements
- Recurring tasks
- Internal audits (including commonly-used checklists)
- Corrective actions (including action categories, root cause categories, etc.)
Planning and documentation are the centerpiece of an effective quality and compliance management system. Plans and procedures should be readily available to employees and only the current version of a document should be used. In addition, all previous document versions should be maintained and accessible if needed.
Lab Director is a very effective online document management system. Managers create a folder for each document and revisions are uploaded to that specific folder. Each revision includes the date added, date active and revision number. Only the current version of each document is displayed and available on n the Lab Director home page. By organization policy, all printed copies of the document are considered to be uncontrolled.
Every business or project has important tasks that must be completed on a regular basis – weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually. Lab Director is much more than a calendar or task management program. Prioritized tasks show up only when you need them and they can be assigned to anyone on the team. Completed tasks, notes and attachments are saved for inspection and review.
The Lab Director Audit module makes it easy to build checklists, conduct inspections and generate reports. Required inspections can be assigned, scheduled, recorded and shared within the application. Existing paper checklists can be easily converted to our online checklist. Commonly-used checklists can also be downloaded from our online library. Inspections forms can be accessed from any web-enabled device – including a tablet or mobile phone. Inspection details, including photos or videos, can be attached to any checklist question. Corrective actions can be generated directly from the application.
How Easy is it to Create My Own Checklist? Super easy – just edit, upload and go. A checklist template is created or edited using Microsoft Excel of similar CSV editor. The checklist design and details are completely customizable to include:
- Section headers
- Questions with Yes, No and NA
- Photos (ipad only)
Corrective and preventative actions are an excellent way to fix problems and improve the process. Formal corrective actions allow your organization to follow up on internal audits, external audits, customer complaints, or staff suggestions.
To complete the action, a root cause must be identified and a proposed corrective action. Supporting documentation, photographs and notes are attached. The corrective action remains on the Action Items list until it is completed and reviewed.
Those assigned can perform a root cause analysis to determine and take appropriate action.
AQS offers flexible pricing based on your organization’s needs. Please contact us for a quote.