Most quality standards are pretty clear on how an organization should handle its tools and equipment. They need to be in such a condition that they are able to produce the quality the company wants to deliver, while on the same page, comply with the law. To make sure that all the tools and equipment are ready for the job, it is critical that an inspection and calibration plan is readily available.
In most standards, being compliant with the law is one of the most important pillars. With inspecting tools this is something that always comes to the surface. In most countries, there are clear laws on how to inspect tools and which tools need to be inspected and calibrated on a regular basis. For example, tools and equipment such as power drills, forklifts, and lifting hooks. These laws and directives clearly state how the equipment needs to be calibrated and inspected, hence complying with these laws makes an organization comply with the standards by default.
Calibration and Inspection
The inspections on the tools and equipment can either be done in-house or performed by a third party. Regardless of the approach, a company chooses, making sure that inspections are performed according to the standards is key. Hence, make sure a certified inspector is doing the job and check if he or she is still certified for that particular inspection. Whenever the reports are ready, ensure they are stored with all the other documentation of the tools, as this makes it much easier to create a clear overview for the employees.
Lots of companies work with some kind of Excel sheet for their maintenance plan. This seems like a good idea but has some pitfalls, such as the lack of notifications when a tool needs to be inspected. Also, the user rights on the file get very tricky very fast, which leads to change maintenance without others knowing about it, or worse, certain parts have been deleted by mistake. Yes, Excel could do the trick, but you should never rely on Excel when you try to structure such an important part of the organization.
Obviously, technology can help with the compliance part of the calibration. Great technology will help with staying compliant by giving the right notification at the right time. The notification ensures that the calibration will be performed right on time. Also, the right technology will give a complete history of what has been done on the equipment. This traceability makes it transparent on what has been done and when.
Leveraging the technology of QR-codes allows people in the field to see if they are using certified tools and equipment before they start a project. This will increase the quality of the work and allows employees to safely perform their job.