If your organization has equipment that needs to be managed and maintained, Qualio is a great central location to store details like equipment specifications, calibration due dates, equipment related deviations, and vendors.
In May 2023 we hosted a customer webinar discussing how customers can get the most out of their Qualio subscription if they are managing equipment. Click the image below to watch the recording, or view the Webinar Q&A section in the article below, or click here to download the slides.
(Recorded 5/24/23. Runtime 59:14)
Document Every Piece of Equipment
Other than documenting your Equipment Management policy and procedures, Qualio Documents can help customers keep track of each piece of equipment using an Equipment File template, Periodic Reviews to track future calibration and maintenance events, tags to group different types of equipment, and a Laboratory document (Master Equipment List) that can be used as an index of all equipment in a specific lab.
Equipment File (template)
An Equipment File is the perfect format to identify, document, and track each piece of equipment your organization uses. Start by creating an Equipment File document template. Then you’ll use that document template to create a new document for each equipment item. See the image below for ideas on what types of fields and information to include in your Equipment File template, but here are some specific call-outs:
Equipment ID number. Every piece of equipment should have a unique identification number. Provide an area on the document to log that information or, since every document has a unique Document ID, consider using the Document ID as the Equipment ID.
Equipment details. Add equipment details like manufacturer, model, serial number, etc., but also include a space to detail the acceptable operating range of the equipment. TIP: save yourself time (and typos) by taking screenshots from the online specification or user manual and including the image on the document.
Calibration and Preventive Maintenance Details. Be sure to include details related to service dates and frequency.
Add related attachments, manuals, and reports. Initially add operating manuals as attachments. Then, as calibration / PM is performed, attach any related reports.
Leverage the built-in Periodic Review functionality in Qualio Documents to stay on-top of equipment calibration. Here is how to do that:
Add a new piece of equipment and create the related Equipment File.
Determine when the next calibration event needs to take place, and adjust the Review Period in the Document Properties to reflect the appropriate time delay. In the example below, the next review period is set for 3 months. However, be aware that the countdown timer begins once the equipment file has been approved. If your equipment files typically take several weeks to approve, you’ll want to account for this delay when you set the next review period so that your calibration does not lapse.
Pay attention to the Qualio Dashboard that displays upcoming Periodic Reviews in the next 30 days, the Periodic Review Report that displays upcoming periodic reviews in the next 180 days, and the weekly Qualio Notifications that will alert Quality Users and Document Owners to Periodic Reviews coming due in 10 days. Additionally, you can use Document Analytics to view upcoming periodic reviews.
Laboratory Document / Master Equipment List
Another Qualio Document that is helpful to Equipment Management is a Laboratory Directory. This document lists every piece of equipment in a laboratory by using Smartlinks to reference the specific Equipment Files. Lab Managers find this type of document helpful because they can quickly navigate to a specific equipment item based on which lab it is used in.
Additionally, the lab document can:
Link to spreadsheets with calculations for instruments or analytical methods
List laboratory notebooks
Attach safety data sheets (SDS)
Qualio tags are another Document feature that can be leveraged to organize and document equipment. Some customers have created tags to identify equipment used in different products, in different labs or manufacturing areas, and even to identify an “Out of Service” item. If this makes sense for your organization’s size and complexity, great! But we recommend customers tag responsibly by only tagging when it can help them save time.
Track Equipment Related Events
Utilize the Events feature in Qualio to record quality events related to your equipment management program. Examples of Event templates include:
Out of Calibration (OOC)
Benefits of Tracking Equipment Events in Qualio
Customizable Event Templates specific to Equipment Management
Create unique event templates for different equipment related events in order to capture the right information at the right time.
Create and assign Event tasks
If multiple people will be working together to resolve an equipment event, it is especially helpful to have tasks formally documented and tracked in one location. Quality managers can easily see who has yet to complete tasks, as well as what completed tasks need to be reviewed and verified.
Relate an Event to an Equipment File (document)
Leverage the benefit of an eQMS where policies and procedures are centrally located along with all your equipment files and equipment events; when an event happens, relate it to the specific piece of equipment using the “Related to” field.
Track equipment events over time and filter by equipment event type. You can also quickly view outstanding actions by owner and analyze event data looking for trends in root cause, products, etc.
Keep Track of Equipment Manufactures and Service Providers in one Location
Using the Suppliers module in Qualio, Quality teams can have a complete view of all equipment manufacturers and service providers for their organization. Because the Suppliers policy can be customized with unique Supplier types, an organization can set up different document and audit requirements specific to equipment management.
Important: Don’t forget to identify the Equipment Service Providers that provide the technician services to keep equipment calibrated and working.
Documents and Equipment Management
Can you attach (or upload) to an asset record calibration certificates, IQ/OQ/PQ protocol/reports, user manual etc?
Absolutely! Those are great examples of Equipment File attachments.
Can you walk us through what it will look like to log your PM and calibration in the equipment file?
After you’ve created the Equipment file and it is an effective document, when your PM or calibration occurs you’ll create a new draft of the Equipment file. Make changes to the file as necessary, like update “Next Calibration Date” and attach any reports. Be sure to adjust the Review Period if needed from the document properties. Then send the document for approval. Then rinse and repeat next time you have a PM or calibration.
Does Qualio have the capability to support calibration frequency in terms of trending?
It sounds like you are trying to identify the number of equipment pieces requiring 3, 6, 9, 12 (etc.) month calibration/PM. Currently, I can’t think of an Analytics graph that would display that information. If you feel that a visual of this data would help you manage your lab you are very welcome to submit an enhancement suggestion and detail how this would help you.
If we use periodic review to track calibrations, will updating the document (new equipment information, updating manuals, out of schedule maintenance event, etc.) reset the periodic review, and hence extending the schedule inadvertently?
Correct, the periodic review timer begins whenever the document is approved, whether the document was updated for calibration/PM purposes or some other admin function. So you will want to be sure to double check and update that before sending the document for approval.
Isn't the lab directory file a duplication of the individual equipment documents? What would be the advantages of having this?
The Equipment File focuses on a single piece of equipment and provides a great amount of detail about that equipment, whereas the Lab directory file will simply list the Equipment Files of equipment in that specific lab. The Lab Directory file can then also include details about the Lab like location, chemical hazards, and relevant Safety Data Sheets.
Do you have a suggestion for how to track equipment repairs, or as-needed maintenance that would not be included in a maintenance schedule?
You could include an additional line item or section on your Equipment File template to track “Equipment Repairs and Out of Schedule Maintenance”.
Can one customize further to add calibration parameters e.g temp, pressure, volume for a particular equipment to ensure all calibration aspects are covered? Or can one link to calibration SOP?
Absolutely! The Equipment File screenshot displayed on the slide was a short, simple version to give webinar attendees a taste of what can be done. We HIGHLY advise that you customize the Equipment File template to meet your organization’s needs.
Suppliers + Equipment Management
Can you add multiple vendor techs?
Could you link the Suppliers to the Equipment File?
We have Qualio. When can we start using the Equipment Calibration Module? Is there a validation of the Module that we need to complete or can we just start using it?
In the webinar, Andrew demonstrated a solution that uses Qualio Documents, Events and Suppliers, not a new module/feature. Therefore, if you have already validated the Documents, Events and Suppliers features then you are ready to go! Your first step will be to create the Equipment File template.
If you are a plus customer, can/do you provide an Equipment Management Procedure?
Yes, Qualio+ provides a document for Equipment Calibration and Maintenance to Plus customers. However, there are sections the customer has to create on their own. Click here for more information about Qualio+.
Is it possible to make the graphs within qualio, how can one generate them?
The new Qualio Analytics are pre-built graphs in Qualio. The product team determines what graphs and data to display. You can learn more about this new feature in our latest Release Notes.