THE TRUE COST OF POOR QUALITY CALIBRATION
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THE TRUE COST OF POOR QUALITY CALIBRATION

INTRODUCTION

Poor quality calibration has been on the rise for some time now. As the baby-boomer work force begins to near retirement, years of skilled technical expertise is diminishing. Many businesses are watching as technically competent workers, who have worked for them for years, leave their organizations. The heavy number of resignations has begun to worry many manufacturers because they are concerned about finding skilled replacements.

Due to the lack of skilled workers, in-house calibration programs are now vulnerable. Many companies have no choice but to hire employees with less-knowledge in metrology to fill in the shoes of those who have retired. For this reason, poor quality calibration is becoming more and more common in companies that are using in-house programs.

To ensure your company does not experience poor quality calibration services, we have created a guide on how to avoid poor quality calibration. This guide will give you pointers on how to receive quality calibration services and why quality calibration is essential


The reason many manufacturers worry for their businesses after baby-boomer retirement is due to the alarming lack of metrology knowledge in younger generations. Studies have shown that 81 percent of manufacturers will be affected by lack of skilled labor. This absence of skills has been projected to cost businesses over $50 million each. This number not only includes costs of recruiting, training and retention, but also the cost of lost production.

On the other hand, companies that specialize in calibration services tend to have the top talent that is out in the field. Since calibration is their main focus, they have the ability to invest in the best in the industry, continuing education programs, training and retention.

WHY QUALITY CALIBRATION IS IMPORTANT

The whole point of calibrating an instrument is to ensure measurements are accurate and precise. While many believe that any old calibration service will do, the quality of the calibration service 100% matters. Poor quality calibration can lead to a handful of different issues, including working against gaining accuracy and precision.

Poor quality calibration can have a negative domino effect on your company. Consequences include the following:

DEFECT PRODUCTS

Tools and equipment that have not been calibrated properly have a high risk of defects. These defects could lead to many problems such as damage to aircrafts and in more severe cases, injuries. When issues like this arise within your company due to poor calibration services, your reputation and business is at stake. Consumers will stop purchasing manufacturing equipment if there is even ONE negative or fatal headline in the news. After this occurs, rebuilding the brand name could takes years, if it ever happens. All of this could occur just because of product defects due to improper or poor quality calibration.

HIGH COSTS

In manufacturing, product quality is the key to success. Without product quality, there is no money being brought into the company. If an instruments undergoes poor quality calibration, the product most likely is not up to par. When a product’s quality is poor, companies lose money…big time. According to a survey commissioned by the ATS, the average expense of poor quality calibrations costs companies $1,734,000 each year. This number affects every aspect of a company, including its bottom line. This number also doesn’t reflect the money and time required to fix the calibration error.

HOW TO AVOID POOR QUALITY CALIBRATION

Due to the drastic consequences that stem from poor quality calibration errors, it is crucial to ensure your company is avoiding poor quality calibration at all costs. A great way to ensure poor quality calibration doesn’t affect your company is to invest in implementing a quality management system and proper calibration services.

WHAT IS A QUALITY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?

A quality management system can be defined as a set of polices, processes and procedures that are required for planning and executing production, development and service of a company. The concept of a quality management system seeks to recognize company requirements based off of the chosen management system. For example, if a company choses to pursue accreditation for ISO/IEC 17025, a quality management system will ensure all requirements and guidelines are met. A quality management system also seeks the following concepts:

  • Applicable employee training to ensure all employees understand and perform the requirements of a quality management system.
  • Measurement and monitoring of the performance of quality management system, followed up with a report on performance.
  • Performance of internal audits to analyze the quality management system.
  • Production of records and evidence that all system requirements are met.

By choosing a quality management system to help organize requirements needed to meet certain standards, e.g. ISO/IEC 17025, poor quality calibration can be avoided. To meet certain standard requirements, quality calibration has to be performed regularly and frequently. Documentation of quality calibration has to be recorded in order to prove it has been completed for each instrument. By choosing to follow a quality management system, poor quality calibration is not possible and can be avoid.

HOW TO ENSURE QUALITY CALIBRATION SERVICES

In order to receive quality calibration, company contribution and the right calibration provider are absolutely necessary. Quality calibration starts with proper company organization of instruments and calibration intervals and ends with superb service with knowledgeable personnel.

COMPANY CONTRIBUTION

It is the responsibility of your company to ensure all ducks are in a row before sending instruments to a provider for calibration. For example, a proper calibration interval needs to be followed by your company to ensure that the instrument is being calibrated at the right time and after a certain amount of uses. By following a precise calibration interval, the possibility of product defects and high costs due to calibration errors is minimized. Due to the tedious task of remembering when all instruments are due for calibration, it is also in the company’s best interest to invest in a management system that will help track instrument calibration intervals. By following these two steps, your company is contributing to quality calibration of each instrument.

CHOOSING A PROVIDER

While it is extremely important for your company to stay on top of calibration schedules to ensure quality calibration, it is also important to ensure your company has chosen the right provider. When choosing a provider your company should look for the following included in the service:

  • Traceability
  • Calibration Labels
  • Uncertainty Ratio Measurement
  • Calibration Certificates
  • Documentation of trained personnel

If all of the above are included in your calibration service, chances are it will be of high quality. Notably, when choosing a provider it is also important to research the personnel’s competency of the instruments you need calibrated.

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