On Time Compliance in Your Calibration Program

In the SIMCO webinar titled Top 7 Metrics to Manage Your Calibration Program, we discussed key metrics and KPIs that leading organizations use to properly manage and continuously improve their calibration programs. In this post, we discuss the first metric, On Time Compliance, which measures the percentage of instruments that have been turned in for calibration on or before the calibration due date.

Why On Time Compliance is Important

If instruments become overdue for calibration, they represent risks to your product quality and regulatory compliance. Making sure you have a plan for calibrating instruments on time is key to protecting your quality program and company.

How to Measure On Time Compliance

On Time Compliance can be calculated by two methods – as a snapshot in time or spanning a defined timeframe.

The snapshot method is measured at any point in time by counting the number of instruments not overdue for calibration and dividing that number by the total number of instruments. For example: if at one point in time you have 100 instruments and 97 are not yet due for calibration (but 3 are overdue), then On Time Compliance is 97/100 = 97%.

This snapshot metric can vary over time. For instance, if calibration due dates are at the end of month, then On Time Compliance is likely to be at its worst at the very beginning of the month and improve throughout the month. So, if you are doing monthly reports, pick a consistent day of the month for measurement.

The defined timeframe method calculates On Time Compliance by taking the number of instruments turned in for calibration during that timeframe, divided by the total number of instruments due for calibration for that timeframe. For instance, if 100 instruments have a due date in January but only 95 of those were turned in, the On Time Compliance for January was 95%. This approach provides a good overall view of the program’s On Time Compliance for a defined time period.

On Time Compliance Benchmarks

Through our work with over 3,000 manufacturing organizations, we have found that best-in-class programs have > 99% on-time compliance. Jay Langlois, Manager of Calibration and Continuous Improvement at L3Harris, maintains a goal of 99.95%. If you’re struggling to meet your On Time Compliance goal, consider the following suggestions for improvement.

How to Improve Your On Time Compliance

In our work with our lives-at-stake manufacturing customers, the calibration programs we have seen with the worst On Time Compliance rates are the ones that are managed manually with some combination of paper and spreadsheets. This approach is slow, labor intensive, and prone to errors. SIMCO’s CERDAAC software enables you to meet and exceed your On Time Compliance goals in the following ways:

  • Maintain an accurate and up-to-date database of all instruments and their calibration service information.
  • Track On Time Compliance status in real-time via reports and dashboards.
  • Track On Time Compliance by both the snapshot and defined timeframe methods.
  • Track overdue instruments by department and share with the responsible managers.
  • Automate calibration scheduling based on calibration intervals and dates.
  • Automate service due email notifications and ensure they are being sent out well in advance of the calibration due date.

The following advanced techniques can dramatically improve On Time Compliance but require more work to implement and maintain.

  • Escalating Notifications – for persistent On Time Compliance problems, consider setting up escalating service due notifications. For example, the first service due notification is sent to the instrument owner 30 days before the calibration due date. If the item is not turned in, a second service due notification is sent to the equipment owner and their manager 15 days before the calibration due date. This should only be implemented if you’re capable of capturing and maintaining your current organizational structure in your calibration management system, otherwise your system will be sending out notifications to the wrong people, creating more problems than it is solving.
  • Daily Production Checks – this technique is for manufacturers who simply can’t afford to have a single overdue instrument on their production line. At the beginning of each production day or shift, check each instrument on the line to ensure that it is not overdue for calibration. CERDAAC’s Asset Tracker lets you perform rapid bar code scanning for quick confirmation that instruments are not past their due dates.
  • Push Program – for some organizations such as distributed field service teams, it may make sense to send out replacement instruments to the owner in advance of the calibration due date. This allows the owner to turn in their instruments on time and avoid any downtime associated with waiting for instruments to be serviced. This type of program is more complex and expensive to manage but typically results in excellent On Time Compliance and improved employee productivity.

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