Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of prospects in their pursuit of a calibration management system. Almost every single time, I’ve noticed that the number one source of hesitation and uncertainty for those looking to get started was related to implementation. There are many moving parts when installing, configuring, populating, and going live with a software solution; and expert help ensures success.

Based on my experience working through many implementation projects, I have been able to derive seven core steps that have helped to build a foundation that saves time, eliminates uncertainty, and ultimately reduces the required financial investment. Below, you will find a brief snapshot of the steps we cover during any kickoff meeting, that leads to a timely and successful deployment, not matter how large or small:

  1. Set a Go-Live date
    The first and easiest thing to do is to set a Go-Live date for when you hope to go live with the software. This sets expectation, helps to drive the project forward, and helps you understand when you are ahead or behind schedule throughout the implementation.

2. Prepare/organize your data
Understanding what assets, you will be managing with system (instruments, test instruments, loops) will put you at an immediate advantage when you begin to populate your database. Organizations that do not have a clearly defined record of assets they are servicing will usually end up spending more time up front organizing this data and figuring out how much what level of detail they plan to manage for these assets. For example, some customers will purely use their Calibration Management System to track schedules, while others will expect to analyze the data for metrics and trends per department. It will be up to you what level of functionality you derive from your system.

3. Plan your technological infrastructure
Software will always need to be installed somewhere if you do not plan to go with a cloud-based solution, and the responsibility will fall onto you to manage and support the technological infrastructure of the system. We recommend getting the system requirements from your vendor early on to ensure that you have adequate server space and the correct hardware to run the system.

4.Define and delineate your users & roles
Whether you will be the sole user, or managing a team, the roles and responsibilities will eventually need to be mapped out within the system. There will always need to be a system administrator or superuser to manage the users and configuration, but larger organizations will require various levels of system access for managers that may need to approve finalized work orders.  Quality may need a read-only view to allow for compliance reporting.

5.Understand and document your regulatory compliance needs
Going into the project it is important to ensure that the system you are selecting will be set up to comply with whatever regulatory bodies you must abide by. It could be as simple as to ensure you have the workflow properly documented to comply with an ISO requirement, but it may be more critical that you are performing an adequate performance qualification to function properly in an FDA environment.

6.Determine your reporting requirements
A calibration management system is extremely powerful at recording your data, but what use is that to you and the other stakeholders if there is no easy way to view the data in a way that makes sense for the organization? While most clients have their needs met by the standard reporting, some require customizations to existing reports for branding purposes, or entirely new reports so that data can be reviewed in a more intuitive manner. Only you know exactly what you expect from the software system.

7.Ensure the system will handle all activities you are performing
While most software solutions handle the basic types of testing such as pressure, temperature, resistance, etc.; some customers require additional testing techniques that may be unique to their organization or industry. Ensure up front that all your needs will be met by the solution you are choosing, otherwise you may find yourself having to implement a secondary solution to meet a small subset of your daily work.

All in all, if you work with a reputable and detail-oriented vendor team, your implementation will be lightning fast, and you will be up and running before you know it. Ensuring that you follow the above steps will help minimize and delays or errors that could cost your company precious time & money. Building a strong foundation from the start will ensure a better project outcome, as well as the effective utilization of a strong calibration management system.

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