You’ve got NATA Accreditation – what comes next?

First of all – congratulations!

Gaining your new NATA accreditation is no small feat. So, make sure you take some time to celebrate this achievement together with your staff.

But, now that the hard part is out of the way, surely you can relax and get on with business, right?

Not quite.

The truth is, NATA accreditation shouldn’t be a ‘get-and-forget’ process.

Let’s look at three key ways you can capitalise on being a NATA accredited lab.

New NATA Accreditation

1. Make the most of your new NATA accreditation

Firstly, announce the news of your accreditation to your customers.

Highlight what it means to your business and how it’ll serve to enhance your service standards.

Secondly, check out the valuable resources NATA provides to use in your promotions.

For example, you could send NATA’s industry guides to your clients and prospective clients. These offer a compelling way to demonstrate the many advantages of using a NATA accredited service like yours without having to toot your own horn. 

Thirdly, you should start spruiking the benefits of NATA accreditation.

Most importantly, an industry expert has reviewed and approved your methods and processes. Plus, through the accreditation process, your business has implemented improvements that make your services even more reliable and ready for growth.

Next, include the NATA logo on all your test reports.

There’s simply no better way to promote your new NATA accreditation and keep this significant fact in the mind of your customers.

Once you’ve started getting the word out, the next step is to take care of business.

2. Maintain your quality system

Many of the processes you now have in place to manage your laboratory are new.

Obviously, they are necessary to meet NATA requirements. But the good news is that they’ll also help your business improve and grow. 

So, make sure you keep adding to your quality systems between each NATA assessment.

Don’t fall into the trap of other newly accredited labs, who either find many key activities too difficult or forget them altogether.

Have a plan to keep on top of:

  • Doing internal audits
  • Recording corrective and preventive actions
  • Approving and maintaining records of new suppliers
  • Performing management reviews
  • Fulfilling competence assessments
  • Maintaining equipment records
  • Keeping controlled documents up-to-date

From there, it’s time to build on the asset of being a NATA accredited lab.

3. Develop your new NATA accredited lab systems

As you get comfortable with the new processes you’ve put in place for accreditation, you may choose to make improvements to keep them operating well.

Here’s the thing.

Having the confidence to develop and enhance your lab procedures without explicit NATA approval is key to keeping your system relevant and up-to-date.

What’s more, by making improvements to suit any changes in your workload, client base, and other external factors, you’ll avoid issues with NATA in the future.

Wondering how you can demonstrate that your quality system is a living entity and incorporates risk?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Update your procedures every time you change the way you do things.
  • Review your quality manual to make sure it accurately describes what you do.
  • Continue to participate in proficiency testing programs and record your actions for outliers.
  • Follow up on all actions you record in management meetings.
  • Use the non-conformance system to record problems with processes – not just customer complaints or audit findings – then follow up on them and document your responses.
  • Do a SWOT or PEST analysis every year (there are plenty of free resources online to help you with these).

Feeling overwhelmed?

Does this list sound nearly as lengthy as the accreditation itself?

Don’t worry. Most of these actions are only small tasks that should quickly become part of your routine to keep improving your quality system.

So, don’t overthink these steps.

Just plan them into your team’s schedule and learn from them as you go.

Because if you keep on top of these tasks regularly, you won’t be spending hours sorting everything out just before NATA’s next visit.

Want some more help?

What could be better than the reassurance that everything’s on track for your next assessment? 

Great news – we offer NATA preparation audits as a stand-alone service. Contact us well before your next assessment is due, and we’ll help make it your easiest one yet.