Laboratory Quality Evaluations
Evaluation of laboratory quality and compliance involves multiple factors. It is not possible to give a complete evaluation of all factors and parameters that influence quality at Eurofins Scientific; therefore, the Quality Assurance Unit focuses on the critical factors in our company that create a "total quality system" founded on customer needs and expectations. By "total quality" we mean not just the absence of defective work and service, but quality, directed toward continuous improvement, in all facets of our operation. The general goals of our quality efforts are "total customer satisfaction and continual quality improvement." All quality activities and efforts are directed toward these objectives. We make quality part of every job and every task, and not an organizational or functional appendix. Our total quality system involves many things, but some of the more important components are:
1. Management and Employee Commitment
Both management and employees have a strong commitment to quality. The mission, goals, objectives, and strategies are compatible and complementary to each other. This company-wide commitment to total quality is only the beginning of a never-ending quest for excellence.
Eurofins Scientific has laboratories in multiple locations thereby providing backup facilities, equipment, and technical expertise. Our organizational structure reflects senior management's commitment to customer focus and quality values. It includes an independent Quality Assurance function, as part of a Corporate Division. Eurofins’ organizational structure is continually analyzed to ensure that it effectively and efficiently serves the accomplishment of the organization's customer and quality objectives.
Training and Education
Continuous quality/productivity improvement training is regarded as essential and is provided to managers, supervisors, technical and administrative personnel. New employees and existing employees receive training in management, technical skills, quality benchmarking, etc., which is designed to satisfy the needs of each department or function and spells out the inherent quality responsibilities in every function.
Participation in Technical Organizations
Management personnel are active in outside organizations and societies in a way that enhances and promotes the total quality concept environment. These include the AOAC International (AOAC), American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), and other organizations such as ACIL (formerly the American Council of Independent Laboratories) to promote industry standards.
Safety is a dimension of quality, i.e., elimination of defective work practices includes elimination of unsafe work practices. Neither quality nor safety is independent of the normal flow of work situations. Therefore, safety programs are a direct analog of quality programs and are treated as such.
4. Buildings and Facilities
Laboratory operations are performed in specifically defined areas designed to prevent sample contamination and/or mix-ups. Our laboratories are equipped with facilities for sample storage to prevent change in the composition or physical state of samples prior to analysis.
5. Customer Service
Our continuing improvement efforts are focused on the moving target of quality established by our customers. Examples of some of the services that are provided to our customers are:
We have the capability to design individual product testing programs and to customize, prioritize, and expedite sample handling, testing, and reporting to meet individual customer needs. Eurofins Scientific currently operates approximately sixteen remote testing facilities at customer manufacturing plants to satisfy specific client needs.
Eurofins Scientific adheres to a strict confidentiality policy that does not allow information to be disclosed to a third party without the express consent of the customer.
In addition to utilizing proper methods, materials, and equipment, our laboratories use extensive quality control techniques and established quality control measures to ensure the accuracy of their analytical data.
6. Analytical Methods
Analytical methods utilized by Eurofins Scientific are specific and accurate. Standard methods from various organizations (AOAC, AOCS, AACC, FCC, USP, etc.) that are extensively tested collaboratively and other validated methods are used to obtain analytical values.
7. Instruments, Equipment, and Materials
Three important factors that impact the analytical system are the instruments used, the auxiliary equipment used, and the materials that go into the analytical operations. To provide our customers with quality analytical data, our laboratories utilize some of the most advanced instruments and equipment available. The instruments and equipment are capable of doing the job required, and they are operated in optimal condition for use and are frequently monitored/evaluated. Standards, solvents, reagents, etc. used in the laboratories are of a purity consistent with the analysis.
8. Performance Evaluation
The analytical systems of our laboratories are continuously controlled, monitored, and evaluated to determine if they are functioning properly and to identify areas for improvement. Quality control is performed by our laboratory analysts' daily and consists of running duplicate analyses, reagent blanks, fortification (spike) samples, linearity checks, confirmatory analyses, etc. The Quality Assurance team monitors the quality performance (i.e., the accuracy and precision) of the data generated by the laboratories. This is accomplished by audits and by charting the data generated by our laboratories on select performance evaluation samples. Performance evaluation samples analyzed by our laboratories consist of three types: 1) samples submitted in support of accreditation programs where the analyte concentration is known to the accrediting body, but not to the analyst, 2) samples from professional organizations such as the American Association of Feed Control Officials, Inc. (AAFCO) for animal feeds and the Smalley Check Sample Program of the American Oil Chemists' Society (AOCS), for the purpose of interlaboratory comparisons with laboratories running the same analyses and 3) control samples supplied by Corporate Quality Assurance for statistical analysis, trending, and intralaboratory comparisons on the same analyses.
9. Standard Operating Procedures
A well-developed procedure is necessary in order for a process to be effective. These documents formalize the quality system by defining responsibility and authority, providing uniform understanding and producing consistent actions. They also communicate policies and objectives, responsibilities and customer requirements. SOP's are maintained for usage, calibration, maintenance, and cleaning of equipment and instrumentation. SOP's also cover standard materials, sample entry, reporting, archival and a host of other functions that could impact the final report you receive.
10. Records and Reports
When recording information our laboratories adhere to three general principles. These are permanence, traceability, and security. Data is recorded, stored, and controlled to prevent it from being destroyed, stolen, or tampered with. Reports, which are the final product of our laboratories, are complete, accurate, and are reviewed for our customers understanding. We encourage laboratory tours of each of our facilities to demonstrate our quality initiatives, the extensive capabilities of our staff, and our emphasis on exceeding customer needs.