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Can you recommend a method to track First Articles?

Can you recommend a method to track First Articles?

Can you recommend a method to track First Articles?

Can anybody recommend a method to track First Articles through 10 different departments? My company is an electronics manufacturer. We evaluate components, PCBs, PCBAs and metal enclosures from various manufacturers and suppliers. I have recently been challenged to create and manage a system for processing and tracking hundreds of First Article Evaluations simultaneously. My objectives are to establish a feedback system, warning mechanism (if a task does not seem like it will be completed on time), improve traceability, minimize paperwork and improve process flow and turnaround time.

Does anybody have any experience with “Quality Assurance Tracking System” (Q.A.T.S.) Software or similar tracking software you can recommend? Our current method consists of a paper traveler that follows the item being evaluated from department to department. Since all history is on the traveler, traceability is lost, making it difficult to determine a particular items location and status at any given time.

I am considering a “Star” method where the evaluated items have to be returned to me after each department has completed their evaluation. After I have logged the transaction, I would deliver the item to the next department who would return it back to me and so on until the process is complete. Although I believe this would improve traceability, with hundreds of evaluations changing hands, I’m afraid this would be a very time consuming method.

I am open to any and all suggestions you could provide.
Thank you all for your time, consideration and help.

RE: Can you recommend a method to track First Articles?

Put it on a cheap laptop and send it around.
You need a network card to update it when it is in
the docking station(s).  Otherwise if these departments are on the same site an RS-422 type network using a phone wire and telephone jacks and a small wall mounted terminal could allow some limited data to be logged in - the are sold as time clock system. Often used to log usage of copy machines and track paper, who is getting the benefits, etc...
Very nice if you only need a few fields of data for the database. Usually come programmed for employee number, job number, etc. and one or two Misc. fields.

RE: Can you recommend a method to track First Articles?

Take a look at EtQ software (www.etq.com/).  This may be more than you want to spend but it has many of the features you mentioned.  It supports formal quality systems and some engineering, custom databases and handles auto-distribution via e-mail (Lotus Notes or similar) with level escalation for info requests & responses, response due reminders, corrective actions requests & responses, engineering requests and even environmental, etc.  You can also set-up an approval or notification hierarchy.

Another less expensive option would be to consider a Ms Access database application.  Access XP has some nice auto e-mail functionality for e-distribution, which can automatically include file attachments with a canned message.  If you do not have the Access expertise in house, a consultant or independent programmer could help.  Just be certain they create a manual along with the custom database, explaining how it is built (identify tables, querries, etc.), how to install it and of course - user instructions.

RE: Can you recommend a method to track First Articles?

I had previously developed a database for tracking inspections performed on fabricated steel products for various end users at various fabricator with multiplpe project numbers. The database is an MS Access 2000 .mde file that you can look at. If it similar to what you need and you have someone in your IT department familar with Access let me klnow and I may send you something you can modify for your own needs.

The actual version I use (Slightly different than the one on my site) has about 10 projects with 3 customers and 300 shipping items with about 1000 related pictures visible in the database. Each "shipping item" form contains a list of all inspections performed. and has a flag if any are still outstanding. Eaach inspection form has a related form of all actions taken regarding the inspetion item. All fields can be queried by using the MS Access "Filter By Form" option from the menu. An example would be finding all pieces for a specific project at a specific fabricator shipped a certain timeframe that had any occurence of the word "crack" in any inspection.

If you don't have access any relational database will do what you need if you have the time to build it.

The page is at http://www.weldinginspectionsvcs.com/qcdatabasedownload... for downloading.

Good day

Gerald Austin
Iuka, Mississippi

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