A producer of food contact packaging materials / flexible packaging/ labels / roll stock. We have color presses ( press dept.. ), laminating department, slitter department and press plate dept.and a converting department. We have QA in the converting dept. ( film into pouches, bags, etc. ) only or should I say,has been that way since I came on board. There is no QA in the other depts. except converting. My question should QA be present in the other depts.? if so, what would need to be done from a QA stand point.?
Hello JJ, in my experience of packaging operations that supply food, healthcare and pharmaceutical customers I would say that you need comprehensive quality control at each step of the process including artwork / repro, ink management, plate mounting, print set up approval to run and in running as well as at conversion.
All of the quality checks need to be recorded as they are completed. How to do the checks needs documenting in SOP's and all operators trained/signed off as competent. That's the foundation. After that we need to know if the SOP's / training are effective and being followed diligently.
I use the audit team who do two things:
1. Check finished job bags looking at all of the records, checks, retained samples etc. to make sure all intact. Green sticker if good red sticker if bad. Whether good or bad details are recorded on a spreadsheet with date, order number, operator name and findings. NC's are reviewed with operators.
2. Shop floor audit meaning auditor stood with operator observing the checks as they are carried out, again recorded as above.
This two pronged approach is not 100% double check, but an ongoing program of sampling by part time internal auditors who get a small incentive on top of their job. It helps ensure the records are tight and importantly the checks are done as specified. Both are of equal importance.
In my experience it has identified improvements in procedures, quality checks, operator knowledge and commitment and problems with materials, equipment and the process. It has been viewed as a positive by third party auditors.
In my opinion it is better than having the cost of full time paperwork checkers armed with a big ink stamp.
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