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Counting Scales

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  • #49266

    [email protected]
    Participant

    Can anybody out there help me? I recently got dinged on an audit for not having floor scales identified and calibrated per MSA. If we only use scales to weigh skids or to count out parts (nothing to do with measuring part quality), does MSA still apply? The MSA manual seems a bit vague on this.
    Thanks,
    G-man

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    #168162

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    [email protected],
    Who cares about the MSA manual. You are weighing parts that affects inventory if it is screwed up. How about doing the right thing for the business instead of worrying about compliance with some manual.
    How about this – don’t calibrate the scale and you go on the payroll deduction plan for shortages (check out the shrinkage question). If you owned the business and had paid for the inventory you may have a different view.
    Just maybe they came up with the term Total Quality to clear up the truncated view of quality being only related to part quality.
    Just my opinion.

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    #168163

    [email protected]
    Participant

    Mike,
     
    I don’t disagree with you about the calibration of the scale and its relation to inventory. We already had an issue last year where we were short shipping because operators were using the wrong sample sizes and wrong resolution scales to weigh out the parts. Not only that, it turned out we were overshipping some customers for the same reasons.
    My question was primarily to do with TS requirements in terms of WHO is responsible for the calibration/maintaining of scales. I work in Metrology, so I look after all the gauges used for measuring the parts, but I was wondering if it should be my responsibility to look after measurement equipment not related to part quality directly. I do not have a problem with being responsible for it. It was just a question to see what other people out there are doing.
    Gman

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    #168164

    Jeanette
    Participant

    The actual question that we wanted to ask was this – We currently calibrate the scales that are at each station that verifies the quantity in each box in correspondence with the shipping label but do we need to calibrate the large floor scales that the main function is to weigh the skids and waste. It is not used for accuracy but for reference.

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    #168165

    Mikel
    Member

    Mike,
    Kind of reminds me of the engineers with calipers in their pockets used to overrule those using calibrated calipers.
     

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    #168166

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Jeanette,
    Why would you want to reference a number that may or may not mean anything?

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    #168167

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Deja Vu and not CSN&Y.

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    #168168

    Mikel
    Member

    Yea – more like Yogi

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    #168176

    Gastala
    Participant

    What do you do with the information you get from these scales?
    Would it matter if it was wrong – if not, why are you weighing anyway?
    If it is important in some way, maybe better check the scales now and again.
     

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    #168422

    Fontanilla
    Participant

    You would do well to heed the advice of one of our recent presidents, “Trust but verify.”

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    #168424

    [email protected]
    Participant

    We use these scales to weigh 2 things: skids before they go on trucks, and our waste bins that go to our recycler per ISO 14001. That’s it. We do not use to verify part quantities or box weights. The only thing we use these scales for is for a rough weight of how much the items weigh so we can tell the truck driver. Is calibration a necessity for these purposes? Probably not. Is it a good idea? Probably. I’d like to know if my bathroom scale was out by ten pounds, but I wouldn’t be too concerned about the difference between 495 pounds and 505 pounds. Just my opinion.

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    #168427

    Mikel
    Member

    Gman,You win. You have permission not to do the job you are trained to do
    and pretend it will be done adequately by someone else.

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    #168428

    [email protected]
    Participant

    Sweet. Thanks. That’s exactly what i was looking for Stan.
    I am just so overwhelmed by the positive support you six-sigma gurus are full of. I’m sure all your companies must be doing extremely well for themselves.
    Thanks for nothing.

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    #168429

    Stevo
    Member

    G –
     
    Don’t let Stan get to you.  His words or messages are often time misapplied.  Well, hold on, no they are not.  Ok – you’re right, he is a bung-hole.  But he is usually a correct bung-hole.
     
      But Stevo is always here to help in a positive way.  So, here’s my coaching.

    You came a crossed as wanting others to support your injustice and not necessary wanting the correct answer.
    Coming to ISixSigma for positive support is like going to Washington State Coug football game looking for a win; it might happen, but don’t count on it.
     
    Glad to help
     
    Stevo

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    #168431

    [email protected]
    Participant

    Stevo,
    Alas you are right, if we were honest with ourselves we would have to say that we were looking for someone to “support our injustice” to some extent. As I stated in an earlier post, I do not have a problem calibrating these scales going forward and I agree that they should be calibrated at the very least for the sake of peace of mind. It’s just a little difficult to come up with corrective action and root causes on soemthing like this. I took over this job from somebody who wasn’t the best at paperwork and so this whole “scales not being calibrated” thing caught me off-guard.
    What I was hoping to find at the very least is something that says the reason why the previous person did not control these scales was because it wasn’t really a TS requirement. In reading the TS manual it is not exactly explicit on this point, but that really doesn’t excuse it. But I mean, how do you come up with a root cause for something like this (i.e. 5 whys)?
    Why did this happen: the previous guy didn’t control them and I didn’t check up on his work (why should I have to?) Why? because I shouldn’t have to check up on the work of someone who did my job before me, the assumption is that he was doing his job. Why? he wasn’t good at paperwork Why? because he didn’t care??? etc. etc. etc. Management would not really appreciate this kind of 5 whys response, nor do I see it as adequate or explanatory. At least finding something like: “this is not a TS requirement” looks better on paper. Hence why I came here – hoping that somebody else out there might be able to help me explain why something as stupid as this happened.
    But alas, I did not find what I was looking for. All I got was several smart-ass remarks (to some extent understandably so).
    G

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    #168436

    Taylor
    Participant

    Gman
    Your response is typical, not in the tone, but in the WHY this happened routine, I have seen this over and over and over.
    Scale calibration is never checked until a problem is discovered.  Cant blame the guy keeping the paperwork unless you have a Proceedure that requires him to do such.
    This is what I cannot understand. Why does a company that sales product and reports production and inventory from scales, not have a detailed PM proceedure, as well as, independent company certification of these units. I bet your SOX auditors will want to know the same info.
    Instead of pointing out the problems, turn this into a positive, and report to manangement the control (Improvement, Kanban, Poke Yoke) plan, whatever you want to call it plan; that you want to put in place so that this never happens again
    Some Suggestions

    Daily tare proceedure and  scale check
    Quarterly Inpendent Certification of scales
    Progressive change out of scales every two years (Lease Plan)
    Audit of records-PM program, get maintenance involved with the schedule,
    Do everything you can to close loop the paperwork.
    If you spend a little time thinking of how to fix the problem and instead of pointing fingers and playing the name game, you will be much better off.
     

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    #168457

    Mikel
    Member

    You came here asking for permission not to calibrate the scales.
    You have it.
    It is the wrong answer.
    Stop crying.

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    #168461

    HF Chris
    Participant

    Just curious, how much does trucking charge for weight? How much are you charged for waste (hazardous waste is even more)? Do you use weight calculations to verify cost?How about this scenario, My calibrated scales are in pmel so I will just borrow this one. Was the scale labeled as not for use for calibrated purposes? The point is you got dinged and you are looking for a way out that meets a logical rational. Rational does not mean it’s correct There is not one person who knows your business case except for you. Everyone who posted, even Stan, has said this in numerous ways but maybe just as nice. Hope this causes you to rethink your question and the feedback given.

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    #168478

    [email protected]
    Participant

    Stan,
    I weep not, nor did I come looking for permission not to calibrate the scales. I said before, going forward I have NO PROBLEM doing this and I think it is a good idea. I think all of the “reasons for” people have posted in this thread have been good. There are significant benefits to calibrating the scales and they far outweigh (no pun intended) the benefits of not calibrating them.
    If you read my last post, I hope you will get the sense of my frustration over the situation. I got burned because partially because somebody else didn’t do their job and partially because of ignorance: I did not know these scales were not controlled. They have been calibated before as they have clibration stickers on them from November of 2006. They are calibrated externally and nobody bothered to put our own calibration stickers on them. However, for whatever reason, they were not identified in our software that tracks and flags for calibration, and I assumed they were there. So, I was not flagged to be informed that they were due for calibration. I can’t say it was entirely my fault and I can’t say it was entirely someone else’s fault.
    It has always been the practice here to keep these scales in good working order and proper calibration, but because of this oversight/miscommunication (whatever you want to call it), they had been neglected for a while. The previous timing of calibration and maintenance was rather sporadic and not at planned intervals. I have set it up so that they are at planned intervals and these scales will never be “out of calibration” again.

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    #168482

    HF Chris
    Participant

    So are you now going to do a sample audit of equipment on the floor to check the actually tools against your roster? This is the the time for you to become proactive unless you want to wait until the next “find” by an external auditor? I would be willing to bet a dinner (Steak and Lobster), that your inventory may be outdated for serial numbers and other vendor calibrated equipment as well.HF Chris

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    #168484

    [email protected]
    Participant

    Chris,
    Thankfully this was uncovered by an internal audit and not an external. Internal audits are conducted quite regularly around here and this is the first time equipment has been found out of calibration in over 10 years. No system is fool proof and inevitably every system has to factor in human error.
    That being said, I do also regularly check gauges that are not on my calibration list just to make sure they haven’t been overlooked. I do find the odd one. The thing is, people tend to take gauges and use them and not put them back, then they got lost and turn up a year later in the most obscure places (someone’s desk drawer, at a machine all the way across the plant from where the part runs, etc.).
    I am trying to find a way to control the flow of gauging in and out of our labs, but that is a difficult task. We have 3 labs, over 1,000 pieces of measuring equipment (most of them quite small), and I am not here all the time to issue/return gauges for all three shifts. A sign-out sheet would not work well as that requires people to actually follow a procedure, and everyone knows people cannot be relied on to always follow the procedure to a tee.
    So, on a side note I guess, I am open to suggestions from anyone out there who might have experience in this regard and could offer some advice. Somewhat unrelated to my original thread, but that one has deflated now.
    .

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    #168486

    HF Chris
    Participant

    First question I would ask is ownership and accountability, not to get confused with blame. When you were dinged for the scale who else was dinged…the operators using the scale have what role in this? By the why, reward and discipline work hand in hand for change. Second question is what is the business $$loss for purchasing gauges for those lost and impact to scheduled maintenance for calibrating new equipment? Is there a F.O. and tool control program at your company? There should be and gauge use would be part of it. Too early to give suggestions but there are barcode scanners with employee badges that could be used for checking items in an out..even vending machines if you company can afford it. You have to swap out a bad gauge for a new gauge in order for it to work. Your problem here is just a symptom of the real problem that needs to be fixed.

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    #168530

    Jonathon Andell
    Participant

    Better than our current president: “Trust me. I done the verif- verifi- I checked it out already. Stop asking questions.”

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    #168541

    Mike Carnell
    Participant

    Gman,
    I can’t help you much without knowing your system.
    One suggestion. Take the word fault out of you vocabulary. It is a waste of time. The problem is what it is and it doesn’t matter if it was your theirs or both.
    Good luck

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    #168806

    Anton Javier
    Participant

    I think that since your company is certified to TS 16949 and ISO 14001, I am sure that you really have little choice but to meet the auditor findings that the scales have to be calibrated using MSA.
    You can only exclude the coonformance to this requirement if you can show proof that by not doing so, it will not adversely affect your customers.  You might like to consult your internal quality auditors or quality management representative to check your quality manual and see if your certifying body has allowed you to be exempted from performing scale calibration using MSA.   If not, and you continue not to do calibration, you might be charged with a major nonconformance in the next TS 16949 audit cycle.
    Additionally, in the standards of ISO 14001,  when you perform your environmental programs to mitigate environmental impacts, you are required to demonstrated real improvements (like waste reduction of paper, metals, wood, batery, hazardous materials, etc).  As such,  you would be required to identify a metric, usually expresed in terms of weight,  that would be used to determine effectiveness of the environmental program.  Having said that, your scale is then a key measuring equipment that will  be used for such initiative.  And, the priciples of MSA provides a guarantee level that your measurements are repeatable and reproducible.   
    Well, what happens if you do not calibrate the scales?  Again, you are in for a nonconformity report during the ISO 14001 audit.  Repeated nonconformances may lead to temporary suspension of your TS and 14001 certification which in turn will mean that you might have some difficulty shipping your products to your automotive customers.
    But do not worry.  The next audit cycle is 6 months from the last audit period.  I believe that you have ample time.
    Anton Javier
     
       
     
     

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    #168807

    Anton Javier
    Participant

    G,
    Please do not be disappointed.  Stan is good and well meaning.  You got the right forum and we will help you. 
    I am a certified TS auditor and a lead auditor for ISO 14001.  I responded to your query; if there is anything else on the 2 subjects, you can email me at [email protected] 
    Anton Javier

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    #168812

    Mikel
    Member

    Anton,
    The last thing this guy needs is advice from some limp wristed auditor.
    Calibarations systems that work? One were everyone knows all measuring devices get calibrated and everyone knows no device out of calibration is to be used.
    Calibration systems that don’t work? All of the others.
    MSA is not a calibration method – what kind of nonsense did you learn in your audit training?

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