Proficiency Testing Program (PTP)
"Benchmark Proficiency Testing Program"
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What to Expect from a Proficiency Testing Program (PTP)?
A PTP should allow for fast corrective action in case of problems.
A PTP should be inexpensive, easy to interpret, and comprehensive.
A PTP should provide an assessment of a laboratory's analytical data compared to the true value.
A PTP should provide a periodic assessment of the performance of a laboratory.
A PTP should satisfy the minimum requirements for laboratory accreditation.
Typical Proficiency Testing Protocol
Typically, PTPs are conducted in a "round-robin" environment and consist of a peer group analyzing unknown materials. More often than not, weeks or months later, data are compiled resulting in a battery of lengthy statistical reports and graphs (often difficult to interpret) detailing how everyone compared to each other. This approach raises a variety of questions. For example, if Total Quality Assurance (TQA) is objective, how many things can go wrong in your laboratory during the time it takes to get the results back? If the PTP is being used for TQA, what if all participants (the whole peer group) agree, but the result is wrong?
The ARMI/PTP "Benchmark" Proficiency Testing Program
Since ARMI has been in the business of producing Certified Reference Materials (CRMs) for nearly 15 years, we have amassed a "perpetual data bank" of chemical results on over 600 metal alloys. By using this data bank for comparison, we have eliminated the "round robin" and associated problems. The results still provide "peer comparison," but the primary benefit is that our clients' data are compared to the "True Value" because the test samples are actual CRMs. We refer to this as "Benchmark" comparison, since the test samples are actual Certified Reference Materials that have been thoroughly examined for homogeneity and statistically characterized during the certification process. Outliers have been identified and eliminated from the comparison results. This data is then combined with the data collected from our PTP over the years affording our subscribers an unparalleled comparison of their analytical results to the "True Value".
Here's How the PTP Works.
We supply you with a calendar for selecting the date and type of material by matrix group and sample configuration (i.e., solids, chips, or pins). Programs are available monthly, quarterly, or biannually. We then send you a "blind" sample from our stock of over 600 CRMs based upon your selection. When you have completed the analysis of the blind sample, you send us the results via fax or electronically. Within 48 hours you will receive your results by fax or electronically. (Note: Your color-coded hard copy will be sent to you by regular mail.)
Your Complete Report Consists of:
A color coded "Certificate of Performance" comparing your results to the actual "Benchmark" data.
A Color coded "Control Chart" graphically depicting your results to the actual "Benchmark" data.
A "Certificate of a Certified Reference Material" confirming that a CRM was used in the test.
The "Color Coding" provides you with the instantaneous ability for identifying the problem areas of performance.
Green indicates the data are within the acceptable range which is within 2 standard deviations above or below the mean.
Yellow represents a warning that the data has fallen outside the 2 standard deviation but inside the 3 standard deviations range.
Red indicates that data have fallen outside the 3 standard deviation limit, and is possibly out of control.
Commitment and Confidentiality
Keep in mind, we are a third party vehicle and partner in your ongoing quality assurance / quality control (QA / QC) program. Our intention with the PTP is to aid our subscribers in determining if things are the way they should be, and if their reported analytical results are good.
We Are Part of Your Quality Team.
We DO NOT sit in judgment. We DO NOT certify you to any particular criteria, nor do we certify you to meet any particular industry specifications or regulations. In short, whether you have a single instrument or a multiple instrument / multiple technique environment, PTP affords subscribers a trouble free "NIST Traceable" QA program that can be integrated into the daily lab routine.
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