NPCA Staff Report
For decades, physical paperwork has been a necessary evil in offices far and wide. One advantage of the digital revolution has been the reduction in storage of paper files and now the National Precast Concrete Association Plant Certification Program has joined those ranks.
The NPCA Producer Portal for NPCA certified plants makes it easier to manage your plant certification records and store information securely online in one convenient location. In 2017, the NPCA Quality Assurance Committee announced significant improvements to make it even easier to organize and save your records. Now, for 2019, the QA committee has announced a new round of enhancements to the producer portal.
Is the producer portal secure and confidential? Yes, you can rest assured it is secure and confidential. The only people who can access your individual plant information are your designated plant employees, NPCA program administrators, and the plant certification auditor. As part of NPCA’s American National Standards Institute Accreditation under ISO/IEC 17065:2012, “Conformity assessment – Requirements for Bodies certifying products, processes and services,” our operating policies and procedures are bound by strict requirements for confidentiality and impartiality.
Each year we are audited to these requirements by ANSI assessors.
PRODUCER PORTAL FEATURES:
Once logged in, the default landing page is the plant profile. From here, plants can provide detailed information about the physical location of the plant and contact information for the plant’s liaison to the auditor. Additional information about plant operation, products manufactured, auditor personal protective equipment requirements and plant shutdown schedules are located on the plant profile tab. Once the plant profile is saved, the remaining tabs on the left-hand side of the landing page are for production logs, plant documents, plant audits, self-audits and certificates.
Under the production log tab plants can enter, import and download daily concrete production in three categories: architectural, general precast and prestressed. The page keeps running totals for each of the three categories, as well as the cumulative total from January 1 to December 31 of each production year.
Under the plant documents tab, the default screen will show files for the current year. However, in the pull-down menu just below the plant documents header, plants can access archived documents. There is also a green “download documents” button that allows the plant to select and download any document from the list. Shown in the document types on this page is a file folder for each section and sub-section of the NPCA Quality Control Manual for Precast Concrete Plants for that particular program year. Plant users can either scroll down the list or use the “jump to” button to navigate to a specific section or subsection. Under each section and sub-section heading there are helpful descriptions pertaining to that section. On the far-right side of the page is the “hide folder” button allowing the plant to hide sections and sub-sections that do not apply or those they do not want to see on a regular basis.
Under the plant audits tab all past plant inspection reports are stored in PDF format by inspection date. In addition, there is a “view audit” button where plants can view and respond to deficiencies; view improvements, comments and the grading schedule for the audit; and obtain information about the auditor that performed the plant inspection.
Next, the self-audits tab is one of the newest continuous-improvement features in the producer portal. Under this tab, the plant can perform its own self-audit using the same tool that NPCA independent third-party inspectors use. The formatting follows the NPCA QC Manual and the report formatting and scoring are the same. This feature can be used by plant personnel at any time to assess their readiness or status against the current program manual.
Lastly, under the certificate tab plants can download a copy of their current certificate at any time.
To get started in the producer portal or take the virtual tour, visit precast.org/qcmanual and watch the Producer Portal Tutorial video.