Dreading Your ISO Internal Audit? Here’s How to Pass It.
If you are seeking to get the ISO 9001 certification for strongly establishing your quality assurance approach, then you might have heard about the internal audit process.
Internal auditing is one of the key processes or steppingstones for a successful ISO certification. Conducted by ISO professionals or in-house quality management officials, it helps you to discover the nonconformities and shortfalls in your quality management system (QMS) against the ISO 9001 standard’s requirements. If your organization passes the audit, it means your QMS has adequately met the requirements for ISO compliance. In other words, passing the internal audit ensures that your organization is perfectly ready for the ISO 9001 certification.
Failing an audit is what most organizations are fearful of. There are many reasons an organization can fail during the audit process. Understanding the common reasons before you start can help you.
If you have an upcoming audit planned to get your QMS certified, make sure to consider all these points to pass your audit smoothly.
Key Considerations to Pass Your ISO 9001 Internal Audit Process Smoothly
Knowing Objectives or Goals
A QMS is developed and put into place by an organization with a series of objectives or goals that it wants to achieve regarding quality assurance. The goals or objectives of your organization must be related to ISO 9001 and the QMS should be targeted to meet all of them. Objectives can be regarding anything that affects the quality of your products or services such as operations, supplier processes, inputs, packaging, delivery process and so on. The internal auditors must be made aware of of all your objectives or targets. They must measurable and be presented with proper documented evidence. Only then can the auditors monitor and review your QMS to see whether it is effectively meeting your objectives.
The most important part of auditing is checking the QMS to find any errors or nonconformities in it compared to the ISO 9001 requirements. Shortfalls can easily occur while implementing the QMS or while operating it. Auditing is required to discover any errors, probable issues, and nonconformities in the QMS. The auditors’ role is to ensure they do not happen again. However, if you are not keeping records of their findings and writing them down, it can later become difficult to prevent the same issues. Even if you have found solutions and addressed the problems following the audit, you need to again review the QMS later and make sure that the same error or nonconformity doesn’t happen again. Keeping records of every insight provided by your auditor is hence essential.
Knowing About the Latest Version of ISO 9001
Although it happens rarely, ISO standards do get revised or updated by the International Organization for Standardizations. Being an independent body handling all of the different standards, they introduce new requirements in a standard when there are changes in the industry pattern, legislative rules, or customers’ expectations. The ISO can update ISO 9001 anytime when quality expectations of customers emerge or businesses need to address some more aspects for quality commitment. It is hence essential for you to know about the standard’s latest version and implement/improvise your QMS according to that before internal auditing.
Another important aspect that your organization should consider in order to pass audits successfully is the participation of top management. The management team must be present when auditors assess the QMS. They should be engaged in the entire auditing process. Even after the auditing is completed, the management should look at the QMS overall to get further insights. By discussing their viewpoints with the auditors, they can potentially find ways to enhance the performance of the QMS apart from achieving ISO compliance.
Internal Auditing Failure: What Happens Then?
Thankfully, it is not difficult to recover your QMS from a failed internal audit. The official certification may get delayed for a time. In case your organization fails an audit, you need to gather all the noncompliance issues or errors and prepare a plan of action to correct them.
Most times, the internal auditors help in deciding the corrective actions and they can provide you with a reasonable time frame to make the corrections. When you have corrected everything, they can follow up and confirm whether all issues in your QMS are completely resolved.
Need Help with Internal Auditing?
Passing a well-planned internal auditing process is helpful to ensure that you pass the external certification audit conducted by a recognized certification body. It helps your organization to achieve ISO 9001 certification more quickly.
Carefully considering these above guidelines can help you to pass an internal audit and eventually the next stages. However, finding experienced auditors with specialization in ISO-based management systems is necessary. At Compliancehelp Consulting LLC, you can get a team of extremely skilled auditors who can review your QMS thoroughly, prepare a report of their findings, and provide you with recommendations and corrective actions to improve its ISO 9001 compliance.
Feel free to get in touch with us!
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