Quality Auditing Techniques that are Critical Success Factors for Businesses
Internal quality auditing is a major improvement tool for businesses that they can routinely conduct to understand processes that need to be corrected or made more efficient. While it might appear to you that auditing is a plain sailing regular task for organizations, it is not always. There are obvious quality auditing techniques and underlying principles that they need to follow to pass the audit smoothly and derive constructive outcomes from it.
Every organization that has a standardized QMS (Quality Management System) needs to be reminded of these techniques and principles which are like the success factors for their internal quality audits.
Quality Auditing Techniques and Principles to Help You Succeed
Determine a Goal
Every time you audit your QMS, you need to start by setting up a clear goal. The clearer you are about the purpose or goal, the more valuable the process of auditing becomes. Setting the goal is a lot easier. You need to just ask a few questions like why this audit is required now, are you looking for risks or for improvements, or how will the audit take place.
Appoint a Team and Garner Organizational Support
Effective internal auditing is beyond just assessing your QMS and providing ideas for improvements. It is a methodical process that requires technical expertise and proactive participation of the members of the organization. Everyone, from the top management team to departmental executives, should know when it is performed and provide the necessary support when required.
Often organizations outsource an expert team of auditors from a professional quality assurance agency to conduct the internal audit instead of letting their in-house officials do it. You should do that too to ensure the audit is unbiased, objective, realistic, and resolute.
If you are genuine about the audit, then it is essential to interview the employees, especially those in charge of Quality Control (QC). You should ask them appropriate questions to delve deep into the issues and plan your audit procedure well. Some of the questions for instance are:
• What are their current roles?
• How efficiently the QC processes are running?
• What are the shortcomings and risks they have identified?
• What are the key objectives of QC processes and how far are they achieved?
• What according to them can be improved?
Get Your Voicing Approach Right
Since the auditing process is ultimately about presenting a list of corrections or improvements to the QC staff, you need to set your tone right. Whatever observations are presented by the auditors in the report, you should present them to the staff as suggestions instead of criticism.
You should phrase any corrective actions in a constructive manner and try to make a statement of what you want from them. If you just rigidly state the specific actions or improvements, the staff can be offended and may not follow whatever you specified.
Break Down the Process
Most quality audits are huge in scope. This is because there are a vast number of processes that lead to production and impact the quality of products/services. Also, the greater number of processes you cover in the audit, the better it is. However, that can be tedious for the auditors and preparing the final report can be chaotic. With so many things assimilated in the report, the audit process may lose its actual depth.
It is therefore suggested to divide the entire process into a few segments. Segmenting the entire auditing process can help you to focus on different issues at a time and address them. In the end, you can conclude with outcomes/observations from each segment and have a much wider probe report.
Relate to the Context of the QC Processes
To make your audit successful, it is highly crucial to put forth the corrective measures suggested by the auditors in relevance to your QC processes. This means the staff must get the suggestions based on actual and demonstrable evidence. They would be then able to relate them to the context of QC processes and determine how well the suggestions can be applied.
Appreciate Everything about the Audit Process
Even though internal audits look like inspections, you are not supposed to think of them as crucial examinations of your QC approach. If you become too apprehensive about the process, then you would focus more on the shortcomings and faults, instead of focusing on the constructive side. Your rigid approach can even turn off your staff and they may even become reluctant to support it. It is therefore essential to get away from any apprehensions and be appreciative of the audit feedback, considering it is value-adding to your business.
You need to be aware of these fundamental quality auditing techniques and principles to turn your internal audit highly advantageous for the business. Successful auditing has a myriad of benefits too. It helps you to identify improvements, motivate staff, remove inconsistencies in processes, make management responsible, and maintain compliance with quality management standards. All you need is meticulous planning, an expert internal auditing team, understanding and trained staff, and most importantly, an appreciative and positive mindset.
Is it time to conduct an internal quality audit in your organization? Well, remember these techniques and to have the best professional internal auditors leading the process, contact us at Compliancehelp Consulting LLC. We are an ISO consultancy team working to assist organizations in their certifications, audits, and compliance procedures.