Want to Pass Your Quality Audit? Here Are Some Dos and Don’ts to Consider
The Quality audit is the key to success in the ISO 9001 certification, the international accreditation for quality management in businesses. The purpose for doing an audit is to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented QMS (Quality Management System) and the organization’s overall compliance with the ISO 9001 standard’s requirements. Hence, passing the audit is a basic and crucial step to getting the ISO certificate. For that, you need to know some quality audit dos and don’ts. Understanding the process well and preparing for it ahead can help you to smoothly pass the audit and also get fruitful outcomes from it. This blog attempts to help you with the audit by explaining all its key requisites as well as mistakes to avoid.
Quality Audit Dos and Don’ts that You Should Know
There are several aspects that are the foundation of a successful quality audit. Hence, you need to consider them while planning your audit process.
Do Cooperate and Communicate with the Auditors
After appointing the team of auditors, you need to be cooperative and polite with the auditors so that there are no barriers to communication between you. The auditors must be involved in the planning and preparation stage. They should know what the scope of the audit is, who ae the coordinators are, who the ones they can interview are, and what to expect from your quality processes. You should make calls and communicate with auditors in advance to discuss all these before the actual audit begins. Therefore, communication is important between both parties.
Do Make Your Employees Aware
Whenever a quality audit is scheduled, alert your employees, especially the quality assurance personnel in your organization. You should inform them as much ahead of time as possible. This helps them to prepare to face the interview and also fine-tune the procedures of quality management so that auditors may find negligible inadequacies.
Do Make All the Documents Available
All the records and documentation regarding your QMS should be properly arranged so that the auditors can quickly assess them. They might need certain documents while going through the process. Therefore, you need to classify and label them well so that you can quickly search for a document when asked by an auditor.
Do Accompany the Auditors
Even though different employees are there accompanying the auditors and cooperating with them in the audit process, an expert or quality manager should also accompany them through the process. Active involvement of an expert is crucial because whenever a concern or issue is identified, the person can immediately ask the auditors about its causes and the appropriate solutions.
Do Aim to Take Notes and Learn from the Audit
Your quality managers should be keen to learn from the audit process. Therefore, pay attention to the questions being asked and counteract them with your doubts or opinions. They should prepare a checklist of relevant questions and concerns and ask about them when the auditors have done their evaluation and interviews. Also, take notes of the auditors’ findings or observations from the audit so that you can enquire about them later and get more detailed clarification. This ensures none of the weaknesses or issues found out the audit process remains unknown to you so you can plan to correct them.
Do Share the Audit Report with Managers of Your Organization
Even though the audit is conducted on the procedures related to the quality management of your organization, it is necessary to share the audit report with other departments’ managers. This ensures that everyone in the organization is aware of the issues and conformity of your QMS to the ISO standard. There may be some issues that may be related to other departments and hence they will need to resolve them. Therefore, it is necessary to inform every department head about the audit findings.
While you must be considerate about these vital facts, these are some mistakes you need to avoid making during the quality audit.
Do Not Get Overwhelmed by the Complexities
Getting overwhelmed or stressed about the seriousness and complexity of the audit procedure is one of the greatest mistakes. As quality management involves an extensive set of processes and a lot of employees, most organizations face difficulties in executing their audits successfully. It is hence best to prepare for the process months ahead and hire some professional internal auditors who can carry out a preliminary internal audit of your processes before the external auditors do that.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions
Even though the auditors say that they are done and wrap up with conclusions, you should not hesitate to ask questions about any of the audit outcomes. This ensures that you are not confused or clueless about any observation after they have left.
Don’t Accept any Usual Templates
Auditors provide an audit template that helps you to understand the audit criteria. Many times, a template can be used for quality audits for several industries. However, the templates need customization before every audit to ensure it fits with the specific processes of the business. Therefore, if your chosen auditor just provides a general template, ask for the customized one.
Don’t Argue or Compel Your Opinions on Auditors
Auditors must be free to share whatever they observed and write them down in the report. You should not be overriding their ideas or dictating them. Whatever positive or negative is presented in the report, you must acknowledge it.
While conducting an audit process is the prerequisite for achieving ISO 9001, you must be aware of these quality audit dos and don’ts to make sure you get useful outcomes out of it. Successful audits lead to successful certification and there is no doubt about that. If your audit process goes well and you get clear views of your processes’ inefficiencies and nonconformities, then you can rectify all of them and ensure absolute compliance with the standard.
Need help with your quality audit? Our highly expertise internal auditors at Compliancehelp Consulting LLC can help you prepare for the actual external audit and lead your business to certification success. Get in touch today!