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Surviving internal auditing
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DescriptionSurviving internal auditing
Surviving internal auditing
Once you’ve got to grips with the main requirements of ISO 9001, you need to understand how to get the best from internal audits.
One of the requirements of ISO 9001 is that you ‘shall conduct internal audits at planned intervals to determine whether the quality management system (QMS) conforms to the requirements of ISO 9001 and to the requirements established by the organisation; and is effectively implemented and maintained.’
In order to meet and satisfy this requirement, organisations must continually review their QMS to:
ensure its continuing suitability and success
reveal defects, danger spots or irregularities
suggest possible improvements
eliminate wastage or loss
check the effectiveness of management at all levels
be sure that managerial objectives and methods are effective and can achieve the desired result
With the publication of ISO 9000:2001, auditors now have to demonstrate their competence in more areas than before. Priorities now are not only on the structure, content and terminology of the revised standards, but also on the underlying quality management principles. This means that auditors are now required to understand the organisation’s activities and processes. In addition, they must be able to appropriately audit against the requirements of the standard in relation to the organisation’s objectives.
As a minimum, auditors must demonstrate competence in:
the requirements of ISO 9001
the concepts and terminology of ISO 9000
the eight quality management principles, namely:
- customer focus
- involvement of people
- a process approach
- a system approach to management
- continual improvement
- a factual approach to decision-making
- mutually beneficial supplier relationships
They should also show a general understanding of the performance improvement guidelines of ISO 9004, and a familiarity with the latest draft of the auditing guidance standard ISO 19011.
Auditing generally follows a linear process starting with establishing the criteria against which you are auditing and leading to a report concluding whether the criteria is being met. Should the audit find problems with the performance of a process, then you will implement corrective action aimed at preventing recurrence.
Purpose of an audit
The primary purpose of an audit is to enable organisations to evaluate their process management systems, determine deficiencies, and generate cost effective and efficient solutions. An audit is performed to check practice against procedure, and to thoroughly document any differences.
Essentially, it is used to measure an organisation’s ability to do what it says it is going to do.
The type and content of any first party internal quality audit will vary according to the size and activities of the organisation. Its purpose is to:
identify potential danger spots
verify that corrective action has been successfully achieved
provide a comparison between the QMS objectives and what is actually being done
confirm that everything is working efficiently
identify non-compliance with previously issued instructions
identify deficiencies within the QMS
recommend any corrective actions that could ...
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