Posts Tagged ‘auditor’

During an internal audit, get honest feedback from employees

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

The internal audit process is an extremely important part of any ISO-based quality or environmental management system. It can be the “make it or break it” process that will determine just how effective your system will be based on the proper input from employees. Unfortunately, as part of the natural human tendency to avoid anyone with the title of “auditor”, people will often treat the internal auditor as someone to avoid in fear of being singled out or used as an example.

“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.” – Hunter S. Thompson

This is why companies must give some good thought as to the audit team they will select. Not only must the auditor be a good communicator and data analyzer, the auditor must be able to get people to want to talk about what they do and how they do it.

Sure, there is plenty of guidance as to what makes a good auditor in ISO 19011. In fact, some of the terms used to describe auditor qualities in 19011 sound like a scouts honor pledge – honest, trustworthy, loyal, brave, etc… (Well, OK, maybe not those last three!) Certain stated qualities are important, but there are some things that just go by feel – is the person approachable, enthusiastic, and positive? Can they express themselves well and “message” people who are overly sensitive to anything that may seem like criticism, like a minor nonconformance?

If it is becoming a real chore getting the right people in your organization to perform internal audits, consider the option of an expert and true auditing professional conducting your audits – it may be the smart choice. Contact G3 Solutions today to find out just how affordable and value-added contracting/outsourcing your internal audits can be!

Management Review – Are you meeting just for ISO reasons?

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The scenario is common in many companies. Quality planning meetings are held by top management on a regular basis, usually once a month or more, with discussions of key metrics, process performance, corrective actions, along with a host of other items. Notes are taken, actions are assigned and items are followed up on during the next meeting. So the question must be asked – why do we need a separate “Management Review” meeting? Just to fulfill an ISO requirement?

This is a good question. Having an official “Management Review” meeting (sometimes done by companies only once per year) just to make sure the 3rd party registrar auditor is happy can be quite an exercise in wasting time and reinforcing some unconstructive, even negative views of having a quality system in place. Employees (many of them in the ranks of top management) begin to question the value of the process.

Don’t let this happen to your organization!

Most quality standards such as ISO 9001, ISO/TS 16949, AS9100, ISO 13485, ISO 17025 and others have the requirement of management reviewing their quality system at defined intervals to ensure it is working as a catalyst for process effectiveness and/or improvement. A perfect opportunity to fulfill this requirement can be made during those normal meetings when top management is discussing various quality issues such as production scheduling or account reviews.

One method to efficiently maximize meeting time is to break down those ISO 9001-based requirements found in clauses 5.6.2 and 5.6.3 and review those topics during different meetings. Some topics such as quality metrics and measurables should be reviewed frequently while others such as the review of the quality policy can be looked once per year or as needed. Over the span of a year, all topics can be reviewed as part of the normal planning process. Providing you have the notes and objective evidence to show that all required items were part of the meetings, you have covered the management review requirement.

Remember, the whole point of having a review of the quality management system is to effectively facilitate continual improvement – not to just to fulfill a requirement.

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