Audits - How best to prepare?

Eric GEric G PQ Systems Employee
edited November 2017 in Quality Discussion
Few things trigger an acute case of anxiety like an upcoming Audit. Whether its for a customer or a re-accreditation on a particular standard, an evaluation or inspection of you process can be an uncomfortable position to be in.

How have you or your company approached audits? Do you arrange pre-audit meetings to ensure all documentation and requirements have been met? Do you conduct internal audits to catch issues before the real audit? What other things have been successful in preparing for an upcoming audit?

Please share your thoughts, experiences, or questions here!

Comments

  • How do you get everyone on line for an audit?  Isn't it just a quality thing is what I always hear...
  • We haven't had our transition audit yet and I'm curious about your statement, "the IATF is applying pressure to registrars to have an average of 4.5 findings per audit." Can you elaborate? 
  • To skat - this was a direct quote from our registrar during IATF transition training. If they do not comply they will be subject to witness audits from the IATF until they reach a level they are satisfied with. It is an odd requirement that the registrar is having difficulty with.
    skat said:
    We haven't had our transition audit yet and I'm curious about your statement, "the IATF is applying pressure to registrars to have an average of 4.5 findings per audit." Can you elaborate? 

  • Thanks, Tony. Can you share the CB company name?

  • Certification Body

    Which registrar (the company name) made the statement? Are you able to share which registrar made the statement?

  • SRI Registrars. The statement is what I said. "the IATF is applying pressure to registrars to have an average of 4.5 findings per audit." Our auditor also expressed during our last surveillance audit that the IATF requires auditors to write nonconformances.
  • Thanks for the clarification.
  • The best time to prepare for the next audit is 1 hour after the auditor has left, in my experience.  While the pain is fresh and the adrenelin is still running is the best time to list a) the things that did go wrong, including findings; 2) the things they might have found if you had not distracted them with questions, 3) the internal items you know have to be established at the next audit, 4) the things they tell you, or strongly hint, they will look for next time.  These are all placed on an action plan by priority, and on a Gantt Chart by priority with milestones for accomplishment and tombstones if they are not.

  • Having recently graduated from the AIAG IATF 5 day lead auditor course, our instructor informed our class that "they" - the IAOB ?-  actually use an individuals cart to track findings by auditor against a goal - a process capability study.  If your auditor is nowhere near that "goal" a witness audit - similar to,  but far more painful than an IRS audit - will be in order.I have endured both.   In a witness audit, no prisoners are taken, any bodies under the carpet will be uncovered, and scorched earth is the plan ofthe day.  IATF is TSteroids
  • Re: requirements to write NCR's - Since there has been a drastic decrease in the number of TS auditors, and the number of IATF auditors is very few, I think they are more likely to write minor's rather than majors.  The reason is that a major requires  re-visit for verification, and there is not enough time and people now to perform regular audits.  The IATF & IAOB in a meaningless rush to get IATF on the street in OCT 2016 did not consider the capability of the people who would have to implement this greatly bloated standard and the people who have to audit it.  Overall process capability of the entire sytem was never considered. Doubtless Dr.Deming would have made much of this. 

  • My approach to this question is a little different. I am of the belief that if the QMS is part of the normal every day business processes, there should not be much preparation required. They should be auditing you on your processes on which you execute daily. IMO, last minute scrambling occurs when the QMS is not regularly utilized and the employees are not familiar with the procedures. 
    However, I do think internal audits are a good approach to get employees in the practice of undergoing audits. Our company prefers to outsource internal audits to a consulting company. 
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