I don’t believe that QS standard has a ‘cut & dry’ definition that states the QMR must have this title or status. However, it does state that it must be a member of management and this individual must have defined authority to ensure that a quality system is established, implemented and maintained.
Call it what you want….. Quality Manager, Quality Management Representative or Quality Guru. I don’t believe an auditor will argue with you about the title, but the will argue with you if executive management has not identified a representative that has the defined authority.
Secondly, I tend to agree with Al. I have a problem with the Management Rep also being the lead auditor. I have witnessed in the past where QMR’s did not give findings because they did not want to make their own system and work look bad. They are able to cover things up just in time for the next surveillance audit. Also, sometimes QMR’s can have tunnel vision during an audit. They know what to look for and where to find it. I don’t know whether this is the norm or exception to the rule. I do feel if other individuals act as the lead auditor, it provides a series of checks and balances to the whole audit system.