Everyone is familiar with the idea of audits. One place we are all aware of audits is in the banking industry. For years, the government has required banks to submit to periodic audits by government agencies and/or external companies who specialise in auditing. Few people want to put their money in a bank where there are no controls such as periodic audits. If there are no audits, you have no way of knowing if your bank is using your money well. If the bank is not using your money well the bank could easily fail - then you could lose all of your money.
Audits in manufacturing industries are not new. Customer audits have been going on for years. But only recently has the idea of third party audits become reality. This is in large part due to the adoption in Europe of ISO 9000 and other international standards.
The intent of third party audits is to provide assurance that a company complies with a standard or specification.
Many people say that third party audits will eliminate customer audits. This has not been the case up to now in part because customers still see the need to ensure compliance to their specific requirements. Even QS 9000, specific to Ford, GM and Chrysler suppliers, does not eliminate customer audits.
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