API Q1 Certification Activation - Waiting, Waiting, and Waiting...

Greetings to all! How long does API usually take to review Q1 Audit responses once a Company submits its formal replies?

I'm the Quality Manager of a small, family-owned, yet very diversified Company that recently achieved certification to ISO 9001:2008 and AS9100C (without design). We wanted to obtain Q1 9th Edition with design for our Energy Division, and underwent our API Stage 1 and 2 Certification Audit the second week of October, 2016. Although the API Auditor mentioned that the maturity of our QMS was one of the best he has seen, we eventually had 10 findings (nine minors and one major, the major being for Design & Development). We confidently submitted our formal responses believing that our API Certificate was just around the corner. WRONG!!! :sarcasm: It took more than one month to receive API's first follow-up feedback where all but five findings remain unresolved (including the major). We refined our responses and submitted the next day (including further documented evidence of full compliance). We're now approaching week two with no further API status.

Does that mean Companies have to wait at least a month (or longer) for each API response? This long wait seems to lead to poor Customer Satisfaction per API Q1 9th Edition Sec. 6.2.1 while wrecking havoc on Risk Assessment and Manager per API Q1 9th Edition Sec. 5.3 related to impact on delivery (my Company's Q1 Certificate:magic:). I know my Company isn't the only facility undergoing API Q1 certification while API has other Certification Programs to handle, yet it would be nice if API lead by example by ensuring enough resources for quick turn-around of audit reviews especially small Companies eager to exploit the coveted API Q1 Certificate.

Sidney Vianna

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Welcome to The Cove. As API QR is the only certification body which can issue a recognized API Q1 certificate, I am not sure what is their standard review time for corrective action responses.

The one thing that the applicant can do, in order to expedite the recommendation for certification is to ensure that appropriate (root) cause analysis is performed. Many times, inadequate corrective actions, due to superficial cause analysis are rejected. You mentioned you have submitted enhanced responses for the previously rejected CA plans. Hopefully, they will be accepted and your certification package can proceed for licensing.

Good luck.
Thanks for your quick feedback, Sidney. API's initial feedback mostly requested clarification and further documented evidence, while the major was the only finding that necessitated rewrite of the root cause (more whys) and refined corrective action. We have no problem revamping our permanent resolutions. We're just concerned that API takes so long to perform their audit reviews once Companies submit their responses (and subsequent responses). I realize that API Associates review audits on a first in - first out basis, but someone at API should begin to wonder whenever these reviews take exceptionally long to be reviewed especially in today's society where nanoseconds separate who survives and who does not.

The other missing piece is the apparent lack of timeline status towards any review or resolution. I actually don't mind standing in line if I see how long the line is. At least I know WHY I'm standing in line so long. For API with all its resources and regard towards Customer Service, it's appalling that there is no timeline traceability towards audit reviews. The key is visibility, and without it small Companies such as mine are left wondering whether it will take six days or six months before anything happens.

Anyway, glad to be part of the Forum even though I'm venting my frustrations due to the long waits between API feedback. Again, if we knew it takes a month before getting anything back, we don't have to hold our breath waiting for the eventual.
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Sidney Vianna

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You might have seen this on their website, but for the benefit of others who might be on a similar situation, they state:

QUESTION: How are audit reports reviewed in terms of priority and how long does it take to complete an audit review from the time the auditor uploads the audit report until all reviews are complete and a licensing and/or registration decision is made?

API generally processes audits on a “first-in, first-out” basis. The cycle time starts when a facility’s audit report is uploaded into myCerts. At this point the audit is available for the facility to respond to nonconformities with their corrective actions. Generally, once the client facility has answered all nonconformities with appropriate corrective actions and/or API queries, the audit is reviewed by compliance, management system, and technical experts before a final licensing and/or certification decision is made. The cycle time to complete an individual audit is largely a function of the number of audits in process at a given time, complexity of the audit and findings, and the timeliness of client responses to nonconformities with appropriate and acceptable corrective actions.