Auditor suggested company find a higher purpose for Internal Audits

A

alehman

#1
The small (20+) company I work for just received a recommendation for certification. In the auditor's report, he stated that we consider expanding the role of the Internal Audit process and that simply completing audits to a schedule implies that there is no higher purpose. My question is: what would be a higher purpose for the internal audit other than checking the processes against the Quality Manual and the ISO 9001:2008 standards? Does anyone have suggestions as to how we could meet this auditor's suggestion? He made it clear that suggestions should be implemented if at all possible.

Thanks.
 
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B

BadgerMan

#2
what would be a higher purpose for the internal audit other than checking the processes against the Quality Manual and the ISO 9001:2008 standards?
To determine if the QMS processes are implemented and effective.
 
A

alehman

#5
:thanx:

Thanks for your response. It was also my first response, and that is what we are doing. We are a research and development/engineering company that has a small manufacturing component. We don't have the ability to use any of his suggestions such as Lean Manufacturing or 5S. I am not sure how to make the audits more than they are right now which is to make sure that we are doing what we say we do.
 
D

Duke Okes

#6
:thanx:
Thanks for your response. It was also my first response, and that is what we are doing. We are a research and development/engineering company that has a small manufacturing component. We don't have the ability to use any of his suggestions such as Lean Manufacturing or 5S. I am not sure how to make the audits more than they are right now which is to make sure that we are doing what we say we do.
Doing what you say you do is compliance focused. Seeing whether or not the system is delivering what you'd hoped for (e.g., organizational objectives) is performance focused.

In addition you could consider audits as part of your risk management process, looking for things which aren't required but might be useful.
 

Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
:thanx:

Thanks for your response. It was also my first response, and that is what we are doing. We are a research and development/engineering company that has a small manufacturing component. We don't have the ability to use any of his suggestions such as Lean Manufacturing or 5S. I am not sure how to make the audits more than they are right now which is to make sure that we are doing what we say we do.
In the early stages of the life cycle of a QMS I think that auditing for conformance is the right thing to do. Make sure that the system satisfies the standard and that it is being worked to.

However, in a little while, you will find that the usefulness of these audits diminishes and so it is time to move on to looking for improvements - effectiveness, efficiency are 2 of the main things to look at and where can you reduce bureaucracy or simplify processes?
 
#8
The challenge of any internal audit programme is to get past simple 'do we follow process/procedures'. Sadly, that is what is mainly taught in many auditor course, written in audit books etc. As has been posted by the previous contributors, it's all about effectiveness. That comes from careful scheduling and planning for each audit - so that the focus of the audit is based on risk and looks at the mitigation of risk that the QMS contributes. This is NOT taught in most courses...

As Colin says, initially, there's a place for compliance only audits, but soon after, the game must be upped. Try sitting down with your management and look at what risks could be affecting - planned changes, new things etc. - the implementation of the QMS. Then go and audit that.

BTW - the auditor was doing you a bit of a favor which is nice to read about...
 
Last edited:

qusys

Trusted Information Resource
#9
:thanx:

Thanks for your response. It was also my first response, and that is what we are doing. We are a research and development/engineering company that has a small manufacturing component. We don't have the ability to use any of his suggestions such as Lean Manufacturing or 5S. I am not sure how to make the audits more than they are right now which is to make sure that we are doing what we say we do.
You could also assess to highlight the points of strength of the organization as well . This is important for the continuos improvement process.:bigwave:
 
A

alehman

#10
Thank you for all the help. And yes, the auditor was very helpful and gave us the benefit of the doubt on many issues. There was at least one that he told us could have been a non-conformance but he could see we were dedicated to the process and would follow his recommendations. We have already implemented many of the changes he suggested. The entire ISO process has already had a visible improvement on our small company so we are looking to continue that anyway we can.
 
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