Charlie's View - Contract Auditing and Other Stuff

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
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I'm from the 9858 world, as well. Which is how I got into ISO and then QS...

Charlie's View:

Subject: Re: Q: Registration Costs /.../Scalies/Randall/Scalies
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1999 08:33:49 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion <[email protected]>

From: Charley Scalies <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Q: Registration Costs /../Scalies/Randall/Scalies

> From: Richard Randall
> Do you perform audits for any ISO 9000 registrars (as a contract auditor)? If
> not, you should look into it. The experience of auditing a hundred facilities
> or so may change your opinion.

No. I prefer not to live out of my suitcase. I did enough of that before. Besides, it's much more fun being in the pig pen.

Let me give you my assessment of all the very thoughtful and sincere responses, from people with far more on site auditing experience than me, to my (purposefully) provocative commentary.

The guidelines are OK because not every company is the same and not every company is prepared to be audited. Some, in fact, are close to being basket cases, so the auditor (understandably) needs more time to work through the muck. Some auditors even see the need to "help" them through the process. (I always wonder how much "help" it takes for an auditor to cross over the line.) Also, the guidelines are high because not every auditor has the experience to perform the job in the shortest possible time. The experienced ones can, but the less experienced will have difficulty. Finally, "they" need to control the number of audit days to keep less than reputable registrars from low balling just to get work.

This sounds to me like the dumbing down of the registration process. This sounds like increasing the screen in the filter so that more junk can flow through. This sounds like the system is set up to accommodate the supplier not the customer (oops, isn't that backwards?) Isn't this all beginning to sound similar to our system of public education? Isn't is beginning to sound like the ISO version of the $1500 toilet seat.

For my money, let the free market prevail. If I find a registrar with more experienced auditors, and if I am ready for them to assess my compliance then I should be able to enjoy the benefit of a price that isn't burdened by welfare for registrars. If there are "greedy" registrars out there who will low ball a job and then cut corners, let the accrediting body find appropriate discernibles to measure the quality of their work. If the accrediting body really needs to set specific time standards to audit a very generic, non-specific spec then, frankly, I question its competence.

As for my own experience at being able to assess the effectiveness of a quality system, I came out of the MIL-Q-98568A world. For those who may not be familiar with it, it's ISO9000's granddaddy. In fact, when I first read ISO9000 it was deja vu all over again.

During my many years of service, I went on, participated in and reviewed the results of a great many supplier field surveys, most of which required no more than 2 man days on average for small to medium sized firms. (under 250 people.) That was more than enough time to determine the supplier's (or our own) ability to meet customer requirements - provided the reviewers were capable themselves. I was never surprised by what happened later, under either circumstance. Hmmm. How about we measure the effectiveness of registrars by the customer satisfaction rating of all its registrants? Isn't that what it's really all about? That would bring them into the mud with the rest of us piggies, wouldn't it?

Finally (it's about time, huh?) I want to be certain that everyone understands the high regard I have for Brian and Richard. I would not dream of challenging them on audit technique or any matter of ISO fact. However, I see a disjoint here. One that I might not see if I were in their world.

Charley
 
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