Customer Audits and Guides

J

JodiB

#1
Customer is auditing us

We are having a supplier audit this week. They are sending three people over and are proposing to divide us into three groups to meet with them. The HSE Mgr. will meet with one person to go over HSE issues, I will meet with one person to go over QMS issues, and they want to meet with our VP Operations and Technical to discuss our operational and engineering procedures.

My question is whether the VP (who is quite competent and can answer whatever they ask although he knows jack about QMS or ISO 9001) should be talking with this person without me being there. Not because I'm on an ego trip or anything but the usual practice for a third-party audit is to have a second company representative along as a "guide". I've never been involved in a supplier audit. - Actually, this is a Potential Supplier audit.

This VP tries to cut me out of everything that (according to the other thread I started) a QM should be involved in: supplier problems, equipment failures, document control ( I find out today that he "issued" a procedure for his dept. months ago and used a project engineer in his dept. to sign the QA box !), etc. Am I being paranoid that this feels like another way of demonstrating that he operates on his own outside of the quality dept. ? Am I being practical in wanting to hear how he responds to their questions?
 
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E

energy

#2
Supplier?

Lucinda,

I know that the standard wants a customer/supplier relationship. But, a Supplier auditing you? Like, if they don't like you, they won't sell to you? Your company must want his/her product pretty bad. We try to get suppliers because of their price, but all they want is a credit report. Never heard of it. Am I missing something?

As for not being in on the audit, don't sweat it. I got politely kicked out of a potential customer meeting a couple of weeks ago because I was being honest on the timetable projected for ISO Certification. The "experts" there apparently told them something different, prior to calling me in for verification. My ex-boss, sitting along side of me, tapped my knee under the table and motioned with his thumb towards the door. Rude? Sure. Do I care? No. There was no rehearsal so I told the truth. Would I have said otherwise? Absolutely. One can always fall behind schedule. :vfunny: If you're not part of it, you aren't responsible for its success or failure. Just hurt feelings, which like bad gas, passes quickly. Don worry bout dit!:ko: :smokin:
 
J

Jim Biz

#3
Been there done that!!

Lucinda:

Only worry about the things you can change & let the top level folks hang themselves if that's the way it turns out....

Upper level folks I've dealt with tend to tell the potential customers whatever it takes to get their business --- even if they know for a fact that they have no intention of following up on what is said during the visit. (supplier audits are not nearly as demanding & formal as an audit from a registrar)

If after awhile "IF" it becomes evident to the customer that the information they have is not the whole truth. Top level folks lean directly on the Qa guy or Mgt rep to pick up the pieces for them.
 
L

Laura M

#4
I'm thinking you're the supplier here - but I see the confusion.

Don't worry - if the guys that don't know the QMS get asked a question about it, they will ask you later why you didn't tell them.

See ya & good luck,

Laura
 
M

M Greenaway

#5
Lucinda

In my experience these audits are not undertaken against any particular standard, often they are done 'ad hoc' against what the customer (assuming you meant customer audit) thinks is important to him.
 
J
#6
Re: Customer is auditing us

Lucinda said:

I find out today that he "issued" a procedure for his dept. months ago and used a project engineer in his dept. to sign the QA box. ..... Am I being paranoid that this feels like another way of demonstrating that he operates on his own outside of the quality dept. ?

Lucinda,
Are you ISO certified?

Sounds like this area is due for a doc audit. Then when you find this procedure issue a NC for not having the procedure properly approved. It should be interesting to see his CA.

No I don't think you're being paranoid. This manager needs to be reined in some. Not completely sure how you can do this but you'll probably need some high powered help. (like his boss)

James
 

E Wall

Just Me!
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Been there recently...

We recently had Lucent Technologies audit us (they are the customer - we're the supplier). They also had several people here and split out the interviewing into 2 teams.

We were pretty stretched out, but basically everyone was told that if they weren't 100% sure they would be answering a question correctly (clarification issues only not a matter of 'we don't do this what should I say') - to contact either the QA Mgr or me and wait until one of us was there to assist.

It worked out pretty well. Was VERY intense. They weren't auditing our compliance to any standard. They had their own developed 'best business practice' questionaire that is audited to.

It is a good reality check to have a customer come in and say hey These are the things that are important to us. This supports our efforts to develop our system beyond basic compliance to the ISO standard.

Eileen
 

gpainter

Quite Involved in Discussions
#8
I am the ISO Coordinator for our company and am usually involved in potential customer audits. Usually the Salesperson calls me in. It is really hard for companies to see beyond the compliance/quality aspect of ISO and realize that it is the way you do business. Sometimes as stated in a post they are afraid of honesty. It gets very frustrating at times, but keep :) All of the audits that I have been involved in were ISO/QS based with additions. Generally the customer brought the Purchasing Manager, Engineer,Quality Manager and an Auditor.
 
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Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#10
Lucinda,

If I understand correctly, I think you have a potential customer coming to visit you -- from the potential customer's viewpoint, they are doing an audit of a potential supplier (you), correct?

Assuming the above is correct, I say let the jerk VP of Ops and Technical meet alone with the potential customer. If I know you from your posts, you have taught him the correct ways to do things and taught him where to get answers to any questions about anything related to the QMS, so he has no legitimate gripe to you for not doing your job properly. I see him as a maverick who thinks he can do whatever he wants outside the system whenever he wants to to "get the job done". (Been there, lived thru that). So, if the auditor sees the VP's shennanigans and he gets nailed for it this may be what you need to get him reigned in a bit. Or, he will quickly realize his bacon is in the fire and come crying to you to help him during the audit claiming something like "Lucinda is really great -- she handles all of this stuff herself". At which time maybe he'll realize the value of playing by the rules in the future -- but don't count on it.

Good luck!
 
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