Customer Right to View Certification Body Audit Reports?

C

chrisoleary

#1
Just a quick question to poll opinion on the right of a customer to view a certification body audit report.
As a Lead Auditor I issue audit notifications ahead of supplier audits and request required documented procedures such that document review can be conducted externally prior to the audit.
In addition the audit notification includes a request for a copy of the last two accreditated body audit reports.
For the most part suppliers are keen and eager to supply all documents readily.

However, right now I have a supplier who is reluctant for the customer to conduct a QMS Audit and cites that they have a certificate awarded by a reputable accreditated body so do not need or wish for a customer QMS Audit.

In addition they appear unwilling to supply the copies of the accredited body audit reports.

What rights does a customer have to request the accredited body audit report?
 
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A

alspread

#2
It is not uncommon in the aerospeca world. They don't all ask for it, but some customers insist upon it.

In fact Pratt & Whitney has it written into their supplier quality manual that the supplier must permit read-only access to the supplier's report directly through OASIS.
 
J

JaxQC

#3
Ring, Ring.

That would be the alarm bell ringing in the back of your head. Every time I’ve gotten into this type of audit with a supplier, guess what, there was a reason why.

Most suppliers would be glad to have a Customer see 1) that they have an excellent program and no issues, 2) minor items but which they plan to correct and improve on. Suppliers don’t want Customers to see items that they cannot fix or don’t want to fix due to effort or money. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t speak well of the management.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#4
What rights does a customer have to request the accredited body audit report?
In principle, such request is appropriate. Actually, as a customer, I could use the CB audit report to help me targeting aspects of the supplier's system to be assessed.

I do agree, however, that suppliers have a right to be concerned with multiple and redundant system audits. After all, certification to a QMS standard should provide some level of assurance that a system exists.

Customer audits should be focussed on products and processes that apply to them. But, having said that, I would be leery of suppliers that are unwilling to share their CB audit results with me (the customer).
 

WCHorn

Rubber, Too Glamorous?
Trusted Information Resource
#5
I don't send CB reports to customers. :nope:

I always offer customers the opportunity to review CB reports at our location, but I don't make copies of them for anyone to take away. I would offer read-only capability on OASIS if absolutely necessary, but I don't want to.

Most of our customers have dealings with our competitors; it's too easy, accidentally or on purpose, for some of that information to end up at a competitor. Audit reports may have information that a competitor can take advantage of.

I agree with Sidney; second-party QMS audits are usually duplicative and should be avoided. One reason for third-party certification is to avoid duplication. Second-party audits should be product/process specific.
 
J

JaneB

#6
What rights does a customer have to request the accredited body audit report?
None whatsoever- unless it's written into a contract or similar agreement.
But the fact that a customer doesn't have a right to request them doesn't mean they can't ask for them or wish to see them.

I assume from what you say that you are the Lead Auditor for a customer, intending or performing audits on suppliers, for customers?

That said, I think suppliers are quite within their rights to not supply the reports externally. They may choose to make them available for inspection at their premises. After all - they don't know you, they have no agreement with you, they don't have any assurance of the standard or competence of your auditing, and they have no knowledge of what might become of such audit reports.

That they are reluctant may indicate a possible problem. It also may not; it may just indicate a great amount of caution or a disinclination to undergo multiple audits, with which I agree. That's supposed to be one of the reasons for external certification! I've seen some customer audits done very badly by very ill-trained auditors and result in incomprehensible reports, straying far outside the boundaries of mere supplier audits and resulting in a huge waste of time for the poor supplier, and endless circular reinvention of wheels for zero gain.

It isn't always fair to take the 'no smoke without fire' stance, or assume guilty unless proven innocent. Is there a compromise that could work for both parties?

Ultimately of course, the supplier is going to have to make a commercial decision based on how much they want this customer's business as to how far they are willing to go in co-operating.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#7
I'll put it into simpler terms....

You asked
What rights does a customer have to request the accredited body audit report?
That's easy, they have every right "to ask" and they also have the right to take their business elsewhere.
 
D

DrM2u

#8
Just a quick question to poll opinion on the right of a customer to view a certification body audit report.
As a Lead Auditor I issue audit notifications ahead of supplier audits and request required documented procedures such that document review can be conducted externally prior to the audit.
In addition the audit notification includes a request for a copy of the last two accreditated body audit reports.
For the most part suppliers are keen and eager to supply all documents readily.

However, right now I have a supplier who is reluctant for the customer to conduct a QMS Audit and cites that they have a certificate awarded by a reputable accreditated body so do not need or wish for a customer QMS Audit.

In addition they appear unwilling to supply the copies of the accredited body audit reports.

What rights does a customer have to request the accredited body audit report?
Well, you definitely have the right to take your business somewhere else! As a customer, you outline to your supplier what are your requirements in order to satisfy the requirement of, let's say, ISO 9001 clause 4.1 last paragraph. The supplier has to decide of they are willing to comply with your requirements as part of doing business with you, otherwise it is grounds for either party to terminate any contractual agreements. Usually a red flag goes WAAAAY UP when a supplier is reluctant to let a customer audit them and tries to hide behind a certificate.

Here is one other option you have. Let's assume that you have repeated problems with this supplier (quality, delivery, lack of response to action requests, etc). You can approach their registrar with a formal complaint regarding your supplier's performance and ask that they include a follow-up on your problems into their future surveillance audits. You can also ask if it is acceptable for them to whitness the audit, although this also implies supplier's approval. If you do not receive the desired cooperation from the registrar, then you can take it higher with their accreditation body and ask them to look into the practices of this registrar with regards to criteria for registering their clients. This usually puts the registrar in a pickle because they don't like being audited by the accreditation bodies any more than you like being audited by the IRS.
 
D

DrM2u

#9
None whatsoever- unless it's written into a contract or similar agreement.
But the fact that a customer doesn't have a right to request them doesn't mean they can't ask for them or wish to see them.

I assume from what you say that you are the Lead Auditor for a customer, intending or performing audits on suppliers, for customers?

That said, I think suppliers are quite within their rights to not supply the reports externally. They may choose to make them available for inspection at their premises. After all - they don't know you, they have no agreement with you, they don't have any assurance of the standard or competence of your auditing, and they have no knowledge of what might become of such audit reports.

That they are reluctant may indicate a possible problem. It also may not; it may just indicate a great amount of caution or a disinclination to undergo multiple audits, with which I agree. That's supposed to be one of the reasons for external certification! I've seen some customer audits done very badly by very ill-trained auditors and result in incomprehensible reports, straying far outside the boundaries of mere supplier audits and resulting in a huge waste of time for the poor supplier, and endless circular reinvention of wheels for zero gain.

It isn't always fair to take the 'no smoke without fire' stance, or assume guilty unless proven innocent. Is there a compromise that could work for both parties?

Ultimately of course, the supplier is going to have to make a commercial decision based on how much they want this customer's business as to how far they are willing to go in co-operating.
I strongly agree with Jane's comments regarding the position the suppliers are put in by multiple audits. They can be quite counterproductive sometimes and some are just tired of having to go through an external audit on a monthly basis just because the customer requires it. On the other hand, it is the supplier's responsibility to identify customer's requirements (see clause 7.2) before making any commitments ... :confused:
 
B

brahmaiah

#10
Just a quick question to poll opinion on the right of a customer to view a certification body audit report.
As a Lead Auditor I issue audit notifications ahead of supplier audits and request required documented procedures such that document review can be conducted externally prior to the audit.
In addition the audit notification includes a request for a copy of the last two accreditated body audit reports.
For the most part suppliers are keen and eager to supply all documents readily.

However, right now I have a supplier who is reluctant for the customer to conduct a QMS Audit and cites that they have a certificate awarded by a reputable accreditated body so do not need or wish for a customer QMS Audit.

In addition they appear unwilling to supply the copies of the accredited body audit reports.

What rights does a customer have to request the accredited body audit report?
It entirely depends on the contract you have with your supplier and your bargaining strength.The standard does not guarantee you any thing on this except that you can give an NC in your supplier audit report.
It appears that your supplier has a monopoly and is in a sellers market.

V.J.Brahmaiah
 
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