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Differences in CB expectations between the US and Europe

ShortFatBloke

Starting to get Involved
#1
This may have been asked before...

I've just come through my AS9100 surveillance audit and picked up a couple of findings on processes (The organization fails to determine and to apply the criteria and methods (including monitoring, measurements and related performance indicators) needed to ensure the effective operation and control of its processes) and Risks and Opportunities (There is no effective process for managing risks and opportunities of all COMPANY X operational and support processes).

I work for a large, US-based global corporation and am getting some interesting feedback from US colleagues on the above, i.e. that they are not audited by the CBs in the US against either of the requirements above and can't understand why I've picked up findings. I've long thought that there is a significant difference in the way US and European CBs interpret the Standard.

Anyone else had the same feeling?
 
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Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#2
Anyone else had the same feeling?
Variation between Europe and USA auditors? Why go that far? There is tremendous variation between auditors working for the same CB; the same office, the same team. When the ISO TC176 decided, back in 2012, to take the ISO 9001 in a less prescriptive direction, the Conformity Assessment sector should have realized the RISKS involved, in terms of auditing consistency and excessive variation. As usual, they just "mandated" that CB auditors to be "retrained". Unfortunately, this "retraining" is for the most part ineffective.

Inconsistency and excessive variation abounds at all levels of the conformity assessment chain; not only at the CB level, but also at the AB level.

Do you want to have fun with that? Provide this feedback to the CB in question and ask them what they are going to do to minimize the variation you, the registrant, has perceived. It is obviously detrimental to your system. The system adequacy should not be at the mercy of the "auditor du jour". ISO 17021-1 requires the CB's to have a quality system in place and take action on stakeholder feedback. Your feedback as the customer should be listened to.

Good luck.
 

ShortFatBloke

Starting to get Involved
#3
Provide this feedback to the CB in question and ask them what they are going to do to minimize the variation you, the registrant, has perceived. It is obviously detrimental to your system. The system adequacy should not be at the mercy of the "auditor du jour". ISO 17021-1 requires the CB's to have a quality system in place and take action on stakeholder feedback. Your feedback as the customer should be listened to.
Thanks - actually I've found that the UK aerospace CBs and their auditors (with one or two exceptions) have been fairly consistent, possibly because we're limited to a couple of recognised training organisations here that the CBs can use. This particular auditor (even for a Frenchman ;)) was probably the best one I've seen in years, knowledgeable, patient and fair. My question was not so much around variation but a fundamental difference in interpretation. I'd be interested to hear from any US auditors as to how much they look at Needs and Expectations, process interrelationships and R&Os and what their expectations would be of an aerospace organisation.
 

Sidney Vianna

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Staff member
Admin
#4
My question was not so much around variation but a fundamental difference in interpretation.
Isn't difference of interpretation the same as conformity assessment variation? As for "fundamental interpretation issues", my take has always been this: The organization seeking certification is entitled to ANY meaningful take on how to interpret the requirements of a standard for their organizational context. A CB auditor CANNOT enforce his/her interpretation onto the registrant as the ONLY possible interpretation. So, as long as the organization can demonstrate that they have made a conscious and meaningful "interpretation", they should be able to reason with the CB assessor.

When it comes to AS9100, the IAQG has provided a number of guidance documents and the one that is the most relevant here is available @ https://www.sae.org/iaqg/organization/auditor_guidance _9100_2016.pdf

Good luck.
 
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