External Auditing of Critical Suppliers - ISO 9001

Darren1974

Inactive Registered Visitor
#1
Hi all

I joined my current company just a year past and although I've been an HSE manager for 6 years, the Quality side is new to me as we had a Quality manager at my last company.

When I joined new company they put me through my external auditors course (probably should have done internal auditing first). I've been trying to get to terms with internal auditing for say last 6 months and feel I'm kind of getting there, but being new to both quality and the fieldof the industry the compnay is in, its taking a little time as I expected...together with the fact that I still have to support whatsoever, not even admin support.

Anyway, as a quality initiative for 2008 the Managing Directors wants more external audits on critical suppliers done. What would anyone recommend how I could become more competant in external auditing, prior to actually carrying out audits?

I just feel that if I am not very competent by my own admission, and therfore may leave myself open when trying to justify a comment/obsevation or NCR to a very experienced Quality representative

thanks

Darren
 

Duke Okes

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
Re: ISO 9001 External Auditing

Some thoughts:

- Are there other facilities in your own company you could audit to gain experience?

- Study the relevant quality standard. Auditing is auditing, but if you can't decifer the standard well it will be more risky.

- Subcontract the supplier audits to a highly experienced (lead) auditor, but participate in the audit
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#3
Re: ISO 9001 External Auditing

This is exactly why so many supplier audits turn out badly. Companies send folks out with very little or no experience, and they expect meaningful audit results. Then the supplier is either hit with a bunch of nonconformances that are either invalid, or make work, but they feel they must address because the auditor was from a customer (chances are a big customer).


I commend you for realizing that you may not be prepared. :agree1: Good for you. Is there a way that your company would hire an outside person to do the audits for you and allow you to observe and learn?
 

Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Re: ISO 9001 External Auditing

This is one of the classic problems for people who do the lead auditor course. They do the training, pass the course (hopefully) and then don't know what to do next in terms of getting audit experience.

One of the recommendations I make at the the end of the course is that delegates swap business cards and keep in touch so that when they want to do an audit, someone may be willing to come along and 'buddy up' with them.

Now look, I know its not perfect but at least you would have a second opinion on things. As suggested, you could always hire in an experienced auditor to accompany you for a couple of visits. That way you get hands on experience and if things go 'pear shaped' at least you have some experience on your side. Try contacting some available auditors - they are not all that expensive :notme:
 

Darren1974

Inactive Registered Visitor
#5
Re: ISO 9001 External Auditing

Thanks for replies

In answer to some questions:

- Are there other facilities in your own company you could audit to gain experience? Yes, we have another facility, however I am reluctant to include them in too many audits due to time constraints. I addressed the question in our yearly QHSE meeting last month about getting some current employees trained or competent in auditing, which I noticed was an issue in both 2005 and 2006 reports, however this was rejected. I was stated that a new resource should be suitable trained, although the company is doing everything they can not to give me that resource...usual QHSE stumbling block in that the department doesn't in practice generate any profit, although losing accreditaion should tip the scales

- Study the relevant quality standard. Auditing is auditing, but if you can't decifer the standard well it will be more risky. I have been getting more aquiantedas I conduct internal audit, this is something that is coming with time, but again with an added resource would allow me more time to conduct audits in a less rushed manner, due to other aspect of the position needing urgent attention

- Subcontract the supplier audits to a highly experienced (lead) auditor, but participate in the audit. Yes, this is what I think I will have to suggest, also what was recommeded whilst doing my external auditor course.
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#6
I hate it when I hear someone, usually someone who doesn't have a clue, has never audited, and doesn't want to spend any money say auditing is auditing. Let me tell you, it is not. Our environmental manager doesn't want to spend any of his budget on training his environmental auditors, so he sends them to the classes that my dept is paying for (ISO 9001 internal auditor classes). This is not helping them at all. They already know the basics, what they need is practical application to the ISO 14001 standard. There is a difference, otherwise once you were a CB auditor you'd be able to audit any system...right? :mad:

OK, pet peeve, I'll sit down and shut up now.:eek:
 
B

Bob Bonville

Guest
#7
Darren, Having participated or personally planned and conducted more than 1000 audits I can tell you that it is best to get the internal audit experience first. After a few years as an internal auditor with Honeywell, I was promoted to the position of Field Quality Supervisor. We did audits and surveys of everything from Mom & Pop's to huge Aerospace & Defense outfits and everything in between.

The reason this is significant and much more difficult in my mind is because, in the ISO world the company can develop any process that satisfies the requirement, therefore you (as an auditor) must evaluate if or how well they indeed to satisfy the requirement. Believe me, you see everything from soup to nuts. But, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If it works for them and satisfies the standard, they are good to go.

Experience with Internal Audits I feel will prepare you in this regard.

Good Luck
Bob (37 year QA/QMS professional):)
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
Re: ISO 9001 External Auditing

I just feel that if I am not very competent by my own admission, and therfore may leave myself open when trying to justify a comment/obsevation or NCR to a very experienced Quality representative
Not only that, but as mentioned by
This is exactly why so many supplier audits turn out badly. Companies send folks out with very little or no experience, and they expect meaningful audit results. Then the supplier is either hit with a bunch of nonconformances that are either invalid, or make work, but they feel they must address because the auditor was from a customer (chances are a big customer).
lack of experience can create a lot of friction and aggravation between not only the individuals, but also the two organizations. A lot of damage happens in poorly conducted second party audits. I think you are on the right track
Subcontract the supplier audits to a highly experienced (lead) auditor, but participate in the audit. Yes, this is what I think I will have to suggest, also what was recommeded whilst doing my external auditor course.
Yes, engage with a very professional auditor who can mentor and tutor you on the do's and don'ts of supplier auditing. It will save you not only money, but a lot of aggravation as well.

Good luck.
 

D.Scott

Inactive Registered Visitor
#9
You have received some excellent responses so far but I would like to add a comment for your consideration.

There is no need for you to prepare yourself for auditing your suppliers entire QMS. They pay a registrar to audit and certify their compliance to a standard. Your management wants more supplier audits to ensure your key suppliers are meeting your requirements, not the requirements of a standard.

My advice would be to determine what requirements your company has of the supplier. What is important to you in terms of using them as a supplier? You will want to evaluate how your process is being handled, documented, processed, packaged, shipped or whatever else you decide. Once you define what is important to you, go and audit those things. Make sure the supplier has your needs covered. If you find areas where your needs are not being met, discuss them with the supplier and work out a way to correct it. Do your supplier audits to benefit your company. Look at how they work for you. Don't get hung up on standards. If they are good suppliers who provide a good product with no hassle do you really care if they have goals and objectives defined in their quality manual?

There is a time and place for system audits and there is a time and place for common sense. If you are new to supplier audits, don't over complicate it. Keep it simple and stick to what you really care about. Let the CB's worry about the system audit. If you are compelled to use only certified suppliers, have them provide their certificate. I guarantee you will have fewer headaches and you will find your suppliers are much more willing to work with you in providing what your company needs.

Good luck,

Dave
 

AndyN

A problem shared...
Staff member
Super Moderator
#10
Spot on, Dave. Well put!

Too many supplier audits are just a replication of what they went through for 'ISO'. So, Darren, take a rifle shot that the supplier problem areas. You should know, from your analysis of their supplied product rejects etc., what the suppliers' problem categories are. You should simply draw up your various checklists based on what they're (supposedly) doing about controlling those problems. - much easier on you, them and much more effective in the long run.

It sounds like you work for the same management that I did, in England - "You're new, you have been trained......." DoH!
 
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