Give it to me straight - We are going to fail our TS 16949 Re-Certification Audit


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Hello to all. Had to dust off my old user name and get back in the game here :)
Scenario breakdown:
Just signed on with a company as the new QE, been here a very short time. Nice place to work, established for a long time, expanding like crazy. I like it here a lot.
Trouble is, we have our TS16949 audit coming due like NOW. Actually our cert expires in FEB so we have to get someone in very soon. Our registrar dropped the ball IMO, we had to call them Monday to even let them know we were alive and due for an audit. Unheard of if you ask me. They responded ?OHHH we have to get someone in there!?. Ya think?
So on top of being under the gun time wise, we also have to choose a new auditor this year because of the three year rule. This is also the ?big one? our re-assessment.
Now the real trouble comes in :)
Our TS system is a disaster. I have only been here like 8 seconds and I can already tell that we are going to get abused in our audit. Very quick I have an extensive background in ISO 9000 but this is my first real TS environment. So I have a very firm/expert level grasp on ISO and some familiarity of the extra TS requirements but that about it (I plan on being proficient with TS in due time). But even as an ISO guy I know we are going to fail this audit. Hell we would totally fail an ISO-9000 audit right now.
Here are just a few things I have noticed:
ZERO internal audits performed since last surveillance audit.
ZERO management reviews performed since last surveillance audit.
Super weak APQP
No customer feedback initiatives (except for responding to complaints)
Training, Quality Policy, Objectives, Design Review?all weak to non-existent
ZERO supplier evaluation
And honestly guys I am assuming every single other area in the standard is addressed very weakly at best.
Oh and we also just added another facility not far from here that is doing a lot of our overflow and I don?t believe the letters TS have even been whispered in this facility. It has no TS preparedness whatsoever. It?s been up for just about a year. This place is just expanding so fast that they have totally let the TS system go.
I feel we are headed for disaster. I don?t have any experience in a TS audit and I certainly do not have any experience in failing ANY type of audit (passed all my ISO audits with flying colors since 1996).
My questions are:
What happens next given the above situation?
What should we expect?
Will we get our cert pulled?
Will we have time to fix these things before the audit (which needs to happen this month) or after the audit (during the 60 day window). I am assuming TS does not allow for you to perform one internal audit a week before our surveillance and call it OK for that part of the standard.
If we get our cert pulled what is the fallout? Can we ship to customers? Does someone notify them that we failed? Do WE have to notify them?
Sorry so many questions guys. I have a feeling I will be on here quite a bit for a while. It seems a little slower than I remember it, is this still the place to be or is there other, more busy forums I should be looking at?

Thanks in advance

Oh, and we are getting a list of potential auditors. Will it even matter? and if so what is the best was to choose one? Call references?

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
Re: Give it to me straight -We are going to fail our TS re-cert audit

First things first. Take a deep breath. Done? OK. this may be a time for a little anxiety and sweat, but NOT complete panic.

You mention a satellite facility - what's the total number of souls on board (SOBs) at each facility?

What was the time gap between last QM and you coming on board?

Do you know why he/she is gone?

Regardless of lack of recent internal audits, what do the records of previous internal audits show? Were they done competently or slipshod?

What is your relationship with current managers? Can you sit down with them and have a heart-to-heart on why no recent management review?

My point is this:
You've had a chance to take a quick and dirty gap analysis of the shortfall between "what should be" and "what is." Now is the time to learn the WHY? of the shortfall. (see the quoted story below)
This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn't do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.
The most important function of a Quality Manager is to help EVERYBODY in the organization from top down understand that quality is not a cost item but a profit item and that life is really a lot smoother when everybody is working the system in cooperation with the others.

Internal audits help organizations identify areas for improvement, NOT single out people for punishment. Management reviews help managers take advantage of what's learned in an internal audit (Is everything OK? Do we need to change anything?)

Push comes to shove (because time is getting short), maybe the top guys will understand you might need some temporary help from a consultant to get everyone on track. If not, keep your chin up and dip into the Cove well for as much help as you can get.


Trusted Information Resource
Dude slow down and relax. A lot will depend on how big your company is, what you do, who you supply, and your company's performance with applicable customers.

You mention several areas that are "weak." Well that may be your opinion. Weak is ok as long as it is sufficient.

Get you internal audits done now. That will give you a good starting point. Follow that with some management review. Are you even sure there have been NO management reviews? They don't look at data, ever?

Do you get supplier scorecards? If so, get them and review. Make sure there are no issues.

Focus on getting all the need to's up to date -- audits, reviews, etc. Don't worry about fixing/improving the system to your liking.

Good luck getting audited on such short notice.


I am ISO 17025 not TS 16949 but agree with the above.
First and foremost - get the Internal Audit done for the main facility and a site visit done on the satellite. From there - schedule a Management Review to discuss the findings and coordinate how to proceed. If you have that much documented, your NCs written up with a time frame for addressing, you can at least show the Assessor that you even though you are fresh on the scene and there seems to have been a lag - you are attempting to get things back on track.
Good Luck!


Involved - Posts
I am breathing lol.
And I am not in charge of the TS system here yet (there is a QM). But I have a feeling I will be handling most of this after the audit. Looking forward to the challenge actually. Just really nervous about this audit. It wont be my fault or anything like that. I just dont want to see us lose our registration. I belive there will be a ton of fallout if that happens.
Maybe I ncan get a corruptable auditor just this once....hmm there are a lot of "gentlemans" clubs around here, and plenty of bars lol. Ahhh the good ol days when you could bribe your way out of trouble. :sarcasm: Things were so much better before everyone got all uptight and PC and stuff :tg:


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Ha ha ha...Too funny -

This bears an odd resemblance to my new situation - I feel better already. Except in my case the system and documentation was overkill not adequately implemented and maintained.

But I'm not worried about losing the 9001 cert - I am doing as my fellow Covers have suggested and that's my plan and approach.

Please keep us posted on the outcome of your adventure.:lmao:

Big Jim

It is not the end of the world to have some nonconformances, majors or minors.

Not effectively responding to them is where you can get into trouble.

Go through the audit, be open with the auditor, take whatever hits there are, and deal with them.

As an auditor, I have walked into similar situations. Most of the time, the auditee recovers and does well after that. Some don't care enough to fix it, or attempt to throw up window dressing. You can guess how they end up.


I was in a similar situation, I was hired into a service company that I had little experience with and no time to learn. Our audit was two months away from the day I started. No evidenc of MR no evidence of Internal Audit, no Steering Committee Meetings and everyone thought ISO was something to pull out of the closet once a year. I got my A@@ is gear and did an IA of the QM \ all levels of the QMS and documented all non-conformancies. Scheduled a MR meeting conveyed the findings documented the minutes from the meeting.
I then started IA of all departments and locations, it was Sept and I figured if I started I technically had the full year to complete the IA if needed. Oh did I forget to add we had 3 locations?
Of course I could tell you of the words I had with the VP of Quality and Operations about their "Quality System" but that would just get me mad again.
Bottom line was I like you had 18 years of ISO auditing under my belt so I just went in with all the confidence I could muster and kicked butt and took names. We passed the audit with 4 minors which took no time to clear. I have since established all the right things and documented them plus took the whole crew with me in the ride.

You may take some hits but just hold your ground and fix them as you go.
Good luck.:cool:


Had similiar situation myself. Inherited TS system 5 weeks before re-cert audit, and the system was DOA. Shore-up 3 areas first (Internal audits, corrective action system and management review). Make sure your IA's are thorough enough to identify your weaknesses. make sure those weaknesses have CAR's issued and then make sure Top Management is fully aware and involved in helping resolve the problems. Then work like heck to get as much of the issues resolved.

But do not attempt to do all the work yourself. Get the help of the Process Owners to fix issues in their areas of ownership. Your system will be much better off if each individual Process Owners assumes ownership and responsibility. This is a great opportunity for you to assert yourself, get the attention of management, and save the day. Do not be afraid to pound the table if needed. I had to go over people's head to get things done. Scary political move, but was necessary for success.

Just rememeber there is a difference with getting your cert suspended versus getting it withdrawn. My registrar helped us struggle through the pre-cert audit, but it only caused lingering issues later on. You may want to go ahead and take your lumps early on rather than later if you have fail the re-cert.

Common issue I had was repeats in the same primary clause of the standard. We would get a finding for one nonconformance lets say System audits, but another finding for process audits was considered a repeat in the same clause. So make sure each primary clauses are robust. Repeats get the attention of IATF.

Good luck on saving the day.


Quite Involved in Discussions
I hope you feel OK now that your anxieties are over and you follow all the advices of the SME. Two months ago we had our TS16949 surveillance audit and for the first time since the implementation, 5 majors and few minors were uncovered. Well to make the long story short, our certificate was suspended until we responded with corrective actions (10 days) and the auditor came back to verify that our corrective action was effective and met the TS standard. The anxiety was there but now the certificate is back in our possession. The IAOB and the rule#4 has something to do with the difficulty in passing TS.
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