Handling Internal Auditor Training and Internal Audits Discussion


Fully vaccinated are you?
--> Subject: ISO
--> Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 08:19:22 -0500
--> From: Mike Van Heck
--> To: Marc
--> I just finished reading your advise that I found on the internet
--> under ISO/QS9000 Home Brew Implement. I just wanted to say that I
--> find your advise helpful.
--> I am implementing ISO 9000 at Nuvar. Most of my knowledge has been
--> gained from a lead auditor course given by Perry Johnson. I work for
--> a small 60 plus employee company called Nuvar Mfg. located in
--> Holland, Michigan. We do contract assembly work for the major office
--> furniture manufacturers. I have just started to document the
--> procedures our procedures. I might add that everyone of our
--> procedures have a flow chart.

I commend you. Keep with the flow charts.

--> My problems come to haunt me because of the fact that I try to over
--> document the system. Knowing this I have probably not done a thoural
--> job at meeting every shall.

This becomes an interpretation issue. Some Shall's may not apply to you. As you get better at understanding and interpreting ISO9001 you will feel more comfortable.

Consider training instead of documentation. See http://Elsmar.com/level2/accolades.html#document where he says:
"Especially important, at least in my opinion, was your help in determining where we did not need to document every last thing."

--> I just appointed two people inside of
--> the company to audit every section of the manual including both
--> procedures and work instructions. I am hoping that they will
--> recognize nonconformances and recommend changes or additional
--> procedures needed.

The problem here is that you are now asking several employees to understand ISO9001 so that they can say what procedures you need. You indicate you still have much to learn about ISO9001. I don't believe in this approach, but I admit I have used it and it has worked OK a couple of times. It can be a real fight, however, and I'm not convinced it's value added.

-->Do you have any advise on what these auditors
--> should be looking for?

Different prople set up internal audits in different ways. My personal opinion is that internal audits should be entirely based upon verifying and validating internal systems and related procedures, etc. Many companies use internal audits to verify ISO9001 compliance which requires your internal auditors to have a reasonable understanding of ISO9001. Ask your self how long you have been working with ISO9001 and then ask yourself how well you feel you understand it all. How long will it take your auditors to 'learn' ISO9001 adequately to make interpretations? Do they have the time to spend on this? One auditor quits and you have to train another one. One auditor just doesn't work out and you have to find another one and again train.

--> I have had an offer from a consultant to do internal auditor
--> training. Is this necessary and at what type of cost should I be
--> looking at? The estimated cost is $1500.00 for five people. This to
--> me seems quite pricey.
--> Once again thanks for your advise through your internet article.

Well, an internal auditor course on site is going to be expensive. I do an ISO 2 day and a QS 3 day and I charge US$1250 for the first day and US$850 per day each day after (plus US$60 a student for book and such. With all costs it comes to about US$2200 to US$2500 for a 2 day. I may be high, but for me it's a matter of what I feel is reasonable for my 'expertise' and time. If I'm 'low on work', I might bid cheaper. I charge for my time and the location, not the number of students - 5 or 25 souls, the base fees are the same. You could consider sending them out to a course.

My personal advice is to out-source internal audits for a company your size. If you don't I predict you will wish you did. Let your employees do what you hired them to do, rather than try to turn them into auditors with a 2 day wonder 'Internal Auditor' course.

[This message has been edited by Marc Smith (edited 16 July 2001).]

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
Got to agree with marc here....out source is the most economical and value added option for a comnpany your size. Think of the resources needed...in time away from the worksite, alone, nevermind the training. for what you will pay for 1 training session, you can outsource 1 year/+ audits. Your auditors won't get enough experience and the value will be a long time coming.( the learning curve is expensive in time as well)...outsourcing will add value immediately (get references!!!!)...and you can get some good deals through your local ASQ perhaps....lead audtors looking for audit time...or contact local (or near local) QSLA providers ( did you get a list from yours?)for names of attendees that showed promise, and need audit time.

Be careful, outsource isn't for everyone....not all auditees, auditors, consultants handle it well..you need to be clear in what you want...have them use your procedures. Works well when you work as a team with them...you don't want a 3rd party audit setting....you need to be as comfortable showing them your dirty laundry, as you would an internal person...so the can make a judgement, and really add value. Its a fine line.

If you decide to go the training route..choose the team wisely...some people are naturals and some will never get it. Get a group of local companies..or pool your suppliers, and share the training costs...and audit each other's companies for a bit of spice and flexibility.

$1500 is very reasonable for 2 days....my 2 day typicaly runs $2500 american for up to 10, after that its an added material fee of $100 each...or the company can opt to provide the copies...I typically discourage many more than 20, but don't actually refuse. Plus expenses, of course...and like marc, I will be flexible in order to secure the account if I have free time I want to fill. I sometimes add a 3rd day, depending on the company...and what they want...some like 3 shorter days, some want more ISO awareness added..the cost to that is negotiable, depending on my vibes..anywhere from 500 a day up....

Depending on my generosity/vibes I also include a consultation on the audit program...and provide boilerplate procedures, audit plans (psuedo checklists), schedules, report format, etc.

Don't overdocument...you will shoot yourself...don't add pain, add value...do flow charts...get fancy if you want ...do them on line, with hyperlinks to other details, photos or video clips....visual is always better than words...hey I heard that before didn't I? ...how did that go,??? ummmm ... A picture is worth a thousand words

[This message has been edited by barb butrym (edited 09 July 1999).]

[This message has been edited by barb butrym (edited 10 July 1999).]

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
opps I forgot

I consider the audit program the meat of the Quality System....if you only have a little money to spend, thats where to spend it. If it is done correctly....it will make your quality system..... I am sure many will argue that point...but I stand firm.

Andy Bassett

Could i just thrów something in here, as i have seen the debate about outsourcing Internal Auditing on other threads.

To me the decsision to do Internal Audits yourself, or to outsource them to a Consultant/Auditor offers a host of advantages and disadvantages. at the end of the day you would be well to consider two main things.

A: Has your ISO project been relatively enthusiastically implemented throughout the company with good management involvement?????.
If no you will face an uphill battle to get the go-ahead for Auditor Training costs, the time to take the auditors away from their departments, and the job of the Internal Auditors themselves will be that much more difficult because of the reception they will receive from none-committed employees. In this situation use a 3rd party who is seen to be an expert, impartial and to whom no Internal politics can be attached.

B: Along the same lines; Does the culture of the organisations accept employees from other depts coming in a telling the HoD what he's doing wrong. This might seem a strange comment to make if you're sitting in America, but there are some cultures who simply cannot accept this level of openness and bypassing of heirarchies. This is something that i find very often in Germany. Again in this siutation a 3rd part Auditor is likely to be more effective.

I could go on about this topic, in general i beleive that using your own trained Internal Auditors is the best route, its just simply not option open to some companies becuase of the above reasons.

Hope that makes sense

Andy B


Fully vaccinated are you?
Andy, I believe you are correct. However, the reality that I have experienced is that those ideal conditions rarely exist. Even in large companies.

Once a company hits 150 or more employees doing its own internal audits begins to make sense. But in a company with 60 employees it is seldom the case where there are emloyees with the time to be involved to the extent necessary. Most of the time in these small companies it is hard enough to find time to get the daily work done, much less plan and carry out audits. It is often difficult to even get employees to hold still long enough to be audited.

I did some internal audits for a large multi-national at a facility with several hundred employees. All I heard was "The supervisor had some problems and won't be able to attend this audit." Or "...the guy you need to talk to is in the middle of an emergency so we can't get that information..." Many times it's hard just to get many companies to take internal audits seriously. This was a QS9000 registered facility, by the way, which hadn't done any internal audits in over a year yet still 'Passed' a UL surveilance audit... In fact, internal audits was cited during the previous UL audit. They had done none - but they did 'revise their schedule'. But my disgust of the 'special' treatment large accounts get from many registrars is getting in the way.

I contend that if a company really wants to do their own internal audits, they have a lot to think about. Often it turns out to be one of those things that sounds good until you try to implement it and keep it going.
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