How long can one auditor audit a facility? Is there a limit, number of years?

  • Thread starter Casey Cochran - 2009
  • Start date
C

Casey Cochran - 2009

#1
Is there a limit, number of years, that an auditor can from a registrar can audit one facility to TS 16949?
 
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Sidney Vianna

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#2
Casey Cochran said:
Is there a limit, number of years, that an auditor can from a registrar can audit one facility to TS 16949?
Yes. 3 years. That is, if you interpret should as a shall. Let me (try to) explain(?) :bonk:

According to the IATF rules, paragraph 3.3:
At least one auditor of the initial audit team should participate in all audits of the the 3 year audit cycle. For each subsequent audit cycle, different auditors should be used.
 

Antonio Vieira

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#3
At the registrar I work for they change auditors for each new certificate. Every 3 years the organization has a new audit team.
But this is just their policy here. In other countries I was told that is different.
Anyway a guy can be auditor at one organization for as many years as they want. It’s what we call here the “Resident Auditor”... :rolleyes:
 
S

Sean Kelley

#4
You could make a written request to keep the same auditor if you like that auditor so well. However, over time there tends to become a comfort zone with a certain auditor no mater how good the auditor is. Eventually there may be system defeciencies that go unnoticed. You must make the call and see what the registrar will do. Under TS it is somewhat standard to rotate the auditor on every cycle, but there may be exceptions.:caution:
 
R

ralphsulser

#5
Sidney Vianna said:
Yes. 3 years. That is, if you interpret should as a shall. Let me (try to) explain(?) :bonk:

According to the IATF rules, paragraph 3.3:

But, it actually says "should" not shall. Does this then mitigate the requirement?
 

Jim Wynne

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#6
ralphsulser said:
But, it actually says "should" not shall. Does this then mitigate the requirement?
I think it has to, because there's no way to assure availability of auditors. They sometimes quit, get fired, expire, or otherwise become unavoidably unavailable.
 
V

Valeri

#7
Within the context of TS - "should" indicates a recommendation. We are currently battling this same issue with our registrar. We want to keep the auditor we have. He is extremely knowlegable, very helpful and knows our system.

From our vantage point, the only way to provide value added service to the TS audit process is to build a solid comprehension of the current quality system by understanding how it functions to meet the requirements of the TS standard. Only from there can beneficial continuous improvement plans be formulated and implemented. We do not believe this (building a solid comprehension of the quality system) can be achieved under the proposed 3-year rotation strategy and are requesting exemption from this change.
 
R

ralphsulser

#8
Valerie, that is a very good, valid point, and makes a logical conclusion to actually meet the objective of TS, and customer focus for continual improvement.
I will fight for the same result and use this reasoning when we get there in 2 years. Please let us know how this works out for you.
 
Q

QualityPhD

#9
Valeri said:
We are currently battling this same issue with our registrar. We want to keep the auditor we have. He is extremely knowlegable, very helpful and knows our system.

From our vantage point, the only way to provide value added service to the TS audit process is to build a solid comprehension of the current quality system by understanding how it functions to meet the requirements of the TS standard. Only from there can beneficial continuous improvement plans be formulated and implemented. We do not believe this (building a solid comprehension of the quality system) can be achieved under the proposed 3-year rotation strategy and are requesting exemption from this change.
Working as an auditor, I certainly can understand the organization's comfort level having the same auditor return for a full cycle of audits, i.e. 3 years. That said, auditors have a high attrition rate, change jobs, have scheduling conflicts, etc. and are not always available at the time the organization needs to have an audit completed. There is always a level of comfort having the same auditor return.

One aspect that bears some attention is "value-added auditing". Once an auditor knows your system, i.e. on a level that the auditor has been there 2-3 times, has written nonoconformances that have been addressed and the qms is now a mature system, the auditor may begin to have a preconceived idea of what they may find in the system. This is a dangerous position to be in, both as the auditor and the organization. These ideas of "well, been there before, found 2 minor nonconformances, think these are good people, yadda yadda yadda..." places the organization behind the 8-ball whn it comes to "value-added". The concept of the audit is to verify conformance to the standard being audited and those documented statements of nonconformance should improve the quality system once addressed.

Now auditors all audit to the same set of requirements, i.e. the standards, and every auditor brings to the table their own areas of expertise, whether it is in engineering, R&D, production control, etc. Having the same auditor, with the same experience and the same ideas audit your system continually does not bring the opportunity to develop additional areas that may not be the focus of the original auditors expertise.

Real life example: I recently was the "new auditor" for several companies in the last few months, following an auditor that had been assigned to these companies for several audits (3-5 times at each company). I know the other auditor and have audited with him on several occasions and feel that he is a competent auditor and delivers a fair audit. During the opening meeting for any company that I have not audited before I describe my background as an auditor and the way that I audit... usually something like this:

"I am auditing to the ISO/AS/TS/QS standard... to verify conformance to the requirements of the standard, I will document those areas of nonconformance... testing the system, not the people... types of findings can be major, minor, observations, of OFIs... explain each of those... then I tell them that I am specifically auditing to the performance of the qms and achievement of the quality objectives... given my experience and background in organizational development, business process improvement and engineering, there may be areas of nonconformance that I identify in the course of this audit that were not previously noted during past audits. As a general statement, during the first audit of any company please plan to expect at least 30-40 findings. If I document half of that number, you have done a great job in maintaining/implementing a qms..."

The idea is not to pencil whip the organization but to deliver a value-added audit that communicates (through the audit findings) areas that could be or need to be improved to positively impact the bottom line. When an organization understands that the audit is not punitive but designed to improve the business through the use and implementation of any quality management system, the results generally tend to be on target for continuous improvement in all areas of the organization. This too, separates the folks who try to have the certification as window dressing to attract more customers from teh organizations that make the quality system a way of doing business.

Just my humble $0.02
 
R

ralphsulser

#10
Expect 30 to 40 findings you first time in a company?:mg:
Is that really value added? Sounds like you are really beating them up on dotting "i's" and crossing "t's".
No disrespect intended, but seems a little over the top from my experience with auditors, even 2nd party audits. I don't ever recall Ford, GM, or Chryler issuing that many findings in any of my systems.
 
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