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In an internal auditing desert and I'm the only one here....

S

Shredder

#1
Hello, FRUSTRATED QM here!

I have a great auditor training program. I have reasonable time lines for audits (12 and 24 month intervals). The audits are not complicated, really! I also have a review the auditor program, to provide helpful feedback and even PRAISE! I have selected and carefully trained 5 internal auditors who have "been at it" for years. We are a small manufacturing company, maybe 30 people and all management are operators, at most my auditors have one or two audits a month to conduct and I take the lion's share, so it shouldn't interfere with day to day work. However, I cannot, no matter how much I try logic, AS9100/DLA/Customer audit requirement reminders, or threats, get my internal auditors to do an audit.:deadhorse:

My lists never get finished, and in fact this year, when I write reminders, send out audit plans, etc. I'm getting the answer equivalent of tumbleweeds rolling by (by far my worst year in 5 for responses). I have thought about changing audit frequencies, I have talked to executive management (one of them is a tumbleweed auditor), I have tried to recruit new auditors. Nada. Of course I do realize there's an obvious missing support component here of section 5 of the standard, but no help there either. And the auditors only see this as a chore, not a beneficial practice that can improve things. No budget for an outside "internal" auditor either.

Short of implementing monitored audits by using a cattle prod & handcuffs, or letting my AS9100 auditor write up a major next time, I'm out of ideas...

Has anyone else found an effective way to get support with internal audits? Please help!
 
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Steve Prevette

Deming Disciple
Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
What successes have you had in "improving things"? Or if worse comes to worse, at least avoiding beatings by external forces? I'd advertise the heck out of those cases with senior management, and your auditor pool.

Take a look at Tom Peters website tompeters.com. Review some of his materials on "WOW!" projects. If you have a bunch of folks being sentenced to doing yet another audit that the see no benefit to doing, then I can see the source of your pain.
 
#3
Yes! I'd guess you aren't engaging management in the planning process. You or the auditors aren't doing audits which focus on the issues which management are interested in. You are operating a "push system" of audits where the auditor turns up and audits, but not because your management have any say in what they should be auditing...

Am I right?
 
S

SuperGirl

#4
What successes have you had in "improving things"? Or if worse comes to worse, at least avoiding beatings by external forces? I'd advertise the heck out of those cases with senior management, and your auditor pool.
I have to agree that this would be the best approach. May a cost of quality analysis that shows the benefit of auditing. Has something gone wrong, caught internally or externally or even a deadline missed, that if audits would have been performed could have prevented?

Money talks and showing how internal audits can help save money will go along way to getting management support.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration with a Mask on...
Staff member
Admin
#5
I've seen this so many times over the years. If management doesn't care (support you) it doesn't matter how much you try to "engage" management. You have my empathy. Unfortunately I have no ideas.

I agree with Steve's comments, but I also know the old "You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink" is true.
 
S

Shredder

#6
Thanks for the responses all! Sadly, my attempts at cost/benefit analysis are met with deaf ears and blind eyes. In the end, senior management is resentful of having to have the quality branding their customers require, which makes them less than enthusiastic about audits, SPC or the benefits of continual improvement processes.

The challenge for me is working outside of the culture and trying to motivate people without support. However, I will check out the website that Steve recommended (thank you)! None of my suggestions for improvement have even been discussed, nor answered (several emails to the audit team... tumbleweeds...).

I have considered changing audit intervals and giving everything a 24 month cycle, however, the frequency of audits isn't the core problem (and I do 55110 work so I'm not sure DLA would be pleased with such a change). I will keep up the good fight, thanks for the suggestions!
 
#7
Hence my comments! If you don't involve them, just delivering anything which looks like you found it without them, isn't going to help! It make you look like you're smart than them! (which may be true, but isn't helpful)

You have to find a likely candidate, work with them on something they get evaluated on - something which is a problem or risky to them - and use the audits to see what's going on, as validation of the situation. We all need validation...
 
R

Reg Morrison

#8
Sadly, my attempts at cost/benefit analysis are met with deaf ears and blind eyes.
Assuming that your organization has had customer complaints, returned products, quality problems, etc...all of that could have been (potentially) prevented if your quality system had worked properly.

If you point out to management and your internal auditors how an effective internal audit could have assisted the system in detecting and correcting the weaknesses that led problems to arise, they should see the business benefit of effective audits.

At the end of the day, if nobody (other than you) see a business benefit of internal audits, there are no incentives for them to be performed. They are perceived as a meaningless activity. If you can't change their perception about the (potential) business value of internal audits, I would suggest for you to outsource your internal audit to a qualified consultant, pay them a couple of days for their work and have a record to show to your registrar that an internal audit has been performed.
 
#9
If you can't change their perception about the (potential) business value of internal audits, I would suggest for you to outsource your internal audit to a qualified consultant, pay them a couple of days for their work and have a record to show to your registrar that an internal audit has been performed.
Reg, are you suggesting that the consultant would help improve the perception? It reads as if you don't believe that and it just becomes audits for the sake of it... I'm sure some consultants would take offense to that suggestion. Indeed, I've seen a consultant find $8M savings which changed management's views on the whole thing!
 
K

kgott

#10
I've seen this so many times over the years. If management doesn't care (support you) it doesn't matter how much you try to "engage" management. You have my empathy. Unfortunately I have no ideas.

I agree with Steve's comments, but I also know the old "You can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink" is true.

Experience has taught me that you will have to do them yourself. Yes, I know its not supposed to be that way but if they are to get done then .....

At least, if you do them yourself, you're not going to get blamed for them not being done when the time for blame comes which it inevitably will. In addition, you will at least have some ammo to use to defend yourself with.
 
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