Internal Audit Schedule when Hiring Out

#1
Hi!

Quick background... we're a small machine shop where people wear many different hats during the day. Due to workload we do not have the time to audit our entire system ourselves so we've decided to hire a company to perform our internal audits. Audit company will come 4x per year and cover our entire QMS within that time frame.

Here's where I'm stuck. How do you really schedule for only 4 audits per year? Follow a basic PDCA-ish cycle?

Audit 1: Plan (Clauses 4-7) procedures, forms, matrix lists, machine maintenance, HR, training records, calibration
Audit 2: Do (Clauses 7-8) maybe sales and purchasing
Audit 3: Do (Clauses 7-8) production planning / production / inspection / shipping / nonconforming outputs
Audit 4: Check and Act (9-10) audits, customer satisfaction, management review, corrective action

That doesn't seem wholly feasible, and somehow Audit 4 feels fairly light in content.

Our main processes are:
Sales/Quoting (note: we are 8.3 design exempt)
Purchasing
Production Planning
Production / Inspection / Shipping

I have attached the original schedule that I inherited (our ISO coordinator quit without notice and I was voted the replacement). Each of those Process Descriptions was an individual audit.

Thank you all for the help. I have internal auditing experience and took the Lead Auditor course after being voted on the island, but this is my first time having to re-schedule like this.
 

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William55401

Involved In Discussions
#2
You determine the number of audits. More is not necessarily better. Given you are a small org, it may be simplest to just have one audit that covers the entire QS. This will minimize disruption to your org. If your QS is not mature and the audits are helping to surface issues, that would make me consider increasing frequency.
 
#3
Thanks for the reply!

We've worked with this company before (they were formerly our consultant), and they said they would need 4 days to thoroughly cover our entire cycle. I do believe and trust my contact there, which is why I'd like to split it into the 4 he says he needs. Financially, our company cannot afford to have him here for 4 days straight, so management decided to go with a quarterly schedule to break up the costs.

We have been certified ISO 9001 since 1999 so we aren't new, but are showing the somewhat early signs of a failing system through retirements and infrequent training / retraining (I'm working on this one) plus some new management who is fighting our continued certification.

I am capable of performing audits as-needed between our scheduled quarterly ones, but at this point it will be of most benefit for us to bring in an outside party to do this, especially considering the fight-back I've been getting from some of our new management.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#4
but are showing the somewhat early signs of a failing system through retirements and infrequent training / retraining (I'm working on this one) plus some new management who is fighting our continued certification.
If done properly, as per the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, these issues should be used as input in terms of developing an internal audit schedule. Based on what you wrote, some aspects of the standard and system should be very carefully assessed such as knowledge management and leadership commitment, just to name a couple.

Risks, status of activities, importance of processes, etc. MUST (not should) be considered when developing the schedule.

Good luck.
 

Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#5
....
Here's where I'm stuck. How do you really schedule for only 4 audits per year? Follow a basic PDCA-ish cycle?
....
There is no requirement that the audits have no overlap. For example, in your case, you might want them to cover Training in 2 of the 4 visits, instead of just once. You might want to think about the audits by processes, rather than clauses; that would be somewhat more organic. Some processes might be flowing smoothly, and so you can group those and cover them in one audit, and then spend more time in another audit day on just one or two problematic processes. You might want to have them do the first day as a high-level company-wide overview day (since you are a small shop), and use the results from that day to identify areas of concern and determine subsequent schedule structure.

A lot of ways to go about it.
 
#6
I actually WANT them to cover the entire system, with me focusing on problematic areas between visits. This person will only be coming 1x per quarter.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#7
Frankly, I think your consultant may be ripping you off. 4 days to audit a "small" machine shop that has been ISO for 20 years? How small is small?

I would go with something like Tagin's approach. Let you management reviews determine what to focus on. Where are your problems and focus on those areas. Good luck.
 

QChas

Involved - Posts
#8
We are a company of approximately 80 employees. We set our QMS up identifying processes (Top Management, Quality, Order Entry, Production, etc.) and lined them up with the ISO standard. We have a total of 8 processes. The schedule I set up is simple and has been effective. January - June audit processes 1 - 4, July - December audit processes 5 - 8. This allows plenty of time for planning and coordinating audits (unless you wait to the last week to do them). Audit the process and you will hit all the areas you need. Hope this helps.
 
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