Internal Auditor Competency - Product Auditors

brandieb1230

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#1
We just went through our remote monitoring for IATF and we struggled a bit with our product auditors qualifications and tasks (has been the same for 20 years but now it is coming to light).

Our quality management systems and manufacturing process auditors have met the requirements of 7.2.3 no issues.
Our product auditors are the end of line quality inspectors that have read work instructions about the product, defects to look for and are aware of a help chain.

How do you handle product auditor competency requirements? Do you do something different and not have the end of line auditors as the product auditors?
 
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Johnny Quality

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#2
Well...how do you know your product auditors are competent? Can you show evidence that they understand the work instructions given to them? Can you show evidence that customer complaints are not down to your product auditors being incompetent? How do you train your product auditors?
 

brandieb1230

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#3
Well...how do you know your product auditors are competent? Can you show evidence that they understand the work instructions given to them? Can you show evidence that customer complaints are not down to your product auditors being incompetent? How do you train your product auditors?

Thanks for answering, Johnny. We train people with work instruction review, on the job training and quarterly quality tests to ensure they are able to detect a good and bad part. The supervisor updates a training matrix based on their observations.

The only thing that really worried me was core tools and the whole audit process as the product auditors aren't trained to them (and don't use them).

Our auditor also told us that end of the line auditors aren't meant to be product auditors by the standard. He said it was a separate person that would check parts (guessing like a roving auditor)? We have never had issues with this in the past and are switching certification bodies this year so we want to make sure that everything is done correctly..
 

Johnny Quality

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#4
The product auditor at our place is something similar to what your auditor is describing, they move from machine to machine inspecting the product and parts of the process to the control plan. However I don't see a definition of what a product auditor is meant to do, the standard defines product as "any intended output resulting from the product realization process". If your product auditors are inspecting the product I can't see how that doesn't make them a product auditor, to me the line between product auditor and product inspector doesn't exist.

Did this auditor write you up a non-conformance?
 

brandieb1230

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#5
The product auditor at our place is something similar to what your auditor is describing, they move from machine to machine inspecting the product and parts of the process to the control plan. However I don't see a definition of what a product auditor is meant to do, the standard defines product as "any intended output resulting from the product realization process". If your product auditors are inspecting the product I can't see how that doesn't make them a product auditor, to me the line between product auditor and product inspector doesn't exist.

Did this auditor write you up a non-conformance?

He did not write it up but told us to look into it for future audits. I am just wondering if I should create a quick training to discuss core tools and the audit process. They only work off their work instructions and have never even heard of a control plan..
 

Mikey324

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
Are your product auditors conducting MSA studies? Responsible for PPAP? Maintaining FMEA and Control plans? If they are not, why would they need core tool training? If they would never use the training provided, that isn't adding any value.

"Product auditors shall demonstrate competence in understanding product requirements and use of relevant measuring and test equipment to verify product conformity."

^^ This is all the standard requires. If you provide the training, you have to document the trainers competency as well. I see no issue with the way you are doing it. Probably why the auditor didn't write a finding.
 
#8
Hi. I'm Liana and I'm new here. But if you don't mind, I'd like to share my opinions regarding to this topic.
This is what we practice for product audit at our company.

As per mentioned in the latest revision of IATF 1949 Sanctioned Interpretations (SIs), item number 4, IATF 16949 Clause 7.2.3,
"At a minimum, product auditors shall demonstrate competence in understanding product requirements and use of relevant measuring and test equipment to verify product conformity. Where training is provided If the organization’s personnel provide the training to achieve competency, documented information shall be retained to demonstrate the trainer’s competency with the above requirements".

At our company, QA in charge for the product audit rather than QC who works at production line.
So, we need to ensure that QA who becomes the product auditors are:-
1. Understand the product requirements such as drawing, specification, packaging spec. etc
2. Familiar of usage of relevant measuring and test equipment

So, we prepare their Skill Chart as a documented information to show their competency.
In the Skill Chart, it is indicated whether the product auditors' skills are "Excellent", "Good", "Skilled" or "Unskill".

Core tools are not required. This is more to process audit.

Hope this will help.
 
#10
Hi Johnny,

There'll be test conducted - Objective and subjective questions.
From there, they'll come out with marks.
For e.g.
Excellent >75% to 100%
Good >50% to <=75%
Skilled >25% to <=50%
 
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