Internal Auditors Have Real Jobs

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#1
Not surprising to me:

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Subject: Re: Internal Auditing Resources /Austin/Perdue
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 14:18:12 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion

From: Jon Perdue x2281

I have the same type problem. The theory is the auditors are not required to perform their job function on the same day as they audit. So the next day they have more work. I am considering the value in having external auditors perform the function. The opinion I have heard is they are not considered "internal" audits, as required by the standard. I believe there are ways around that issue. Recognizing the need for company buy-in to internal audits and the inherent value of employee participation, the reality is management sees more value in the volunteers doing their own job, and assessment of the Quality System is someone else's job. Needless to say, our system is struggling.

>Subject: Q: Internal Auditing Resources /Austin
>From: Wayne Austin
>
>One of the difficulties we have in our company is recruiting and keeping
>good internal auditors. Today this job is done on a voluntary basis and
>becomes an extra duty above and beyond their normal job. Many of our
>auditors have found they just do not have the time to do the audits so they
>notify the lead auditor that they can no longer be an auditor. We know the
>value of a good audit program but really struggle to keep the audit manpower
>and expertise at a level that provides the benefits we
>desire. We try to "reward" the loyal auditors with recognition and some
>small rewards (free shirts, gift certificates, free luncheons) and this
>makes them feel appreciated, but has not been inspiration enough to keep
>them from dropping out because they don't feel they have the time to do the
>job correctly.
>
>Do other companies have these same problems?
>How have others out there addressed this issue?
>Has anyone gone to hiring full time auditors who spend the balance of their
>time just doing audits?
>What are the pro's and con's of this type of arrangement?
>
>Wayne Austin

Also see http://Elsmar.com/level2/4_17.html
Comments, folks?

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

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
Subject: Re: Internal Auditing Resources /Austin/Mewborn
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 14:50:48 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion [email protected]

From: "Mewborn, Shawn" [email protected]

I could have written your message. My company has had the same exact difficulties. I have done some research and determined that most people are still using the "volunteer" method and 95% of them are experiencing similar problems.

Finally I got my boss to agree we need to hire a full time auditor. He still doesn't like the idea because it is seen as more "overhead" in his department. We are still waiting on Senior Management's OK on the proposal.

As I see them the Pros are:

1.Less time spent organizing (reorganizing) the audits since I will know who is going to conduct them (the auditor and myself). No one canceling out last minute and having to be replaced, etc.

2.Increased audit quality. As the auditor becomes more proficient, he/she asks better questions, takes less time to conduct and audit and can address more material and beneficial issues.

3.My proposal has me hiring someone from within the organization already. They therefore know the businesses. In addition, since this position has little upward mobility - it is a temporary assignment designed to give an employee a more broad knowledge of the company and additional learning and exposure. After 24 months or so the employee would transfer (if they so desired) back into the line organization.

Cons:

1.If the auditor is not careful an "us vs them" mentality may develop.

2.You lose the organizational buy in that is required to keep the volunteer system working. This assumes that the system is working now.

3.The position may be seen as overhead.

That's my 2 cents worth. If anyone is interested - respond to me directly for more discussion.

Shawn Mewborn
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#3
I agree with Charley (below) to some degree - put it on everyone's job description. Make it part of their job...

However, the reality is many, many companies have trouble with this. "I hired on to be a {whatever}, not an auditor" and such. Most Internal Auditing courses are aimed at teaching the folks to audit to the standard while this whole web site is dedicated to the [Interpretations Factor[/b]. If we argue about interpretations, how about internal auditors who are not in this for a living? Does a one, 2 or 3 day course teach them how to appropriately interpret the standard? Not likely. Even the 5 day Lead Auditor course only scratches the surface. I believe internal auditors should be limited to auditing against company documentation.

And then there's the pissing matches which come up between auditors and auditees.

IMHO - hire out your internal audits and let your employees do the work they were hired to do.

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Subject: Re: Q: Internal Auditing Resources /Austin/Scalies
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 15:05:28 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion [email protected]

From: Charley Scalies [email protected]

> From: Wayne Austin [email protected]
>
> One of the difficulties we have in our company is recruiting and keeping good internal auditors. Today this job is done on a voluntary basis and becomes an extra duty above and beyond their normal job.

Therein lies your major problem. It should be as much a part of "their job" as anything else. If you treat auditing as some offending appendage, they will too.

> Many of our auditors have found they just do not have the time to do the audits so they notify the lead auditor that they can no longer be an auditor.

What if they tell their "boss' they didn't have time to do their work and prefered not to do it any longer?

> We know the value of a good audit program

No, you obviously do not or you would give this activity the importance it deserves.

> We try to "reward" the loyal auditors with recognition and some small rewards (free shirts, gift certificates, free luncheons) and this makes them feel appreciated, but has not been inspiration enough to keep them from dropping out because they don't feel they have the time to do the job correctly.

It is you who have defined its value as being equal to a free shirt, etc. It is you who have decided it is not valuable enough to give them the time they need (see 4.1 resources). Is getting a free shirt what gives you the satisfaction of doing "your regular job"?

Charles J. Scalies
 
L

Laura M

#4
At a big company, its nice to dedicate the auditors. At one place we trained 20 internal auditors. 2 were considered full time. (I was told to have a plan that would eventually eliminate the need for full time auditors...so we thought the other 18 would "periodically" audit in addition to their job.) Never worked. The full time auditors are still there. They have picked up additional responsibilities such as PPAP, customer complaint tracking, etc...all stuff related to QS that helped support the effort.
The biggest factor would be whether the size of the company can support a dedicated team. I'm working with a company now with 19 people. They are planning on have 2 people audit 1/year after they are trained in a 2 day course. I've told them I don't think that would work...that the expertise would be difficult to maintain. I agree with the auditing to Company procedures. If they are set up right, then the standard should be met.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#5
Man! This guy is LUCKY!

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Subject: Re: Internal Auditing Resources /Austin/Hankwitz
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 10:46:14 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion [email protected]

From: "Hankwitz, John " [email protected]

Wayne,

Your situation sounds very similar to ours. We put 10 to 20 volunteers through the S-A-M ISO 9000 Internal Auditor training about every two to four years in order to maintain the level we need. We try to maintain a level of 8 to 15 at our 600 employee company.

I don't know if a solution to this problem would be all that beneficial for our company. You see, like most everything, there is a good side and bad side. You're losing qualified internal auditors, but your x-auditors generally move onto bigger and better things, using their basic knowledge of what makes up a good quality system as the basis for everything they do. You simply couldn't ask for a better scenario than that. Yes, we do lose some auditors to other companies, but that loss is more than offset by the benefits we get from promotion or active involvement in other projects by those that stay.

Our President and almost half our Directors are x-auditors. They know the importance of continually improving and controlling our systems to make them more efficient and effective. You don't have to sell them on the concept of having a controlled quality system. Also, when you meet with them, they know what you're talking about.

Whenever I send in a request to have S-A-M return to train another set of internal auditors at out site, there is never any hesitance. All upper management knows that the latest set of x-auditors are using there skills in a position where they can probably do more good for the company, and be more effective.

If you had a staff of "full time" auditors, they would probably always be in that position, preventing what could be the best advantage you have with your voluntary system. Besides, your volunteer system gives you a good idea as to who the future leaders will be.

Hope this sheds some light. Can you imagine a situation where all of your leaders and managers have gone through the training and have at least one year of auditing experience under their belts? WOW!

John Hankwitz
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#6
Another 'success' story!

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Subject: Re: Internal Auditing Resources /Austin/Perdue/Whitcomb
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 15:51:22 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion <[email protected]>

From: [email protected]

I don't mean to sermonize here, but I felt I wanted to share with you our story.

We have been certified for 3 years and re-certified to 9K since April of this year. We are ISO 14K certified since September, 98. We have kept each and every internal auditor, I am proud to say, for the entire length of our certification. Each year I ask if any auditor would like to be taken-off the list of active auditors, and with the exception of three who have left the company, we have only added to the list. We currently have 18 auditors for a company size of 350 employees.

What do we do that other companies don't? I wish I could give you what we have, and that is committed leadership. Right from the "get-go" when I was hired and asked what it would take to get things done, I was told to do what needed to be done. I brought to their attention, the clause in the ISO 9K Standard 4.1.2.2.. I asked that the department managers make recommendations as to who in their department did they think would/could make an good auditor. We currently have at least one internal auditor from every department within the company on our team. The key here is I asked all departments through-out the entire company, including engineering and production people. In the beginning we sent 12 internal auditors to a local community college offering internal auditor training. (I have Lead Auditor training) I now train all internal auditors and use the existing auditors in my training.

To me there are two keys to our program:

Key One: We have enough auditors so we don't burden or burn-out auditors. We conduct 6-8 internal audits a year. We have focused our scope of the audits so they don't take more than two-weeks to conduct. I will generally give each team three weeks to do the audits including presenting findings to the management. Nothing in the standard says you have to do these audits quickly! I tell you in all honesty, we don't pay them one plug nickel more for their auditing duties.

Second Key: We let the auditors know how much their efforts have contributed to our success. Our Registrar on every surveillance audit, will always discuss internal audits with a few of the auditors, and allows internal auditors to accompany them on surveillance audits. They are involved, and I think that makes for more commitment.

Lastly I would say, when we developed our system we involved as many of the employees as possible in developing our procedures, etc. Most of our employees have some time vested in the system. They were involved at the very beginning and are participating today in continuous improvement ideas. You've lost something along the line when you say it isn't their program. That's a shame. Our sales have grown and we are adding buildings and new machines. And yet, we find time to conduct internal audits. I am proud of that.

Good Luck.
 
A

Andy Bassett

#7
Very interesting thread here, with two opposing views. My experience has consistently been that Internal Auditors are hard to get, motivate and keep, and that external auditors bring a useful 'neutral view' and more experience with the Standard itself.

However looking at Gary’s post, it would seem to depend on just how involved the management and the company is in the QMS (PS if you are implementing now and you think you have good support, give it another 6 months).

Nice to here your story Gary, in what part of heaven is your company situated?


------------------
Andy B
 

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
#8
Andy.....Gary's company isn't all by itself up there in heaven.....actually its about 50/50 of my experience..... Many factors...too many...too bad you haven't had 1 from the other side..
Auditing is an art...... not a science, people (auditee, clients, as well as auditors) are the difference, and no two companies fit the same mold, which is why you may find the external auditor 'preferable'...they typically have the experience and flexibility to tailor to the company personalities. And rightly so.
 
J

Jackie Jolly

#9
We do approximatley 25 audits a year. We just received our QS Registration this year and when I sat down to do our Audit Schedule for 2000 it was suggested that we pattern ours from Corporate. Although I thought this seemed a bit overboard I agreed. After all they have had theirs about 5 years. I'm really new at this whole thing so any advice I can get to help steer me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

[This message has been edited by Jackie Jolly (edited 06 December 1999).]
 

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
#10
I see him as conducting 6 sweep audits using his 12 man team (each auditor does 6).....not 6 individual audits..perhaps a miscommunication.

You do only 25 audits a year? How big is the company? QS in a real small company would do that and more. think about it...one for each element, plus customer requirements?

What about cross functions...how long are these audits? IMHO audits should be no longer than 1 hour, plus planning and reporting...the emphasis on planning.
Can you cover a years worth of evidence (sampled of course...)covering all elements and customer specific stuff, continuous improvement, customer complaints....and a good portion of procedures in 25 hours AND add value? I seriously doubt it. Maybe the program needs to be improved on to be a success. What are you auditing to? What kind of results are you getting?

[This message has been edited by barb butrym (edited 03 December 1999).]
 
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