Is it time to remove the constraints under which registrars have been expected to operate?

A

AllanJ

#1
Hershal said:
Wow.

As I struggled to catch up on the thread, I got the impression of an "us vs them" flavor in some of the posts.

Folks, we may be on different oars, but we're in the same boat!


Hershal
The title of this thread is "Are 3rd party ...allowed to provide "Recommendations".

I would refer you to my article in the Reading Room about "Auditing - at the Dawn of Opportunity" in which you will see my views that registrars must be allowed to provdie solutions etc to problems because as you rightly say, Hershal, we ARE all in the same boat and considering the current economic performance of the US economy (Current account deficit, exchange rate, fiscal deficit etc) it is not doing as well as politicians would have one believe. It is time to DUMP COI concerns and allow anyone who has useful knowledge and solutions to help business improve.

So, this thread's question should really now be : "Is it time to remove the constraints under which registrars have been expected to operate", which is what I raise in that speech. We must look ahead. The current title of this thread does not move us forward and business cannot wait on us getting our house in order.
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
I split this post from the thread Are 3rd party (ISO9001 Registrar) auditors allowed to provide "Recommendations" ?, because Allan turned the question around a bit and I thought the post deserved a thread of its own. Discuss...

/Claes
AllanJ said:
So, this thread's question should really now be : "Is it time to remove the constraints under which registrars have been expected to operate", which is what I raise in that speech. We must look ahead. The current title of this thread does not move us forward and business cannot wait on us getting our house in order.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
I opine that the current strictures on third party registrars make them seem more like the secret police from some totalitarian country than "Andy, the Sheriff of Mayberry."

If we can agree that the premise of third party inspection is to help organizations in a supply chain work to a "Standard" to eliminate as many misunderstandings and misinterpretations as possible so products and services move in a smooth flow from one step to the next, then we need a "compassionate" entity to help rather than a cold, dispassionate robot which only judges right or wrong with no help on how to transform from "wrong" to "right."

We need someone more like Andy Taylor of Mayberry than Robocop!
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#4
I think it is important that we remind ourselves about the original goal of accredited management system certification activities: to provide for some level of confidence to an organization’s customers and other stakeholders about supplier conformance to a standard/specification, be it in quality, environmental, information security, etc….

PROVIDE CONFIDENCE. If a 3rd party certificate does not deliver that, then there is no credibility in the process and the exercise becomes futile.

We have discussed numerous times that the present process has at least 1 major drawback: the expectations from the registrar’s customers and the expectations from the registrar customer’s customers are, for the most part, distinct. While registrars have obviously to be concerned with their immediate customer’s expectations, we can not forget that the actual “users” of our certificates are our customer’s customers. It is imperative, in my opinion, that we find a way to reconcile all stakeholders expectations.

In my experience, in order to make the work of third-party agencies more meaningful, be it by constraint re-definition or other ways, two basic criteria have to be rethought:
  • We need more transparency
  • We need more accountability, at all levels.
On another thread, I had tried to start a related discussion ISO 9000:2020 by the Covers - Authoring a draft of the 'next generation' ISO 9001 but there was no interest.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#5
Sidney Vianna said:
In my experience, in order to make the work of third-party agencies more meaningful, be it by constraint re-definition or other ways, two basic criteria have to be rethought:
  • We need more transparency
  • We need more accountability, at all levels.
So, how is this to be accomplished?

Frankly, as long as there are companies out there who simply go through the motions of a Q/E/S Management System (i.e., they want the pretty piece of paper, will we ever be able to have meaningful audits? :2cents:

That's where Opportunities for Improvement come into play during an audit. I don't believe that Auditors should provide solutions, but I do believe that recommendations should be allowed. This way, those organizations that wish to go above and beyond the "shall's" can do just that...while those that wish to do the bare minimum, can do just that, as well.
 
A

AllanJ

#6
RCBeyette said:
I don't believe that Auditors should provide solutions, but I do believe that recommendations should be allowed.
In fact a solution only can be said to occur if whatever action is implemented is verifed and found to have solved the problem. At that point one can say there has been a solution. Otherwise the action is in fact an "attempt". Until a solution has been found, the recommendation or suggestion is nothing more than a proposal. It always will be for the auditee to determine what it wants to do to resolve the problem.

The point in my keynote address (cited earlier in this thread and posted in the Reading Room) is this: When addressing that primarily American audience I was highlighting the problem of the USA economy and the need for knowledge to be applied in order to improve business competitiveness, product quality et al. It is my view, therefore, that the time for niceities about "conflicts of interest", restraints on registrars and so on must be swept aside. If a registrar can bring advice a.k.a. "consultancy" to the benefit of its client - all the better. Frankly management does not want to hear our somewhat esoteric and philosophical arguments - it wants help. It wants practical people who can suggest likely solutions that will work ASAP at minimum cost and with minimum effort. Those that can provide that service are at the dawn of opportunity: those that cannot will likely need to find another source of employment - sooner or later.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#7
1st, let me say and please understand the opinions I express are mine alone and not a reflection of or in any way related to whom I work for. This is Randy talking, nothing more and nothing less.

A great majority of responsibility has to be born by the individual auditors themselves, and with that responsibility a corresponding accountability (the two cannot be seperated).

Auditors have the have the freedom to say "your system sucks" and then have the personal courage and fortitude to actually say it. (Maybe not in those actual words, but you understand my meaning). If auditors were to be totally honest about the lapses they see, organizations would be changing their registration bodies more often than you change your skivies. It doesn't happen, it won't happen. Why? Because business begins with customer expectation and ends with customer satisfaction, period. Theoretically pure, independent, objective auditors are truly not and will never be.

The weakness and failings that we identify in this endeavor of 3rd Party what-cha-ma-call-it revolves around an un-quantifiable, uncontrollable element called a human being. As we sit here, as friends and professionals in our own right, the accreditation authorities for auditors (like the RABQSA) are stumbling though the process (not unlike a freshly castrated calf) of trying to verify the "competence" of auditors. We now have grander schemes, physco-social testing, observation of performance and all other kinds of jibberish and whoop-dee-doo happening, but what is not happening is a quantification of the process. Why you ask? Because it all boils down to "is the glass half full or half empty?" You can call this perception based upon perspective.

The recommendations made by auditors, to 3rd party organizations, for registration purposes to whatever "standard" are ultimately made based upon the perception of the systems effectivess by the auditor through the evaluation of evidence gathered balanced against the applicable criteria, through the individuals auditors eyes (and mind) or in a short version, from the auditors perspective.

We're not dealing with an exact science here. There is black and there is white, but there is a whole lot more grey in the middle of varying shades. Most certificates are created from the grey and not from the black and white, always have been and always will be.

The process we have probably isn't the best, but it's what we have.

Hopefully I didn't stray too much from the topic, but I haven't written much lately and this feels good.
 
A

AllanJ

#8
Randy said:
As we sit here, as friends and professionals in our own right, the accreditation authorities for auditors (like the RABQSA) are stumbling though the process (not unlike a freshly castrated calf) of trying to verify the "competence" of auditors. We now have grander schemes, physco-social testing, observation of performance and all other kinds of jibberish and whoop-dee-doo happening, but what is not happening is a quantification of the process.

Hopefully I didn't stray too much from the topic, but I haven't written much lately and this feels good.
Randy, your presence and incisiveness have been sorely missed and welcome back.

You will have noted in that article of mine I make clear there is a need for the whole model of auditing/ registration etc to be rethought, revised and so forth. As a number of folk who have read it have seen I want everyone to start seeing the bigger picture of service to the registrants and the national economic performance.

I am strongly in favour of an on-the-job assessment of auditor and registrar ability to do the job. Indeed, I have offered to assist the "powers that be" in framing how this can be done and in its implementation as I needed to do it some 30 years ago in the nuke business and developed some methods and rules for it. The RABQSA etc have never contacted me to discuss this matter, though on more than one occasion I was directly informed they would. Either amnesia or a lack of good old fashioned professional courtsey may be the problem. Or, perhaps, their senior people are not given to doing what they say they will. I do not know.

The psychometric stuff is an irrelevance and distraction from the real challenge and needs, in my view. It will probably absorb too much time, effort and money. What message must it show to management and business leaders? It makes us all look ridiculous. If there is a problem with bipolars, psychopaths, serial killers or whatever, it is for the registrar firms to sort out their people through their own HR policies and practices. Has the RABQSA etc nothing else to do? But, if they think it is necessary, maybe they believe there are too many nuts working in the registration industry and they must be sifted out. One hopes the top committees/ chairpeople and so on will lead by example. :rolleyes:

My article urges them to get into more substantive issues and I have made a few suggestions, though not offered all I could due to time constraints on the day.
 

Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#9
I wonder if there's enough basic competence to go around, with the understanding that a significant proportion of competence is experience, which can't be taught. No one here who has spent any time at all being audited hasn't encountered an auditor who felt qualified to make stentorian pronouncments regarding issues he clearly didn't understand. How much time has been squandered in trying to explain to these people things they should have known to begin with?

The other part of incompetence that concerns me is how easy it is to present specious explanations to inexperienced auditors who will swallow them hook, line and sinker because they sound like they make sense.

In my daily work I continually encounter engineers who are ignorant of basic engineering principles, CAD people who don't understand GD&T, quality engineers who don't understand basic normal-curve statistics, etc., etc. Where are all of these helpful auditors going to come from? If they come from the population of downsized-but-competent people, then what happens to dedicated, internal competence? Is there enough competence to go around?
 
Last edited:

Randy

Super Moderator
#10
AllanJ said:
Randy, your presence and incisiveness have been sorely missed and welcome back.

The RABQSA etc have never contacted me to discuss this matter, though on more than one occasion I was directly informed they would. Either amnesia or a lack of good old fashioned professional courtsey may be the problem. Or, perhaps, their senior people are not given to doing what they say they will. I do not know.

Thanks for the kind words...

You are probably hitting the proverbial nail on the head in bringing up the courtesy subject. Based on my experiences with the aforementioned organization, to say that I am less than pleased would be an under-statement.
 
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