Registration Audit - should we challenge auditors?

K

katie

#1
Thanks to your help, we passed our 9001:2000 pre assessment document review with 5 minor CAR's or opportunities for improvement.

After further review, we decided we could challenge 3 of the 5. Because they are currently "Minor" I'm not challenging them, however, wondering if this strategy will work in a compliance situation. Any thoughts or suggestions?
 
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B

Bob_M

#2
katie said:
Thanks to your help, we passed our 9001:2000 pre assessment document review with 5 minor CAR's or opportunities for improvement.

After further review, we decided we could challenge 3 of the 5. Because they are currently "Minor" I'm not challenging them, however, wondering if this strategy will work in a compliance situation. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Please provide details so we may better answer/give opinions.

Why do you want to Challenge a finding during a Pre-Assessment. You don't have to "officially" respond to them with your registrar, but you are expected to attempt to or plan on fixing the issues before your actual registration audit. It might be better to "question" the findings rather than challenge them with the auditor. Its easy to overlook something or not explains something very well while the auditor is present.
 

CarolX

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#4
why challenge

Hi Katie,

Good work on the pre-assesment.

Why don't you give us some more details on the 3 you want to challenge. What may seem clear to you may not seem clear to us, and we are here to help each other.

I would caution you on challenging these. NC's, Majors or Minors are not written friviously. The auditor had some issue that was not addressed or he was not clear on....perhaps you can use these as oppotunities for improvement.

CarolX
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#5
A US Congressman from Tennessee once said "Be sure you're right, then go ahead."

Of course Davy Crockett died in the Alamo along with everyone else.

So much for being right. ;)
 
E

edward.gibbs

#7
It would never occur to me to challenge a NC once it has been committed to paper and the audit report is issued. If nothing else it would make the auditor look bad to their management if you are right, which would not be a good thing to do for the future of the relationship. Especially over a minor.

We have successfully challenged a number of NCs at the point of origin or at the daily debrief level. One strategy that works is to put in place a system that treats observations and NCs exactly the same (i.e. observations get documented corrective action plans, verification of corrective action, follow-up, etc.). If a NC is not entirely clear-cut you can then petition the auditor to make it an observation, while gently reminding them that under your system it will still be treated the same as a NC. You should of course be ready to explain why you don't believe it is a NC, and back it up with good objective evidence.

Of course, that means you still need to do corrective action, but an observation sounds better than a NC and the auditor won't need to review your corrective action.

Some auditors won't write observations. If you get one of those, you're out of luck.

I would never use that approach on a clear NC. If it's a clean hit, take it standing up and don't argue. It's the fuzzy ones that auditors may be willing to deal on.

Ed Gibbs
 
A

Aaron Lupo

#8
edward.gibbs said:
It would never occur to me to challenge a NC once it has been committed to paper and the audit report is issued. If nothing else it would make the auditor look bad to their management if you are right, which would not be a good thing to do for the future of the relationship. Especially over a minor.
Ed Gibbs
Ed, that would have to be one of the poorest reasons not to challenge an auditor! I do audits for Registrars and if I am wrong and you don't feel comfortable challenging me at the time of the audit that is fine, do it after when you have time to sit down and look at the situation, then call the main office and tell them you think I was wrong. It does not make the auditor look bad to management, what it does is give the Management a tool for possible improvements in their auditor training, plus if the same auditor is writting n/c's for items that should not be then they need to know so they can take the appropriate action! So if you feel that the n/c is not valid by all means challenge.
 
E

edward.gibbs

#9
Thanks, interesting response.

I suppoose that I would expect an auditor to feel that way - after all, they should be just as interested in continuous improvement as their customers.

Still, I personally would not feel comfortable challenging a finding once the audit report has been issued. If I'm not smart enough to catch it before it becomes official, I think I would just take the hit in the interest of maintaining a good relationship. I see it as a matter of picking your fights - don't make a big stink over a small issue, save it for the big ones.

Of course, I am assuming that the hit has at least some validity, but there may be a question as to whether it is a true NC or just an area for improvement. As someone else said I'd see it as an opportunity to improve and not worry about the semantics of whether it is a NC or an observation.

If it was a truly bad hit - what we were doing was clearly right and the auditor was just plain wrong I might feel different. But I think that is (hopefully) unlikely, and I'm sure I'd make my case before the report was issued in that event.

Your point about the registrar's management needing to know if their auditors are writing bad NCs is a good one. But I think that's their responsibility - to review and audit their auditor's work, and train them appropriately.

I'd be interested in hearing from other auditors and auditees how they'd handle it. BTW - I am both an auditee and an internal auditor (with Lead Auditor training).

Ed Gibbs
 
R

Randy Stewart

#10
Katie,
If you question the validity of a write up, by all means challenge it. Remember, all it comes down to is that at that moment it was what the auditor saw. And as the famous closing meeting comment goes, it was a sampling. There's a lot of information thrown at an auditor at any given time, and they can make mistakes. It doesn't have to be a confrontation but just a question.
It's your system, you know how it should operate and if the auditor misinterpreted (oh no!) something then straighten them out!
 
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