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Supplier Audit Results - when do you prepare?

adisc

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hello everybody,

I would like to ask when do you finalize your audit checklist and results? I mean, there is an idea to prepare such results just after audit process (literally at Supplier facility). How do you prepare such results? I believe this solution has some advantages like there are no doubts when you explain all aspects face to face and consummate it by signing off results by both sides. But what if Supplier does not agree with your results? Have you ever had such situations?

Please share your thoughts.
 

RoxaneB

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
#2
It sounds as if you need a escalation process for handling disputes/challenges.

If they raised the issue during the close-out meeting, offer to bring to your CEO and/or senior leadership for their input. They may be willing to accept the risk of letting the finding slide...or maybe they'll have your back. But if the people in the room disagree on the current state, then it needs to go further up the totem pole.

I'd prepare the final report as soon as possible, ideally withing 7 days while everything is still fresh in your brain. However, regardless of the decision made by your CEO/leadership, I'd reach out to your contact point at the supplier and let them know what the decision was so that they're not blindsided by what's in the final report.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#3
The results of the audit should obviously be discussed with the supplier management BEFORE you depart, so you need some review time prior to an "exit meeting" to ensure the findings (especially the negative ones) are understood and whatever actions are necessary from the supplier side are clear. Obviously, I am not inferring that the corrective actions should be discussed without proper allocation of time to perform root cause analysis of deficiencies, but it should be clear to the supplier IF formal corrective actions are needed, if their approval status is at risk or changed, etc...

The actual report itself, should be prepared and forwarded to the interested parties ASAP. Despite the potential existence of copious notes, some of the audit details are only available in people's memories. The sooner the report is reviewed, the better chances of any misunderstanding being clarified.

As for doing the reporting on-site, before departure, as long as the time spent does not detract from needed assessment time, sure, why not?
 

RCW

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
I agree with Sidney. I have always been under the impression that before an auditor leaves or ends the audit, ALL findings and observations are addressed so that the auditee is aware of what the actual results of the audit were. To me this is only fair so that there aren't any surprises or "Gotcha's" uncovered later on. I wouldn't expect to see a final audit report until shortly (3 to 10 days?) after the audit.

THAT BEING SAID, I recently was audited by a supplier who said the QMS looked good and there were 4 observations. Imagine my surprise when I received the audit report a month later and those 4 observations were changed to 2 findings requiring corrective action and 2 observations. I did perform the necessary corrective actions for those 2 finding but did not submit formal corrective actions for those as I felt blindsided by this audit. I also felt I needed to stand up to this auditor for what I consider sloppy auditing. (Thanks to Larry Whittington and his "Auditee Bill of Rights" class taken a few years ago!)

Has anyone else had similar experiences with an auditor? If so, how did you handle it?

:soap: Another thing I would like to throw out here, the auditor is an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor. Now I realize there are many good auditors out there with this certification but personally it is disappointing to me to see a person with this certification do the job they did for this audit. I do not currently have any ASQ certifications. I have always considered making the effort to obtain one or more but seeing what I saw I'm a bit jaded now.
 
#5
I agree with Sidney. I have always been under the impression that before an auditor leaves or ends the audit, ALL findings and observations are addressed so that the auditee is aware of what the actual results of the audit were. To me this is only fair so that there aren't any surprises or "Gotcha's" uncovered later on. I wouldn't expect to see a final audit report until shortly (3 to 10 days?) after the audit.

THAT BEING SAID, I recently was audited by a supplier who said the QMS looked good and there were 4 observations. Imagine my surprise when I received the audit report a month later and those 4 observations were changed to 2 findings requiring corrective action and 2 observations. I did perform the necessary corrective actions for those 2 finding but did not submit formal corrective actions for those as I felt blindsided by this audit. I also felt I needed to stand up to this auditor for what I consider sloppy auditing. (Thanks to Larry Whittington and his "Auditee Bill of Rights" class taken a few years ago!)

Has anyone else had similar experiences with an auditor? If so, how did you handle it?

:soap: Another thing I would like to throw out here, the auditor is an ASQ Certified Quality Auditor. Now I realize there are many good auditors out there with this certification but personally it is disappointing to me to see a person with this certification do the job they did for this audit. I do not currently have any ASQ certifications. I have always considered making the effort to obtain one or more but seeing what I saw I'm a bit jaded now.
Findings from formal third party audits should be clear at the closing meeting. Internal audits in larger organizations should probably be the same. But Supplier Audits are their own animal. Customers can essentially do what they want. It the above happened to me, I would probably pick up the phone and find out why the "changes" where made. I would work from there.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#6
As auditee you should have a copy of the audit plan. Make sure this plan includes the scope and objective of the audit as well as the timings and when the findings (both positive and negative) will be issued for formal acceptance usually before or at the closing meeting. That way you can make sure the needed people are available.

Each auditor on the team preps their checklist for their part of the audit as assigned by the lead auditor. The lead auditor then reviews the checklists to see if the auditors are prepared for the audit. Make sure the checklists leave space between each item for items that crop up during the investigation and leave sufficient room for note taking during the audit. I would highlight the positive and negative findings on the infilled checklist so they were easy to transfer to the report.

The evidence of any nonconformity is agreed as the audit progresses but make sure the person agreeing has the authority to present the rest of the facts that may be pertinent to what looks like a nonconformity.

As lead auditor, if possible, you develop your own way of completing the audit report before the closing meeting. I allowed an hour between stopping the investigation and starting the closing meeting for each audit day to review the evidence and prepare the report. That way you are ready for your next client the next working day. Promising yourself you’ll present just the findings at the closing meeting and complete the report later is not a good idea in my experience.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#7
Each auditor on the team preps their checklist for their part of the audit as assigned by the lead auditor. The lead auditor then reviews the checklists to see if the auditors are prepared for the audit.
That sounds a lot like an academic approach. Maybe in the first party auditing world, that could happen. In the third party auditing context, this would never happen. Especially in the commoditized world of audits and certificates we currently have.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#8
That sounds a lot like an academic approach. Maybe in the first party auditing world, that could happen. In the third party auditing context, this would never happen. Especially in the commoditized world of audits and certificates we currently have.
Yes, the leaders of third party audits may not need to review the checklists of their auditors if they’ve already completed many audits well or the checklists are of the cookie cutter variety.

Thanks for reminding me.
 

RCW

Quite Involved in Discussions
#9
"Promising yourself you’ll present just the findings at the closing meeting and complete the report later is not a good idea in my experience."

Agreed but usually reports are never issued at the close of audits. That's why I feel it is so important for the auditor & auditee to discuss the actual nonconformities from the audit so the auditee knows and agrees with any findings. A high level "yeah there were some issues" followed by a report weeks later that actually categorize those issues simply does not cut it in my book.

Auditing is easy......good, competent, valuable auditing is what takes a little effort.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#10
RCW,

In my experience the auditee is asked to agree the nonconformities when evidence to the contrary may be made available (before the closing meeting).

And as auditors we are meant to ensure that agreement is with the appropriate level of management.

John
 
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