Tips for dealing with third party auditors

kylerf

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hello,

We will be going through our 2nd phase AS9100D certification audit at the end of the month and there will be 2 auditors. I am the internal auditor for this company and just found out that one of the auditors will be assigned to me. I myself have only had experience with AS9100D for about 2 months now so i am still absorbing all the knowledge i can.

so my question is..... do you guys have any tips for someone that has never dealt with third party auditors before? What will they be looking for? I am not sure which processes we will be assigned to yet so the answers will probably have to be pretty generic.

Maybe this post can help someone else besides me in dealing with CB.
 
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Eredhel

Quality Manager
#2
3rd party auditors are just like anyone else, it depends on the person. Understanding their personality and then building a relationship with them will go a long way. It can help you know when to push and when to learn. Be careful that an auditor doesn't try to force things that aren't actually required, "show me the shall", otherwise you'll get a bloated system that isn't about your organization at all. But also be careful and understand it's all political capital and you want to spend it wisely. My very first audit I tried to understand our QMS the best I could beforehand and then followed the auditor's lead with rare thought out challenges. As I gained more knowledge I learned to do more during an audit.

They're going to find something, so don't worry about that :). And like anything in life we learn by repetition, so there really isn't any substitute for being around them as much as you can.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#3
I am not sure which processes we will be assigned to yet so the answers will probably have to be pretty generic.
The CB has to send to send you an audit plan based on what they found during stage 1.

As how to interface with the auditor, be:
  • Professional
  • Honest
  • Punctual

Auditors come in all sizes and shapes, degrees of competence and knowledge.
 

RCH2016

Involved In Discussions
#4
I was told early on to try not to volunteer information, and avoid assuming you see where a line of questioning is going. They will lead you there. Also, try to relax.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#5
Start by downing a fifth of vodka before they show up. That will make the audit a breeze. :)

But really Sidney is correct. You should be given an audit plan so you know what areas will be covered. The biggest thing to me is to figure out how to bridge the gap between auditor language and us normal folks. Auditors come in with preconceived ideas how everyone does it -- things they have seen in the past. If you're different, make sure you're aware of it and able to explain it.

For example a while back we got hit on metrics. We didn't "review" them. Auditor was looking for some type of record, summary, etc. It actually took me a year to figure out where the disconnect was between myself and the auditor. What she missed is that I, myself, as top manager also calculated the metrics. So calculation and review where done together. She was thinking beuracracy where management is disconnected vs our company where we were engaged every day.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#6
The CB has to send to send you an audit plan based on what they found during stage 1.

As how to interface with the auditor, be:
  • Professional
  • Honest
  • Punctual

Auditors come in all sizes and shapes, degrees of competence and knowledge.
Add:

KNOW, and understand, the standard(s) (and customer requirements) you are being audited to and KNOW your company's business systems.

Also see: Audit_Guide_N_20130430.pptx

Audit -Search - Attachment Listing

Employee and Escort Pre-Audit Training.pptx

And more in the Cove_Members Directory
 
Last edited:
#7
I believe the best approach is not to wait to be asked. Be prepared. Know the process, how it's measured/monitored, what results are being achieved against the objectives set and what actions are planned/taking place. Do NOT wait to be asked. Take control. It gives less chance to be thrown a curved ball, with a deer in the headlights response - which isn't desirable.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#8
just found out that one of the auditors will be assigned to me.
As part of the audit protocol, the organization normally assigns a escort guide to assist the external auditor in getting to the proper areas and people that s/he needs to interview. Don't think that YOU will be responsible for answering all the questions asked by the external auditor. The questions should be posed to the process owners and doers, not you.

Actually, you should refrain from answering questions not directed at you.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#9
Keep 'em warm, well fed and hydrated. It also helps to rub their belly every now and then.

Just kidding:lol: (I'm a 3rd party auditor, that's all I do)

As has been pointed out, you're a guide to get the auditor to and from, without any requirement to know everything.

Just be honest, straightforward and professional. Friendly but not buddy, buddy helps as well.

If the auditor wants to engage in small off the subject talk don't fret it (unless you have an unscrupulous auditor. I like a small bit of chatter myself because it helps cut through the tension)

And just "Be yourself!"

The occasional belly rub does help;)
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#10
As part of the audit protocol, the organization normally assigns a escort guide to assist the external auditor in getting to the proper areas and people that s/he needs to interview. Don't think that YOU will be responsible for answering all the questions asked by the external auditor. The questions should be posed to the process owners and doers, not you.

Actually, you should refrain from answering questions not directed at you.
Agreed. Guide vs. Escort - Difference? See some of the related files: Related Elsmar Files

E.g.: The Audit Team
 
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