TS 16949 Internal Audit Scheduling - Seeking Advice


Sandra Shepard

Audit Scheduling

I have read through many of the Auditing posts and haven't found anything on this particular subject.

How do you document the QS 9000 (also TS 16969) requirement to:

"schedule audits on the basis of the status and importance of the activity to be audited"?

Because we have a strong Quality Management System and very few minor findings during internal audits and continuous assessments by our registrar, our internal audits are performed only once a year. This includes each manufacturing facility and support activity. Each is important to the organization. The audit frequency can be increased based on customer complaints, etc.

I have been asked by external auditors to "beef-up" how we document this "status and importance of the activity" requirement because we really don't specifically address it.
Although it has never resulted in an audit finding, it could.


Randy Stewart

Put it in writing!

Ask yourself what will work within your system and see what can be found as to evidence. It may be as simple as adding a box to the non-conformance or review that states simply "Add to audit frequency list" to showing that the n/c was reviewed during the internal audit and no repeats were noted. All they want to do is to ensure that if something big did happen that you have a means to increase the amount of audits or reviews in that area. From what you have stated in your post I don't see where it would require you to change the way you do business or change your system.
If you noted the same type failure (late shipments) 9 times in a quarter wouldn't you look into it??? Just make sure your system allows you to do that, and that it will be documented.


Audit Scheduling

Good day,

Just get the relevant departments Head to conduct a "FMEA" on their key processes and hightlight the areas most likely to give problems. Based on that info, schedule for audits more frequently.... ;) objective evidence is demonstrated for the auditors...I mean for your organisation overall improvement... cheers



One thing I have added to my audit process is a summary sheet for each "area" audited. This could be a part of the standard, process, department, procedure or whatever - however you want to audit your system.

I use the summary to put the good and bad into one page, with nonconformances attached. To beef up the requirements you mention, I added a "Overall Status" ranking to be completed by the lead auditor. It is a 1 to 10 scale saying how the audit area went. If everything was perfect, they get a 10. If a few minor issues, 6-8. Nothing in place = 1. I also put a "recommended next audit" mark. This will be directly related to the overall ranking. If they got a 10, I might recommend a year. If a 3, two or three months. Management gets the final say on the schedule - it is just a recommendation.

Seems to help my clients plan a schedule. I have used it with several auditors and registrars and they seem to think it is a good idea. I couple have "borrowed" the idea.

Don't forget you will also need to address other impacts, such as nonconformances and corrective actions. If customer complaints spike in one area between audits, you should probably pull that audit forward.

Hope this helps,



Trusted Information Resource
Audit importance

This works for us:
We are audited 2x/year by UL. There are 4 elements of QS that UL audits every audit: 4.1, 4.2, 4.14, and 4.17. We audit every element 1x/year except for those 4, which are audited 2x/year just prior to the UL audit. Elements needing attention are noted in the audit reports and a follow-up audit/date is documented in the report. That is how we set our importance.

UL likes it - we're all happy.
UL is very cool - love them to death!


M Greenaway

Also an ISO9001:2000 requirement.

One method might be to Pareto your complaints by process, then audit the worst offending process more often.

If of course you have no complaints and no audit findings you either already have an excellent system, in which case drop audit frequency back to two years, or your audits and/or complaints gathering is ineffective.


Trusted Information Resource
Pareto method

As a matter of fact, I keep track of all findings by element and look for problem areas/trends on a monthly basis. I have had to increase audting as a result. I don't want to decrease any audits - I like to keep us on our toes and ready for our 6 month surveillance audits. We typically have 5 findings every time we're audited by UL. (They really have to search to get them.)

Lee :bigwave:

C Emmons

We just passed our first half of our transition audit. To address this area, we have a sheet at the end of the audit report that states Based on the results of this audit, it is suggested that this facility be audited in:
30 days
60 days
90 days
6 months
1 year.

They are then added to the exisiting audit schedule. Worked fine for us.


We have done much the same thing in tracking increased audit needs. I have added a checkbox and question at the end of the checklist which asks if "As a result of this audit, do you believe this area needs increased auditing?". We have just started using this to gather more input for increased needs. I will then adjust the schedule accordingly and note that at the end of the yearly6 schedule.


Trusted Information Resource
Audit frequency

This is a great idea - is this something that TS 16949 requires?? I know I will have to transition soon but I have not looked at the requirements for TS yet.
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