Unannounced Random Audits


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Subject: Re: Q: Random audits? /Martins/Naish
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999 14:31:35 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion

From: PNaish


I agree the company should be prepared at any time for their audit. And I know a number of companies who do exactly what you said. So random unscheduled audits would possibly catch them with their ISO down. However, they would lilely find ways to hide what they don't want you to see anyway. And what of the companies who are prepared year round and don't stop just before their audit? They would not care except for one thing.

In all cases you are asking a company to have the represenetative available or the people who are being audited available to answer questions. How can an auditor do a good job if the people are not there because you did not let them know you were coming. As an example, what if I were the registrar and decided to make a trip to your city on the week of Easter. I did 2 other companies earlier in the week and you are small so I planned on doing you on Good friday. I show up at 8 AM and guess what? Your company takes Good friday off. Now your time is wasted and you have to charge me more because you will have to make a separate trip to stop by to see my company.

Or any time of the year: I have a document control clerk and an assistant. The assistant had schedueld vacation months in advance and the document control clerk was in an accident on the way to work that day and doesn't make it in. The company will get by for the day but how do you audit the master list and controls that the clerk and their assistant control?

Those are reasons why I think the audit might not be successful. In addition, is the adversarial implication which can cause a poor attitude also making the audit not go well. I may be at work but my work load today since it is the first of the month and I am trying to get reports to everyone is so great that I know when you come in I am going to have to spend an hour or two with you and everyone is going to be unhappy with me because their reports are late. I am not going to be as cooperative as I would be if I could have planned for your visit and planned to come in early to get my reports done before you got there.

In addition it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. You are just another policeman out there hiding in the bushes trying to catch me breaking the law. I for one went through unscheduled audits with UL and the timing could be a killer at the end of the month when you were trying to meet the customers needs. This would mean a company might have to place an ISO audit before meeting the needs of the customer which seems to be diabolically opposed to what ISO was developed for.

I don't condone systems that "clean everything up" at the last minute. But is that is the mind set that one believes the companies have then what makes you think they aren't hiding things even if you come unplanned? I think you have to believe that most people want to do the right thing and do the right thing. These people would only be penalized by lack of planning if you went to random unscheduled audits.

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David Guffey

The registrar who "drops in" for an audit for my company will soon be a former registrar.

Anyone properly trained in Quality Auditing KNOWS not to pull a surprise audit (regulatory or statute compliance excepted).
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