What will the Auditor ask Top Management?

G

Graeme

#1
I have a question about the beginning of an audit. I understand that a registration audit usually starts with a meeting with top management, and the auditor will have some questions. At this point, I have a question for you, the forum members --

To what level of detail is top management normally expected to have knowledge of the quality management system? Will the auditor be satisfied with knowledge from the quality manual, management reviews and policy setting? Will top management be expected to know the gory details of day-to-day operations? Or should the knowledge level be somewhere else?

Background:
A very tiny department of a very large bureaucratic company is getting ready for an ISO 9001:2000 registration audit. (We are about 0.013% of the company! And yes, it is just this department trying for the registration.) I am working with the department manager in getting ready, but this is the first time I have ever been this close to a registration audit. "Top Management", in this case, we have defined as being three levels above the department, for various reasons. (That level is still about four levels below the corporate CEO.) That manager is over a group of 33 departments, ranging in size from 10 to over 100 people, covering a wide variety of service functions. While he is very supportive and enthusiastic about this department's initiative (he did approve it and provide the resources, after all) he does not really have close daily contact with the system. I have to brief him on what to expect, but I find I really don't know myself ... so this plea for you to expand my knowledge.

... back to the stress, panic, firefighting and insecure uncertainty ...
 
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A

Al Dyer

#2
From past experience (QS) top management was only involved in management review and business plan.

The business plan is probably the easy part. The hard one is ensuring that top management is reviweing the processes and actually acting upon the finding.

Of course they were also present for the opening and closing meetings.

ASD...
 
#3
I have been through 4 registration audits and each was basically the same. It started with top management the company being audited. In your case I would guess that it would begin with the department manager. Our review consisted of all paragraphs of 4.1 and poarts of 4.2., related to the quality manual.
Depending on your registrar be preparted for questions on controlling the other departments that you work with.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#4
-> Will top management be expected to know the gory details
-> of day-to-day operations?

Only as they relate to them. I agree with the above except in ISO9000:2000 it's not as plain as the old 4.1 and 4.2. And it's section 5 in the new version. I recently went through a 2000 registration. The auditor really took the guy to task. Much was concerned with continuous improvement. It was, to be honest, somewhat extensive and in some parts almost combative. I felt the auditor went just a bit overboard.

I'm trying to remember specific questions, but to be honest I didn't write any down. In one thread here I remember posting one question that upset me - It had to do with the quote system. The auditor really hammered and suggested that maybe they could 'improve' their system by reducing the number of times a quote was revised. Their answer was typically four. The auditor wanted to know why so many and could they not save money by reducing the cycle count 1 or 2. Luckily, the company was very well run. The fellow who is for all intents and purposes the plant manager handled it well. For their product, it is not unusual for requotes as customers focus their requirements (the company is an equipment manufacturer). Buying their equipment is not like buying paper clips where there's little need for 'focusng' requirements.

It was a lot different than the way the same fella audited to the 1994 version. But - this is just him.

There were a lot of questions about measureables and such. How they were used to improve. Of course, management review was a hot topic with respect to the measureables questions.The focus was on measureables with respect to not only continuous improvement, but also (for as far as one can differentiate the two) preventive action. In both cases you're reacting to data.

-> "Top Management", in this case, we have defined as being
-> three levels above the department, for various reasons.
-> (That level is still about four levels below the
-> corporate CEO.)

The folks defined just have to know about their responsibilities. However, you're still a 'small company' as far as the registrar is concerned. For example, Have you looked at aspects such as the management review requirement? How are you handling it?
 
G

Graeme

#5
THANK YOU all for your input.

Our registration audit was last Thursday and Friday ... and we are recommended for registration! The management review portion went well, thanks to all of the suggestions here.

Thanks again!


------------------
Graeme C. Payne
ASQ Certified Quality Engineer
[email protected]
 
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