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  Process Audit - A Definition

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Author Topic:   Process Audit - A Definition
Marc Smith
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Posts: 4119
From:West Chester, OH, USA
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posted 08 October 1999 01:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Subject: Re: Process Audit /Farrugia/Arter
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 16:43:28 -0600
From: ISO Standards Discussion

From: Dennis Arter
Subject: RE: Process Audit /Farrugia/Arter

>Can anyone describe what a Process Audit is and what to look for during
>such audit?

Disclaimer: These are Arter's thoughts and do not reflect the current literature. That's because there is no literature on the process audit! There is no standard, national or international. The topic receives little or no attention in the popular quality audit texts, including mine.

Process audits examine one or more processing steps. They are an in-depth evaluation of the process and those universal affectors of methods, machinery, manpower, material, measurement, and environment. They provide assurance that the process is being implemented as planned. They may also provide information on the ability of the process to produce a quality output. Done properly, a process audit is much more than verification that procedures are being followed. (There are five other affectors that should be examined.) Although preparation can take a day or two, actual audit time is about two hours per shift per application. The report should be about one page. (Leave the completed checklists in the file cabinet.)

In a compliance audit application, a process audit verifies performance of the process in accordance with defined requirements. In a management audit application, a process audit examines the ability of the process to achieve desired results.

Yours truly will be leading a session or two on this topic at the next ASQ Quality Audit Division conference, March 2-3, in Reno.

Dennis R. Arter

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David Guffey
Forum Contributor

Posts: 49
From:St. Joseph MI, USA
Registered: Oct 1999

posted 21 October 1999 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Guffey   Click Here to Email David Guffey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Maybe I have my head in the sand, but I never thought a process audit needed a definition.

Why do I say that?

Well, first of all, you need to identify a process. If and when you do that, you know what needs to be audited. If there's a start, if something happens to something, and there's an ending, that process can be flowcharted. Once flowcharted, you can see opportunities for efficiency improvements; you can see compliance or noncompliance. That is, you can audit.

Is the real question, "what is a process?"? If you cannot pick it up and hold it or walk around it, you probably do not have a product on which to hold a product audit. If "it" is something you can flowchart, you have a process and can perform a process audit.

Notice that by this definition, virtually anything can have a process audit. The process of reviewing contracts, the process of ordering raw materials, the process of receiving raw materials, the process of paying the invoice, the process of invoicing the customer for goods or services provided, and on and on. Any further questions?

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