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Author Topic:   Audit Teams
Forum Contributor

Posts: 10
From:San Jose, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 31 January 2001 03:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bryan   Click Here to Email Bryan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just back from a company meeting our president set up to review our auditing program. I wanted to get some feed back as to what others do out there in the ISO world.

First, we have trouble keeping auditors, we set up a team based on volunteerism, and then have trouble keeping them. How are teams established, and how are they kept interested/involved ? One idea was to replace the word "volunteer" ....ideas?
Also it was suggested to replace the words "Internal auditor" ......ideas ?
Do companies have there QA dept responsible for Internal Audits, or do all departments have representitives involved in the audit process? We are currently looking at having each dept assign 1 person for a 2 or 3 year term. (IS this a good idea?)

Second, it was discussed that for auditors, more recongition should occur,(certificates, lunches, days off)....What are other companies doing in this area?

I thank you for your feedback.

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lou hannigan
Lurker (<10 Posts)

Posts: 5
From:wayne nj usa
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 31 January 2001 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lou hannigan   Click Here to Email lou hannigan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Bryan,

Why don't you ask the internal auditors their reasons for leaving the fold?



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Al Dyer
Forum Wizard

Posts: 622
From:Lapeer, MI USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 31 January 2001 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One main point to drive home to internal auditors is that they are not auditing people (co-workers) but are auditing processes that the company has put in place.

Once internal auditors realize this, it can be reinforced that improving the process can make the job easier for everybody.

On the other topic you brought up, I have seen a system where the Management Representative worked for top honcho of the company. The M.R. controlled the I.A. system (scheduling, C.A. etc...) but did not perform the actual audits. The Reps main responsibility was to ensure that audit results were fair, compliant, effective, and reported to management for review.

A long way to say that I.A. does not need to rest with Q.A. (and (IMO) probably shouldn't)


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Doug Stimson
Forum Contributor

Posts: 15
From:Arden, NC USA
Registered: Jan 2001

posted 01 February 2001 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Doug Stimson   Click Here to Email Doug Stimson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We get some volunteers, some "appointed auditors". Most new salaried employees are automatically picked; helps them learn other areas of business. They are required to serve for at least one year. We also audit in 2 person teams which seems to work well. Have lunches with VP/Plant Manager twice a year. At a former company audit team participation was part of performance review. Newsletter recognition. Give themopportunity to act as guides during Registrar audits.

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Forum Contributor

Posts: 81
From:Rochester, NY
Registered: Jan 2000

posted 01 February 2001 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ISO GUY   Click Here to Email ISO GUY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ok this is the way our company handles it, now mind you I am not saying this is the best way but it seems to work right now. Our QA Department (namely me) is responsible for the internal audits. I have asked for "volunteers" who would like to learn how to audit, and surprisingly 10-11 people signed up. I had a two day training session for whoever was intrested and also require them to complete audits with me until I feel they demonstrate they can do it. I also have them audit in teams so they do not have to feel overwhelmed (plus the more eyes you have looking the sooner we can find and fix things that are wrong). Another thing I tell our internal auditors is that they can put this on their resume so what can it hurt (what you might possibly make yourself more valuable in the job market.)

I also do audits with a registrar and have seen it done many ways, you have to decide what is best for your company, and to tell you truth this will change from time to time. I wouldn't force or pressure people into auditing, this will just make them hate it and not do a good job.

Remember you can tell them once they are trained they can audit QA!!! That usually makes them happy.

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barb butrym
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Posts: 637
From:South Central Massachusetts

posted 01 February 2001 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
one reason internal auditors "leave" is the same reason they are chosen...the auditor traits tend to make people 'shine'...... they are do-ers and often grow into new positions and take on more responsibilities and teh auditing gets left behind. it is an excellent stepping stone.

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Forum Contributor

Posts: 10
From:San Jose, CA USA
Registered: Sep 2000

posted 05 February 2001 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bryan   Click Here to Email Bryan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those replys, your input is well taken, and thank you.

AL, your comment of auditing the system and not the people is the exact comment I had made during our meeting. I had asked our trainer to key on this during his training times.

Barb, good point. Stepping stone. Our auditors tend to leave because they feel its extra work, (how may people volunteer for extra work).

Others, Im sure there is more that can be shared. What are the experiences of other companies out there? Forming teams, and keeping teams together ?

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David Mullins
Forum Contributor

Posts: 248
From:Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05 February 2001 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for David Mullins   Click Here to Email David Mullins     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A smattering of inputs:

1. new internal auditors are usually targeted, I frequently use supervisor level people as they learn a lot from what they see in other areas, get ideas for their own area, etc. Plus these people have some level of authority within the business and are more likely to get co-operation.

2. internal auditors need appropriate training in the expectations of your auditing system (generic courses are of little value in this area).

3. internal auditors need incentive, support, learn the right approach, understand the system.

4. internal auditors who prepare their own checklists generally donāt have the experience to prepare the right questions.

5. pre-prepared checklists are typically not understood by auditors to start with ö support ö but it makes their life a lot easier.

6. I keep a quality record of ćauthorizedä internal auditors. Donāt get hung up on debating names and word-smithing terms. This is a total waste of time. (This is usually the time that those managers who seldom support the system suddenly get fired up and drag the meaningless debate out)

7. QA (by whatever name) should run the program. Audits and corrective (yes and preventive and improvement) actions provide the backbone of feedback to management on the state of health/compliance of the QMS. Would you really want production people stuffing this up (not that they would do it on purpose ö it is just a low priority for them).

8. An equitable balance of reps from different areas/departments is nice, to preventively diffuse doubters and finger-pointers, but at the end of the day you get whomever you can.

9. Process improvements from auditing is DANGEROUS. Internal auditors often donāt have intimate knowledge of the area, and are perceived to be interfering if they propose improvements ö telling them to suck eggs. The primary focus (I believe), particularly for inexperienced auditors is COMPLIANCE ö where are the gaps?

10. The Quality Manager should meet with auditors on a regular basis (maybe 6 monthly) to review practices, fine tune approaches, revise schedules, air concerns, etc.



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Forum Contributor

Posts: 228
From:New Britain, CT
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06 February 2001 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my previous life, supervisors were used as auditors and it was a failure. Lack of interest and management still wanted maximum output from production. They were not allowed ample time to perform their desktop audits because deliveries came first. I ended up classifying them as alternates, but essentially, they were excused.

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barb butrym
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Posts: 637
From:South Central Massachusetts

posted 09 February 2001 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
the least taxing to the company and the people is an audit day or two each quarter. Team up, plan, perform and report all in that one day. Include coffee breaks and catered lunch. Have all forms user friendly and available as well as copies of all main procedures and QA manual..and of course CA and past audits. If you plan carefully, it is a pleasant experience and is done and over. If possible include other site auditors (cross audit. Scheduled and well planned it all goes smoothly...sometimes a hired consultant with the team adds value in facilitating.

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Alf Gulford
Forum Contributor

Posts: 60
From:Portland, OR
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 14 February 2001 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alf Gulford   Click Here to Email Alf Gulford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You've gotten so many good answers that I'm tempted to stay quite, but that's not in my nature so I'll make these observations:

a) When I walked into our audit program all of the existing auditors were assigned, and few were happy about it. Now, when filling vacancies, applicants have to apply and be interviewed. Yes, I am losing some because of their visibility and exposure in the company, but that's OK - ISO aware people are moving up and that helps me.

b) I choose new auditors from both supervision and the 'floor.' The blend of experiences and perspectives is great (and they know where the skeletons are).

c) David's point #9 is exactly right as far as it goes. My auditors don't really suggest improvements, they carefully tell the local supervisor that someone else in the company had a similar problem and might have information on a solution. It can be awkward but we don't to lose a chance to help where we can.

This is a great thread with great information.


[This message has been edited by Alf Gulford (edited 14 February 2001).]

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barb butrym
Forum Contributor

Posts: 637
From:South Central Massachusetts

posted 17 February 2001 09:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barb butrym   Click Here to Email barb butrym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
its not so much the auditors offering advice for improvements, etc......but more the questions they ask that trigger the auditee to look at things in a different light...thus driving the change/improvement from within....that adds value......

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