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Author Topic:   Scheduling audits
Fire Girl
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Posts: 41
From:Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 01 May 2001 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fire Girl   Click Here to Email Fire Girl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My last maintenance audit, my registrar was not pleased with how I schedule audits. The standard states that audits should be scheduled based on status and importance. What exactly is meant by this? I thought I knew but apparently I don't!

Thanks

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ISO GUY
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From:Rochester, NY
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posted 01 May 2001 01:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ISO GUY   Click Here to Email ISO GUY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The audit schedule is based on the status and importance of the areas being audited (ANSI/ISO/ASQC Q9001-1994). In addition, areas where non-conformances are frequently issued (due to customer complaints, internal cars, or audit findings) will be audited more frequently. If the audits continue to be positive (no findings, internal cars, or customer complaints), the area will be audited less frequently. Regardless, all elements of the quality system are reviewed at least once a year during Management Review meetings. The (Person in your Company) is responsible for scheduling audits (the acceptability of the audit schedule will be approved during Management Review quarterly(how ever often they meet)).

This is what I state in our Procedure. Let me know if this helps.

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

posted 01 May 2001 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The auditor wasn't pleased? I would say, "How so?". Make him explain. Was it just an opinion? You know what they say about opinions....evrybody has one. Possibly, when reviewing C & A, he/she noticed repeat N/C's that should be addressed by internal audits. Other than that, you decide the frequency. Like ISO Guy says, during Management Review Mtgs, these schedules are approved or new audits scheduled based on the inputs to the Meeting. Unless he/she issued a minor, dollar to a doughnut there wasn't, I wouldn't lose sleep over it/
energy

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Dan Larsen
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Posts: 137
From:Sussex, WI
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 01 May 2001 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Larsen   Click Here to Email Dan Larsen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like Energy, I'd guess that the auditor noticed some high findings areas that weren't audited more frequently. That's usually what the auditor will look for. Schedule all areas at least once each year. Using historical data (prior years audits, CAR's, complaint records, etc.), schedule problem areas more frequently. If you have an area that turns up being a problem during the year, schedule a second audit (possibly as verification for action taken).

Finally, make sure you take credit for those "mini audits" you very likely do. Most Management Reps will do a quick check of the areas that they know have been problems. If you do, take credit for it. After all, it is an audit.

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Al Dyer
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From:Lapeer, MI USA
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 01 May 2001 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Food for thought:

QS-9000 Element 4.1 3 states that all elements of the quality system need to be reviewed during management review, at defined frequencies.


QS-9000 Element 4.17 says that internal audits must be scheduled on the basis of the status and importance.......

Where does it say that all elements of QS-9000 must be audited (4.1.7) on a yearly basis?

Where does it say that all elements must be reviewed (4.1.3) on a yearly basis?

Just my personal opinion, but good business practice has led us to do a full internal audit of all elements yearly and report those results to management review for documentation that management has reviewed all elements of the quality system.

(This is in addition to the more valuable
product/process/dock audits)

ASD...

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

posted 02 May 2001 08:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Al,
Like you, I feel auditing all elements at least once a year is good practice, but is not mandatory. If you look at the amount of level 3 procedures one should have for Process Control (element 4.9, you can audit that particular element many more times than, say, Element 20. The company determines the areas of importance, not the standard.
Man, New England is beautiful right now.
energy

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Fire Girl
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From:Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 02 May 2001 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fire Girl   Click Here to Email Fire Girl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I do audit every element at least once per year and I state this in my procedures. I think he was a little miffed (?) as to how I go about choosing which elements to audit when. Does he mean that some should be scheduled more than once per year? I think I should be able to determine this for our company based on our needs. The standard is quite vague about this (as well as other things!).

Thanks for all the ideas 'guys'!

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energy
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From:New Britain, CT
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 02 May 2001 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fire Girl,
He was probably miffed at the way YOU go about scheduling audits. The audits should be directed by "Management" based on the importance as a result of audits, mgt reviews, etc. I assume you are the Mgt Rep. Your responsibility is to direct the audits authorized by Management. Not to select. I do what you do (select), but, there is a place for "Executive" management to sign and authorize. In the case of your auditor, I can tell him that Management selects the areas to be audited as evidenced by their signature on the audit schedule.
JMHO,
energy

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

posted 02 May 2001 11:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alf Gulford   Click Here to Email Alf Gulford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Energy-
Not all registrars get hung up on scheduling responsibilities. Although I'm the lead auditor here and not the Mgt. Rep., the registrar has never questioned the fact that I produce the auditing schedules. He just wants to make sure that I base the scheduling on factors mentioned in the above posts, and that 'management' is satisfied with the results.

Alf

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energy
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From:New Britain, CT
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 02 May 2001 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alf,
Just trying to determine why Fire Girl's auditor was "miffed". There was something that he didn't care for. Quite possibly, and I used the word "probably" in my response, the importance of the audits was the problem. I say blame it on Management and let the auditor pursue his answer elsewhere. After all, Mgt Rep's have their hands full answering other auditor whims. I have never heard of an auditor getting "hung up" on audit schedules or responsibilities either.
energy

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

posted 02 May 2001 03:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ISO GUY   Click Here to Email ISO GUY     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fire Girl:
My last maintenance audit, my registrar was not pleased with how I schedule audits. The standard states that audits should be scheduled based on status and importance. What exactly is meant by this? I thought I knew but apparently I don't!

Thanks



What do you think based on status and importance means Fire? The only reason I ask is I want to see where you are coming from.


[This message has been edited by ISO GUY (edited 02 May 2001).]

[This message has been edited by ISO GUY (edited 02 May 2001).]

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Fire Girl
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From:Orillia, Ontario, Canada
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posted 03 May 2001 10:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fire Girl   Click Here to Email Fire Girl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
ISO Guy

I think that status & importance is a variable thing based on your company.

Status- Are there lots of N/C's and CPA's in this element? If there are lots of problems in one area than you should be auditing it more.

Importance- That will depend on your company. At different companies there may be some elements which are more important than others.

How's that for an answer?

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

posted 03 May 2001 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fire Girl:
ISO Guy

I think that status & importance is a variable thing based on your company.

Status- Are there lots of N/C's and CPA's in this element? If there are lots of problems in one area than you should be auditing it more.

Importance- That will depend on your company. At different companies there may be some elements which are more important than others.

How's that for an answer?


I like it!

Just to add to importance, there is "some" guidance in appendix B of QS-9000. They say that customer complaints/supplier response, internal audit, management review, and continuous improvement are to be reviewed during all on-site audits. We use this to assist us in defining importance.

ASD...

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Dan Larsen
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Posts: 137
From:Sussex, WI
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 03 May 2001 09:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dan Larsen   Click Here to Email Dan Larsen     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think Fire Girl has it right. As for the auditor issue, the key, Fire Girl, is "in YOUR company"!

Auditors can be swayed by their expectations, and part of the job of the Management Rep is to put those expectations into perspective for the company the auditor is auditing.

If you feel and believe your audit schedule is responsive to the needs of your company, you should take him/her on and ask how your system fails to meet the intent of the standard.

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eskay
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Posts: 21
From:Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Registered: Apr 2000

posted 06 May 2001 05:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eskay   Click Here to Email eskay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes.... I agree with others!! Auditor cannot comment on frequency of audit scheduled by the MR until and unless he finds some major and/or repeated non-conformities in the areas audited.

I have a query too!! I saw that ISOGUY & few others have mentioned that the internal audit schedule to be approved during the Management Review Meeting. Is this a requirement? In my case, I never put the internal audit schedule for approval during the Management Review meeting. All our group companies internal audit schedules are approved by me as MR and followed. Any comments?

{Its been a while since I visited this forum and made some contribution...Been too busy out of QA!! - this note for all those who have missed me!! }

------------------
Eskay
Seven Seas Group of Companies
Dubai

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

posted 06 May 2001 05:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al Dyer   Click Here to Email Al Dyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just personal experience, but in the past I have acted as the MR and Internal Auditor and never had schedules approved by management, only reported results for their review.

I have always worked for smaller companies and for either the President or General Manager, so this organization of duties has worked well.

ASD...

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Fire Girl
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Posts: 41
From:Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 07 May 2001 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fire Girl   Click Here to Email Fire Girl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At this time I do not have management sign off on the I/A schedule. I review audit results with them and allow them to peruse the schedule in case they have any concerns. There is no where in the standard that says management has to approve the schedule. But if you say they do, then they do!

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

posted 07 May 2001 11:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for energy   Click Here to Email energy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fire Girl,
You are correct when you say that it isn't stated in the standard. I guess what I was pointing to was the definition of the Mgt Rep. "ensuring that processes needed for the quality Management system are established, implemented and maintained". To me, that "could suggest" monitoring Top Management's quality planning. It's just a nice touch showing that Top Mgt had a say in the Internal Audit Schedule and any special audits required. In my previous life, I would go to the CEO and say I think we need to audit this or that. They would sign off the audit schedule and it added clout to the departments being audited, who usually resist auditing activity. The customer would look at the audit scedule, see the authorizing signature and they knew "Top Management" had some input. And, it only took a minute. JMHO
Fishing was great!
energy

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Russ
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Posts: 17
From:Tipton, IN
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 08 May 2001 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ   Click Here to Email Russ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm curious,does anyone write NCR's from mini-audits you do as you walk thru the facility? Or do you reserve that for scheduled audits?

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

posted 08 May 2001 03:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Alf Gulford   Click Here to Email Alf Gulford     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Russ-
Could you define a 'mini-audit'?

If an area asks me to come out and help them with conformance to standards I act as an internal consultant and don't write anything, just point out gaps and provide them with advice/information. Then they're audited later per the schedule. On the other hand, if they ask me to audit them (usually just before the registrar is due), it's a sort of 'mini' audit that I do write reports against.

Is this an answer to the question?

Alf

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Fire Girl
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Posts: 41
From:Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 08 May 2001 04:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fire Girl   Click Here to Email Fire Girl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Russ

Let me tell you what I think a mini audit is. This is what we do: Usually just before an audit I ask all the employees to get involved in what I call mini audits. I have them check out an area that they do not work in. I usually don't log these audits, I just mention at our morning production meetings that there were discrepancies in a certain area. Perhaps I should log them in our Internal Audit Book?

What do you think?

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Russ
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From:Tipton, IN
Registered: Apr 2001

posted 08 May 2001 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ   Click Here to Email Russ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Alf,
I consider a mini-audit an audit I take every time i visit a department for a look around. I try to do this once a week, just to keep on top of things. We have never wrote reports against anything but scheduled audits before. I just took this position over in Nov.,00 and I think we should be able to write reports for those spots that just won't cooperate even between audits. I don't want to be like the Gestapo, but sometimes it takes a lot of attention to get some of these people to fly right. Thanks for your input!

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Russ
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From:Tipton, IN
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posted 08 May 2001 05:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Russ   Click Here to Email Russ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks to you too Fire Girl.

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Marc Smith
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From:West Chester, OH, USA
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posted 08 May 2001 05:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Marc Smith   Click Here to Email Marc Smith     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scheduling: Your systems says who schedules audits. ISO does not have a requirement for management to schedule them or anything like that.

The status and importance issue from ISO is one of the originals. QS-9000 has led everyone to the once a year 'criteria'. The original intent was to let the company decide, based upon reason, what to audit and when. If you are having problems in a specific area or with a specific system, more frequent audits are 'expected'. One area that was often passed over for long periods were systems like traceability (remember for some companies traceability is not much of an issue) where no problems were evident for a year or two or more there was justification to spread your audit for that out to maybe 18 months. Document control was another one which - well, as you audit just about anything you're automatically seeing whether document control is effective and whether the system is being followed. You're asking people to show you their documentation, explain about their records, etc. From this (and I have seen registration audits where document control was 'passed' by the fact of all the other audits) you could argue that (assuming no 'recent' findings) 18 months or 2 years would be sufficient for a document control audit. On the other hand, an auditor could argue for at least yearly audits because of the criticality of document control (importance).

Since QS-9000 sunk in and with thanks to the push by the ASQC and 'the auditors' (to the extreme of wanting companies to 'register' or 'certify' their internal auditors - can you say $$$?), the 1 year for auditing everything at least once is pretty much expected.

Just remember the words: Status and Importance.

Status: Are there recent problems? When was it last audited?

Importance: Your judgement as to how important or critical a system is.

If you are walking to lunch and pass a container and see nonconforming product what do you do? It's not a formal audit - you're on your way to lunch. But it is a concern so I suspect you would notify the appropriate operator, supervisor or whoever. Then, a determination would be made at to whether a corrective action was required or not, but at the least the nonconforming product would be identified and appropriate nonconformance system aspects would apply - loging the findings or however your system works.

I can't see any difference in a 'mini' audit. If you identify a nonconformance you use the appropriate system to rspond. And yes - I would log them as audits. That's what they are, aren't they??

One of the things I have done in most implementations is to schedule 'walk-throughs' where I simply go department by department for small samples to assess compliance status. It is high risk, small sample size, but if you're finding a lot of things the problems are obviously serious. I reported findings - they reacted. The only difference is in implementation, prior to the registration audit, the system findings were typically not a driver for a corrective action unless no progress has been made. This is discussed in the latest implementation guide. (I don't think this is addresed in the posted 'example' slides and I'm not updating them again - only the guide files which are for sale - can't give away everything...)

-> I guess what I was pointing to was the definition of the
-> Mgt Rep. "ensuring that processes needed for the quality
-> Management system are established, implemented and
-> maintained". To me, that "could suggest" monitoring Top
-> Management's quality planning.

I don't think the intent is to require upper management to directly oversee internal audit scheduling. The schedule and the results of audits are supposed to be presented during management review.

My advise is to continue to schedule yourself but be prepared to explain your reasoning for the schedule. Heck - there are several clients I do audits for about yearly (see below - we're now on 14 month cycle). Two of them have really neat audit schedules. They have a calandar on the wall and each winter when they replace it they write in the audit dates that I will be there the coming year. Now, this is just a typical wall calendar like your insurance company or bank would give you or send you. I go over each system. No complaints yet (going on 4 years for both of them). The audits have always gone very well, so I do include in my write up my OPINION that nothing indicated a need for any audits prior to the next scheduled audit. By the way, we currently schedule audits at 14 month frequencies now because the audits have always gone well (as have the survalience audits by the registrar) with no complaints by the registrar. Remember, these are small companies - one 14 people and one about 35 people.

The biggest thing here is to understand YOUR internal audit system, what internal audits are supposed to do, and to be ready to explain what you do and what your reasoning is.

-> Auditors can be swayed by their expectations, and part of
-> the job of the Management Rep is to put those
-> expectations into perspective for the company the auditor
-> is auditing.

Yes.

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