Is it time to hide the biscuits when the auditor calls?

Posted: June 15, 2012 in Auditor, Consultancy, Internal Auditing, ISO 9001, Quality Management, Quality System
Tags: , , , ,

I must confess to being quite surprised and disappointed at the number of times that I still hear the story about the 9001 auditor who dutifully conducts the surveillance audit but never goes out of the office.  Gallons of tea or coffee seem to be consumed together with a significant number of your custard creams, bourbons or garibaldis.

The kicker here is that whilst the company inevitably gets through the audit with little or no admonishments, the owner or CEO is left to pick up the tab but often feels disillusioned (or some have said cheated).  This is because, being interested in more than just the ‘badge’ – which is commendable, they know the shortcomings in their system and are looking for the opportunity to discuss possible ways of dealing with them – but it needs the auditor to pick them up first.  Certainly, if they never even go for a look round then the chances are slim.

Here’s how it impacts on the Management Representative

Such omissions make the life of the management representative even harder as the rug is pulled from under his or her feet when their protestations about what the auditor will see when he comes in all goes up in smoke.  “What was that all about?” comes the reply from colleagues.  See, we can just wing it.

Now, I appreciate that auditors must not cross the line and move into consultancy mode.  However, I always looked forward to those guys who would engage in the business and suggest alternative ways of working or even leave you in no uncertain terms that certain aspects must be addressed even though you didn’t want to hear it.  You ended up moving the system forward together.

So, how come we still end up in this day and age with this situation?  Well, dare I say ‘anything for an easy life’ comes to mind and I must stress that can apply to both parties.  Perhaps the prospect of loosing a site if they takes umbrage to their auditor raising numerous NCRs could be another issue.

But what can you do?

Well, that’s the tricky one isn’t it because retaining the certification is clearly of paramount importance.  However, you could have a quiet word at the opening meeting or failing that with your certification body and perhaps ask for a new auditor next time.  There doesn’t seem to be any formal feedback system on this one – although I’ll stand correcting.  I always find that strange seeing as the standard places a great deal of emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Time to practice what gets preached perhaps because, after all, such a situation does devalue all the hard work you’ve put in, even the standard itself and will not prevent second party audits from being heaped on you as the customer sees less and less value in that certificate hanging on the wall.

Be interested to hear your experiences, but excuse me for now as I’ve got a brew on – and whose just cleared us out of all the Rich Tea then?  I swear I’m going to put a lock on that biscuit tin!

Comments
  1. PMG India says:

    Well, it’s nice to experience the situation from your point of view and having some suggestions to handle the situation.

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