Archive for the ‘Internal Auditing’ Category

Check out this short trailer for a series of videos coming soon.

As I run various courses to make staff competent internal auditors, I always refer them to the section in ISO 19011 that refers to the skills needed to make a success of it. So often I see delegates put forward with little thought for whether they have the relevant ‘soft’ skills.

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When you take on board the list below you can, like me, see that there are a wide range of sills required. I’ll leave to you to decide if you meet the criteria.

Auditors should possess the necessary qualities to enable them to act in accordance with the principles of auditing and should exhibit professional behaviour during the performance of audit activities, including being:

ethical (fair, truthful, sincere, honest, discreet)
open-minded (willing to consider alternative ideas or points of view)
diplomatic (tactful in dealing with people)
observant (actively observing physical surroundings and activities)
perceptive (aware of able to understand situations)
versatile (able to readily adapt to different situations)
tenacious (persistent and focused on achieving objectives)
decisive (able to reach timely conclusions based on logical reasoning and analysis)
self-reliant (able to act and function independently whilst interacting effectively with others)
responsible and ethical (even though these activities may not always be popular and may sometimes result in disagreement or confrontation)
open to improvement (willing to learn from situations and striving for better audit results)
culturally sensitive (observant and respectful off the culture of the auditee)
collaborative (effectively interacting with others, including audit team members and the auditee’s personnel)

Be interesting to see how you feel about these qualities and characteristics, but for now I’ll just leave it there for you to ponder.

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canstockphoto43475088Reviewing how certain sites are coping with the new ‘2015’ format for internal audits has occasionally flagged up some interesting issues.  Some have taken the ‘interview’ style with top management quite literally and reported them along the lines of ‘I asked/ he said’ which just doesn’t come over well when you read it back. You need to summarise the discussion in a way that allows you to report it in the usual factual way rather than it turning into a play.

Of more importance, you still need the objective evidence. You can’t be asking questions then reporting it back as ‘It was stated that etc’. So, what to look for?

Clearly a major document should be the SWOT analysis for the Context of the Organisation. I covered this in a video on a recent post. Also you would expect to see some document that has the needs and requirements of interested parties and the recent reviews and actions if necessary. When you come onto Leadership itself ask them to explain using document that already exist – objectives, policy, critical support process risk review etc.

The need for objective evidence is still their whatever the audit. More helpful tips and support as always can be found at the ISO 9001 Support Centre. Just click through.

It is a very common occurrence when I go on site to conduct my Competent Auditor session that I get asked, “Well that’s OK, but what does an audit look like and what questions should I ask?” Taking that on board, my colleague Amanda and I are putting this video out to see what reaction it gets. Would it help you, your colleagues or your clients get a clearer picture of how they should go about an audit and how to handle the responses?

It is only the trailer as the full video lasts around 12 minutes which starts with a good audit then follows with the three reasons it fails – system inadequate, disregarded or needed

Please leave your comment below and I’ll send the full version to those of you who offer the most constructive feedback. PLEASE don’t get hung up on the actual content and interpretation as we all know each of us will probably approach it in our one unique way 🙂

Remember we are always here to help and support you in your 9001 work. See for yourself by clicking through to the 9001 Support Centre.

No, I don’t mean running around the office shouting your head off about who’s done what wrong!

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This is all about making sure that you classify your corrective actions into one of three groups to aid subsequent analysis. Now, I should add before going any further, that this is my bespoke way of dealing with this issue but I find it really effective. Here is the first category:

SD – System Disregarded

A minor CAR here as the procedure is fine and current but, for whatever reason, staff occasionally decide not to follow bits of it (as opposed to blatantly ignoring everything). Perhaps they are not signing off all the boxes; stamping a document or filling in some information. You need to do a really good root cause analysis to find out why of course.

SI – System Inadequate

Another minor CAR and the most common as it refers to the system being out of step with what is actually happening in the office or on the shop floor. Invariably it is when you see the procedures not outlining what exactly happens out there. In one sense it is a good thing because it shows the processes are being developed – it’s just that someone forgot to tell the Quality Manager to amend the procedure! What do you mean that never happens where you work!

SN – System Needed

This is the worst case and a major CAR because there just isn’t system that you can evidence. For example there is no audit schedule so nothing else can follow without that; there is no contract review of sales orders against customer purchase orders or no management reviews take place etc etc.

Well, I hope you like the sound of that and can see the benefit. By all means tell me how you dress this aspect of your system by commenting below and remember that more useful support can be found at http://www.iso9001supportcentre.com.

ps: Some exciting news coming soon on the 9001:2015 training video front soon.

 

 

 

 

Just What Makes A Good Audit Sample?

Now if you are responsible for internal audits at your place of work there is a fair change you are limited for time. You therefore accept that you are only going to check a sample in relation to the process being audited – but just how many records does that mean?

Now, I am not getting into a discussion here as regards statistically valid numbers, more of deploying some common sense based on what I have seen over the years. You, like me, start off with good intentions so perhaps half a dozen orders may get sampled at the start, then that reduces to three or four but as time goes on you fall into one of two traps.

You start picking just one order out and worse still you keep using that one to satisfy several questions on your checklist/ flow chart as both time and energy start to ebb away.

Ok, well that ‘s understandable on the basis that it tails off at the end, but the real issue is if you only ever start with one order right st the beginning. So, what then is the rule of thumb?

I am a great believer in the rule of three so do my best to use that at the start. Hopefully you find all three are good so move on, but if not do remember to resample before writing out that CAR. If the second sample re-enforces your view that there is something untoward then fair enough, but at least you have given it a fair chance.

One final point. If what you find is simply of an admin nature – signature missed, reference number missing or paperwork misfiled – can I suggest you get it sorted during the audit rather than being dogmatic and raising that CAR. That helps all concerned 🙂

However, I am not suggesting for one moment that my numbers are set in stone so do share how you deal with this part of the audit process.