Posts Tagged ‘Internal audits’

Peter&Helen WB smallIt can take a while to get a case study completed  – but isn’t it worth it! Read on . . .

Turner Hire & Sales Ltd have been established in South Yorkshire since 1972 hiring and selling industrial plant from their branches at Rotherham, Wath, Worksop and Sheffield. The company decided they needed to give their customers a clear signal of their desire and determination to provide an even better quality product and service. This led them to look at the international quality management standard ISO 9001 and search for a local consultant.

In doing so Managing Director Mick Holmes came across another Rotherham based Chamber member, Pete Thornton-Smith of the 9001 Support Centre at Thornbank on Moorgate, at a Quality Conference in Sheffield back in 2014. They soon struck up a good understanding of the work required and how to ‘make it happen’.

Mick makes the point, “I always feel much more comfortable working with local experts and found that whoever I asked, one name kept getting recommended, so Pete was subsequently engaged to work with Quality Manager Helen Hollingworth and began working with Turner Hire late 2014 and we are delighted with the outcome”.

“Pete demonstrated a vast amount of knowledge as regards the standard but more importantly, how to work with us to ensure that we installed an effective system that everyone understood. A jargon free area if you will. In addition, we threw him a few curve balls it has to be said, but he calmly dealt with them and returned them with interest”.

Mick goes on to say “The certification of compliance with ISO 9001:2008 recognises that the policies, practices and procedures of our firm ensure consistent quality in the product and service that we provide to our customers. With this certification, our customers can be confident that Turner Hire & Sales Ltd is dedicated to maintaining the highest efficiency and responsiveness in achieving our ultimate goal – guaranteed customer satisfaction”.

“Achieving the certification was a smooth and natural progression for the company, because it essentially formalised the structures, standards and processes we already had in place. Having gained certification for all our sites at the end of 2015 with ISOQAR, we are in a much stronger position commercially and have been delighted to see the benefits that Pete talked about early on in the project”. Peter and Helen are pictured with the certificate.

It goes without saying we would recommend Chamber members to collaborate together as much as they can and if you need 9001 (and 14001 or 18001 for that matter as we do) then Pete’s your man. He really does ‘Lighten the Load’.

You can contact turner Hire and Sales on 01709 828444, www.turnerhire.com or email them on enquiries@turnerhire.com

As always Pete can be contacted at the ISO 9001 Support Centre on 01709 301303 or via his website www.iso9001supportcentre.com or email at  pete@iso9001supportcentre.com

 

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.

So you need to do some internal audits for 9001 – but can you just be ‘competent’ as it states in the standard or is it worth going the whole hog and becoming ‘qualified’?  Certainly those of you who want to make a career of auditing are advised to take those few days away from the office on a UKAS approved course complete with an examination at the end.

However, what about those of us who will only ever conduct internal audits on our own system on our own site? Rather than the sterile classroom session wouldn’t it be better to get someone in to run bespoke sessions using your own system? That way you could use your own processes to help demonstrate the principles and, more importantly, ask questions to gain understanding as regards your own issues on site – get answers to to your specific questions so you can implement what you learn straight away. Sound good to you?

The formalities of this training can still be covered – session notes, multi-choice examination (even an open book one) plus a certificate of attendance for your training file. The question then is where do you look for such a session?

Well, having been asked on numerous occasions, I am now offering three half day sessions to do just that. The first is at my office in Rotherham, South Yorkshire to ensure you have a grasp of the principles. Then two more sessions follow but at your premises.  Here we get down to:

  • scheduling
  • preparing
  • conducting
  • and reporting audits

followed by how to raise and handle Corrective Action Reports through to a satisfactory conclusion.

All this closely linked to your system using your processes and terminology. You can even help set the agenda as I want the content to really be relevant to your situation. You will also receive copies of my report to take away “The five most common mistakes when doing internal audits”.

Finally, those last two sessions on site can be taken as a full day if you prefer and should distance be an issue then we can do them virtually over the web so you don’t need to miss out.

So, being competent will suffice if you know where to look – and now I guess you do – click here.

Travelling round a variety of businesses as I do I come across a wide range of, how should I put this, well styles of audits reports I guess.  However, there is still a tendancy for an audit report to be written like a story.  You know paragraph after paragraph with no obvious breaks or sections.  Important comments lost in the text instead of being brought out for the attention of the reader.  A reliance still on the general statement “orders were checked and found to comply” and then CARs, if raised, lost in the body of the report without even a summary somewhere to indicate the number raised.

Now even the above falls into that trap so here it is simply formatted to enable easier assimilation:

  • paragraph after paragraph with no obvious break or sections
  • important comments lost in the text instead of being brought out for the attention of the reader
  • A reliance still on the general statement “orders were checked and found to comply”
  • CARs, if raised, lost in the body of the report without even a summary somewhere to indicate the number raised

You get the idea I’m sure.  Now in my experience it is far better to use a tabular approach like below which has headings such as:

9001 para ref – Requirement – Findings (with Objective evidence) – Result – CAR No – Summary

Audit Report

Use your imagination and create a form that will double both as a checklist and the final report when typed up and will want to be read because the information is neatly laid out.

It goes without saying that you need (no, must) include the document references you checked on the audit so that if anyone else has to check through the report then they can go see what you saw on the day.  The number of times this is not included still surprises me.

Add a separate column to clearly show the number of the CAR and whether it is a major or a minor.  Major is a total failure of the system whilst minor is simply a glitch.  Also use it for Observations if you want.  At the end of the report put a summary of the general state of the system plus a review of the number of major and minor CARs and observations.

Go to it.  Lack of objective evidence is one of the 5 most common mistakes when doing internal audits.  Check them all out here and visit the web site for more resources to help the Quality Professional.