Why Private Conformance Audits Better Serve the CEO

explanation smallerTactical Use of Process Systems Assessments

Why Private Conformance Audits Better Serve the CEO

For nearly twenty years ISO Registrars have been assessing organizations to Quality Management System Standards.

The focus of the ISO Quality System Standard is Customer Satisfaction, meeting the customer’s requirements. These are solid goals and when embraced can aid in the organization elevating it’s processes and assure satisfactory ISO audit results.

The ultimate fallacy of the value added of these audits has been the scope, the auditors may only audit within the scope of the particular standard. This is one of the reasons (besides liability) why these audits are not used to determine and validate product conformance.

A contributing problem is the performance of the auditors, these audits are most often performed by personnel whose experience has been limited to mid-level technical positions. Any experienced quality manager can easily manage a third party assessment (and auditors) using techniques to avoid both minor and major nonconformities.

Why private conformance audits? 

  1. The audits scope is determined by the customer.
  2. The audit guidelines are set by the customer, not by an arbitrary standard that restricts the auditor’s ability to accurately parse the standard from true compliance as directed by the CEO and the C-Suite.
  3. The audit findings and compliance nonconformities are presented to the CEO only (or as directed).
  4. The amount of audit time, number of auditors are subject to the customer’s needs, not a board of registrars.

Typical engagement:

  1. Development of a standard audit plan which may be customized by location, as required.  The audit plan should address the following:
    1. Criteria, scope and objectives.
    2. Identification of the functional units, locations and dates to be audited.
    3. Identification of audit times, durations and expected deliverable date.
    4. Preparation of audit checklists and other tools necessary for completion of the audit, including proposed report template.
  2. Conducting of audits:
    1. Pre-site visit
    2. Conduct an pre-site visit discussion with the local entity to open communication and discuss the overall review process, expectations, timing and deliverables
    3. Engage in preliminary data gathering in order to better understand each site’s specific industry profile and practices
    4. Provide site with preliminary agenda to assist in coordination of schedules for onsite interviews
  3. Onsite interviews
    1. (As directed by customer) Local team members will meet with local site stakeholders and process owners to review and document the current state of compliance and identify potential gaps or opportunities to be addressed.
  4. Post-site visit
    1. Review the results of the onsite interviews
    2. Draft report to document all findings, assess potential risk or revenue impact and provide practical recommendations
    3. Present audit findings with stakeholders and agree any refinements to report
    4. Finalize report and issue