Tip #2 – Make your audits pay: Audit by Objectives
Are your Quality Objectives considered when you plan Internal Audits?
One of the driving forces in a management system is the need to improve – do it faster, have fewer errors, ship on time. That’s why ISO has us set objectives – to have something to aim for and to test the effectiveness of our system. Will our processes give us the results we want?
And if we make these Quality objectives SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable or Action oriented, Relevant and Time limited) we will be able to see progress more clearly. Muddy objectives lead to muddy conclusions about progress!
So during internal audits we can assess whether our system will help us reach our objectives. During the audit, ask users if they are getting the results they want and are these results getting us closer to our objectives? Under the ‘Awareness’ clause (7.3) we have to make sure people working under our control are aware of any relevant objectives. The Internal Audit is the perfect opportunity to check this out.
So make your audits pay – check for progress toward objectives and check to see that everyone is aware of his or her objectives. Listen for ideas, and make sure one of the audit goals is to come away with some Opportunities for Improvement, not just a list of non-conformances! Go beyond, “Are you following your procedure?” to “Does your procedure give you the results you’re looking for?”
This activity relates to clause 6.2 Quality Objectives, 7.3 Awareness, 9.2 Internal Audits and 10.3 Improvement.
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