Even if your business has all the systems in place, sells good-quality products, and has no paper trails, an external audit is bound to cause some anxiety and tension. An ISO 9001 certification audit is basically the last step your business undertakes before being declared ISO compliant. The auditing process usually involves an external auditor coming to assess the Quality Management System (QMS) of your business to ensure you have met all the ISO 9001:2015 requirements.
Based on how well your business performs, the auditor will either issue your company with the ISO certification or ask for some corrective actions to be done before getting the approval. If you think your business is ready for ISO 9001 certification, experts from Best Practice have compiled some tips to help you prepare for a successful QMS audit. Follow through!
It is quite normal for your employees to feel nervous about the presence of external auditors in your offices. For this reason, you need to note this as it may easily lead to some mistakes that can get in the way of a successful certification audit.
To increase your chances of approval, you need to prepare your employees adequately and ensure that everyone is at ease before the external auditors arrive. Below are some of the things you can do to prepare them:
- Talk to them about what will happen on the audit day and what they should expect from the external auditors.
- Explain to them that the auditor’s job is primarily to establish if the quality management system works and not to find fault in their work.
- Emphasize to them that the audit process isn’t a test to pass or fail, and the ISO certification can still be issued if any identified problems are corrected.
- Show your employees the best ways to interact with external auditors.
- Teach your employees the best ways to respond to the auditors’ questions.
Give the Auditors as Much Space as Possible
In most cases, external auditors follow a specific procedure and plan to conduct an ISO 9001 audit. On the other hand, your quality management team could prioritize giving some information while leaving out specific details, which might not augur well for the auditors.
The truth is that the more information the auditors have access to, the more accurate and detailed the auditing report will be. For this reason, it’s best to jump on all opportunities for improved quality procedures.
Prevent Common Nonconformities
Undoubtedly, there are particular areas of the quality management systems that auditors often find problematic. The most common variation is related to document control. Other nonconformities include management review, ineffective corrective action process, calibration of measuring and monitoring equipment, and all departmental metrics supporting overall quality objectives.
The good news is that all these divergences can be mitigated using the appropriate procedures. Here is how you can prevent them:
- Ensure all training records are complete and available.
- Ensure there is at least one complete record of management review.
- Have your staff check all the measuring and monitoring equipment to ensure they’re properly maintained and calibrated.
- Regularly remind the management and staff of their personal and department objectives.
- Use the audit preparation process as an opportunity to tidy up the workplace.
Let Best Practice Help You Prepare for Your Next QMS Audit
Are you contemplating improving your business’s quality management process? If so, we at Best Practice are ready to partner with you for a great experience. We will provide you and your staff with the proper training to ensure you remain ISO 9001 compliant and improve your business performance.