ISO9001:2000: Is An Easy Auditor a Good Thing?

In the world of ISO9001:2000, I divide organizations into 2 camps. The first, and far more popular, are the companies that need to get certified due to customer pressure. They look at ISO9001 as a necessary evil, a royal pain in the ass, but they have to do it. The second camp, not quite so common, are the companies that want ISO9001 for the organizational and efficiency benefits that can be derived from following the standard.

Not long ago I consulted with a company that wanted to get their ISO9001:2000 certificatation for the usual reason- customer pressure. They were a pretty good group of people, but clearly they thought they had better things to do than follow some silly quality standard, keeping unnecessary records, having more boring meetings, conducting useless audits. Anyway, we got through the process without too much trouble, and scheduled a visit from our friendly auditor.

The auditor, Al, turned out to be a very nice man, obviously with many years of experience. Al had a lot of wisdom to share with us, and wasn’t afraid to chat endlessly on topics ranging from the Dodgers and home repair to travels in Europe and antique car restoration. Oh, yeah, there was some talk about the ISO9001 standard too.

Al didn’t seem all that interested in getting up out of his comfortable chair, and would ask someone to get certain files for him. This, of course, allowed the audited person to pick and choose which files he brought to the auditor. In fact, Al didn’t even check quite a few records that I sure would have if I were lead auditor.

This got me to thinking, is an easy auditor a good thing? Sure the company is happy that they got through the audit easily, and I’m happy that my consulting skills resulted in another ISO9001 :2000 certification. But has the easy auditor really done them any favors? Will this company be prepared in the future if a tougher auditor visits?

Now I had done my best to prepare my client company for a “real” ISO9001 audit. I thought they were in pretty good shape. During the audit, however, two of the employees unwittingly sabotaged my efforts by creating forms for their own department’s use, and not informing anyone outside the department. While I spotted this, our easy auditor didn’t seem to notice.

I’d like to think that, maybe, that it was immediately obvious to the auditor that I had done a great job preparing this company for ISO9001, and that actually checking records was not needed. Maybe the auditor, with his years of experience, quickly spotted a company that had its act together, so decided to take it easy for a few days. Maybe.

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3 Responses to “ISO9001:2000: Is An Easy Auditor a Good Thing?”

  1. Sandeep Kapuria says:

    Even If he has assumed that company has done their work, He has moral responsibility to check every thing is in place there is no company which I consider is perfect by doing so at least some of the problems can be highlighted and sorted.
    Just having certification is no good only if we have seen system working and benefit achieved will make effort worth while

  2. Having ISO Certificate is good for company and customers but companies have to prove their responsibilities, products and everything regarding we are best

  3. I hope every people should get certified there company by ISO 9001, this might help them to increase there Quality of Products and also reputation of there company….

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