Struggles with Internal Auditing

Internal audits a good part of any quality management system, and a requirement of the ISO9001:2000 quality standard. An internal audit is an audit of your quality management system, usually taken by your own people, and usually conducted a month or two before a third party audit.

If taken seriously, an internal audit can be a fantastic tool to guage how you’re doing. Internal audits should be able to identify any significant problems in your quality management system, well in advance of a third party auditor finding problems and issueing nonconformances.

Of course, if a third-party auditor finds a major nonconformance, it usually means you have failed the audit. You will need to correct the nonconformance, then have another audit. Not only is this an added expense, but the temporary revocation of your ISO9001:2000 certificate could cause you significant trouble with customers who require you to be certified.

Tho internal audits are a necessity and can be looked at as an opportunity for improvement, they can be a pain in the butt to conduct. For most small to mid-sized companies, you probably don’t have a full time quality department that has the time and knowledge to conduct internal audits on a regular basis. Most smaller companies will have 1 or several employees conducting the audit, but these are employees that probably have a lot of their usual work to take care of.

More on internal auditing tomorrow.

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