What processes should be on your internal audit schedule?

One of the requirements of the ISO9001:2015 quality management standard is to have an internal audit program. Your quality system processes must be audited at least every year. But should you audit them more often? And which processes should be audited?

The ISO9001:2015 standard gives us a lot of latitude to decide how often processes need to be audited, and which processes need auditing. The standard does not specify either of these things, so it’s up to you to decide how to handle it. Of course, like all things ISO9001 related, it’s also up to your external auditor. If you have a purchasing process, but you have zero problems with it, you might think that it’s OK to skip the purchasing audit for a year. I’ll bet your auditor thinks otherwise.

If your company has the processes spelled out in the ISO9001:2015 standard (for example, purchasing, customer orders, shipping, receiving, design, etc.) then you had better include those processes in your internal auditing program. If you’re with a very small company, you might want to combine multiple processes into a single audit. For example, maybe there’s one person in charge of shipping and receiving. You might be able to combine your final inspection and received goods inspection into a single audit.

If you have a production process with multiple elements, such as stamping, deburring, drilling, bending, and painting, you may choose to audit all the elements together as your production process. Or, if each element is large and complex, you may wish to audit them separately. It’s up to you.

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