Why ISO9001-2008 internal audits are like pizza

As I was conducting an internal audit the other day, I was reminded of an old saying I heard growing up in Chicago. It dawned on me that internal audits (as part of an ISO9001-2008 quality management system) are like pizza. Well, as in “a little is better than nothing, a lot is even better, and even when it’s not great, it’s still good.”

The company I was auditing had just gone through their recertification audit a month earlier, and everything seemed up to snuff. However while doing the internal audit, I asked a few random people about their measuring devices. One employee told me he brought his calibrated calipers home, forgot to bring them back to work, and so that day he was using an old, non-calibrated pair of calipers that he had in his truck. It was just random luck that I happened to ask that particular employee on that particular day, but the fact is that this employee thought it was OK to use calipers that were not calibrated and were not part of the company’s list of controlled measuring devices. He seemed to think it was a meaningless offense, but the company quality manager thought otherwise.

You just never know what you’ll find, and how people can surprise you, when you’re doing internal audits. I know that for companies without a dedicated auditing staff it can be a pain in the rear to keep up with your internal audits. But even if you do a quickie audit, hey it’s better than nothing. You just might save your company an expensive nonconformance down the road.

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One Response to “Why ISO9001-2008 internal audits are like pizza”

  1. K. Silva says:

    If internal audits are seen by a client as a drain on resources, I would suggest a couple of things to make the process a bit quicker and easier (which would in turn hopefully help the client to see regular audits in a more positive light). Spending a little time beforehand on a clever audit plan will make a big difference; including much consideration of the criticality of certain activities, identifying areas that are more subject to change or to turnover of personnel, and processes that have experienced problems or breakdowns. Definitely, keeping a close monitor of these key issues will add VALUE to the audits. Like getting free pepperoni when you only thought you were getting cheese and tomato!

    Interesting blog, by the way.

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