Internal audits are used to evaluate the effectiveness of and assess conformity to documented Procedures and Work Instructions. It is a tool to identify opportunities for improvement as well. Internal audits are also preparation for external audits and demonstrate that a manufacturer’s ISO 9001 Quality Management System is effective. During an internal audit, a manufacturer’s quality system is measured against the requirements of the standard. A group of trained internal auditors is selected from within the company to perform these audits. More than just a method of checking practice against procedure, internal audits are a powerful tool in manufacturing improvement processes. Audit results are examined in Management Review meetings, and they have proven a valuable tool for regularly assessing the status of the company.
Effective internal audits can produce tangible results through better efficiency, increased productivity, better planning, and reduced scrap and rework. Well-performed audits give employees a chance to work together who may not have had that chance before. Auditors are assigned to areas outside of their normal sphere of activity for interdepartmental education and to ensure thorough audits. Though ISO 9001 doesn’t specifically address health and safety, the internal audit process can have a positive impact on safety performance. An effective employee training process and well-written work instructions contribute to an effective safety program.
Employees are encouraged to contribute to the audit process and they see improvements based on their input. This is a powerful motivator and enhances a culture of employee engagement. Being an internal auditor makes one a part of the Quality Management System. When one has a stake in the success they are more motivated to participate. It also makes one more knowledgeable of the QMS to enhance the processes in their departments – skills learned from internal auditor training are applicable to many tasks.
Abacus Quality System Services (AQSS) is the organization that offers distinctive services and one of them is auditing. In the internal audits, AQSS will send the best auditors to do the conformance checks to identify gaps and identify opportunities for improving processes. Abacus Quality Training Services (AQTS), a sister concern of AQSS, is the training organization that offers distinctive training courses including course on internal quality audits.
Like many things in life, planning is the surest way to guarantee success. As an internal auditor, you want your internal audit program to successfully garner you the benefits and improvements that it is designed to give. To do this, you want to ensure you are properly trained and guarantee that your competence as an internal auditor is verifiable, as this is a key element in your success. Plan ahead to be a competent internal auditor and you can build on the success that comes from good audit findings.