The ISO Audit is often a process that gets the butterflies in the stomach flocking together in masses for the employees and more acutely for the management team as it is an occasion that is highly anticipated but often filled with dread and uncertainty, for those who are doing it for the first time and the unprepared ones. But fear not, these tips will help you fight that anxiety away and come off with a guaranteed certification with the first attempt that you make.
Tip 1 – Make your management system documentation simple and easy to understand for your employees.
The management system documentation refers to the entire collection of document from the quality policies and manual to procedures and work instruction which collectively represent your management system. When constructing a concise and clear management system documentation you need to make sure that is comprehensible to the employees and it is accessible to them at any time, especially when the auditors come to inspect their knowledge of the management system documents. It is far more important to make the management system documents understandable than to make it imitate the embellishments and the language of the ISO Standard Document.
Tip 2: The Quality Policy should guarantee changes and it’s monitoring after it has implemented.
Too often have auditors rejected the ISO Certification because the quality policies specified changes but not have enacted them with speed and efficiency. When you specify these changes, such as eliminating all traces of non-conformance, they expect you do it quickly. If you want to get certified, then you should try and make a quality policy that everyone can access and guarantees procedures for monitoring and renewal of the changes made.
Tip 3: Mandatory Procedures Should be examined thoroughly and presented clearly.
The number of procedures may vary but there are six mandatory procedures in every ISO Audit Process: Control of Non-Conformance, Preventive Action, Corrective Action, Internal Audit, Control of Records, and Control of Documents.
Traditionally they are presented in the form of documents to those who will need to know about these procedures, and this often involves everyone at the organisation, but with the advance in technology and the ubiquitous of the internet, it would be better present these information in the form of .ppt or infographics.
Tip 4: The Quality Manual should have necessary details, but nothing more.
A thick bundle of papers that seem to go on forever and plastered with titles like “Quality Manual” at every glimpse, is certainly to be a turn off for anyone trying to read it and may prove to be too intimidating and unnecessary for the auditors. Yes, it must contain details such as the scope of the management system, the types of documents used and a succinct explanation of how the key components in the system operate. But it shouldn’t be thousands of pages long and heavy.
Tip 5: Non-Compliance is of different levels and should be approached differently.
Non-compliance issues in their degree, and there are often three distinct types that come up. The first one is a prompt for a follow up. This isn’t necessarily a non-compliance issue but is a sign that the auditor is dissatisfied with a certain area of the management system. The next one is a minor non-compliance issue, which will not prevent you from getting certified with an ISO Standard, this is contrasted with a major non-compliance issue that will prevent you from getting one. Being cognizant of these issues during the audit lets you to discuss these issues with the auditor as they are discovered during the process.
Tip 6: Involvement of the senior management team
The ISO audit process should not be left to those who have been trained especially for the occasion, instead it must be a team effort, and for a team to function at the best you need to have the leaders leading from the front. The senior management’s direct presence during the auditing process will boost morale to the employees who need it. In fact, most of the new revisions in the ISO Standard are designed especially so that the leader’s involvement is essential to the certification process.
Tip 7: Preparation before the audit.
They will be asking a ton of question, and several of them involve whether you have prepared the documents prior to the auditing process. What happens is that several organisations’ efforts will go in vain, as they inadvertently give out the reputation of being inconsistent and tedious. Just prepare reports for the auditors of what all were done, that is related to the quality process, to give out the impression that you were prepared for any scenario that could happen.
Tip 8: Calibrate everything before the big day.
The software applications and the equipment that you have must will be checked of their capacity or if they are requiring any new maintenance. The calibrated equipment or the software must have some sort of marking to indicate its calibration status, and there should be give reports that show the calibration status.
The Process records are the records that are used in daily transactions and activities, such as quotations and order acceptances. It is an imperative that you should check whether your employees are using these items and records in their proper sequence and context. The auditors would be expecting a sample of these records as well as the archives where the history of their usage will be stored.
Tip 10: Be Honest and Positive during Management Review Meetings
What goes around comes around. A good business ethic will lead to only good and positive progress for you and the company. The Management Review gathering is an important standard of measurement for the Auditors and the ISO Standard itself has a lot of areas that should be addressed during management review meetings, and these auditors come and observe all the details so that they can understand the inner workings of your organisation.
Of course these tips will only give certain advice, but to be certified with an ISO Standard you will need to be giving the best performance to auditing team. Hiring an ISO Consultant will drastically increase your chances of getting certified on the first attempt.