No matter how many audits someone has gone through, knowing that someone will come and check your work always generates some tension and anxiety. Here are some recommendations to get rid of the fear and prepare for a successful ISO 9001 audit.
- Refresh the quality policy and make sure everyone understands it. There is no need for workers to memorize it, but they should have a clear understanding of what the organization has committed to in terms of quality.
- Refresh quality objectives. Workers should know what the organization’s quality objectives are and how they contribute in achieving them. They should know and be able to explain how their day to day activities can influence these objectives.
- Ensure that everyone has been properly trained to perform their tasks.
- Make sure everyone knows where to find procedures, work instructions and forms relevant to perform and record correctly a specific activity or process.
- Let everyone know the scope of the audit, what will auditors be checking in their areas and when they will be audited.
- Workers should have the confidence to answer what they know, and have the same confidence to say ‘’I don’t know” when they are not sure what they are going to answer.
Check all documented information.
- Make sure document and record list has been updated.
- Check that all documents have been reviewed, approved, communicated and followed by everyone involved in the process or activity.
- Make sure no one is using obsolete documents.
- Verify that all records are being used and that they are being filled out correctly.
Ensure all processes are being performed correctly.
- Make sure that all the procedures (whether they are documented or not) are being followed.
- Ensure that critical processes are being performed in the same way (correct way) by everyone.
Review the corrective and preventive action process.
- Review the findings from previous audits and make sure they have been attended.
- All nonconformities must be properly recorded, investigated and actions need to be in place or concluded by the time of the audit.
- Corrective actions that have been executed and closed need to have a proper verification of its effectiveness.
Organize the workplace.
- It is very hard for quality control and assurance to happen in a messy, dirty and unorganized workplace, and auditors know that. So, take time to organize the workplace (offices, desks, warehouses, workshop floor, etc.).
- Make sure records, forms, procedures and any relevant documents are at hand and easy to find.
Prepare to have a nice and professional audit.
- Make a good first impression. Treat auditors professionally and with respect from day 1.
- Do not be predisposed. Auditors are not enemies, they will come to help the organization uncover their defects and weaknesses in order to take the necessary actions to improve.
Do not wait for the last minute to prepare for the audit.
- Preparing for an audit takes time and effort. The sooner the organizations begins to prepare for their audit, the more successful it will be. So start soon!