Audits are part and parcel of ISO registration, with internal audits being a Quality Management System’s best friend. ISO 9001 actually defines what is required as part of your internal audit procedure. Assigning an internal auditor satisfies this requirement, and helps management learn about the overall performance of their organization.
Prior to your ISO 9001 registration audit, it is necessary to use and improve your new Quality Management System for around 2-3 months. Therefore, during this time it is beneficial to conduct your first internal audit. An internal audit will assess the conformity of the system to the standard requirements, evaluate its effectiveness and identify opportunities for further improvement. Although you can have an external audit conducted to help identify your conformity to the standard, an internal audit will truly measure the effectiveness of the new Quality Management System.
To conduct an internal audit, you need to train a number of staff members to understand what ISO is, and its importance to the operations of the organization. Internal audits are often seen as box-ticking exercises by uneducated staff members. With the correct training, your staff members will be educated to better understand the process involved in auditing the organization and monitoring it going forward. Those trained staff members will become champions for higher standards within the business and can make it easier to educate other staff members on the reason to stick to the new procedures. Each time an audit is conducted a volunteer member of staff can act as an assistant to the team members to learn the importance of an audit and its benefits.
For organizations with several departments, it is ideal to create an audit team made up of a member from each of those departments. These members will not be auditing their own departments but another department, on a yearly basis at the very least. This will offer an objective view on the processes involved in each department, as well as the way they blend with the processes of other departments. Therefore, when building your audit team, you need to make sure you have enough auditors to easily swap department audit ownership. The auditing team will need to be a team of staff members who work well together, have strengths in investigating issues and good and communicating solutions to management.
The ideal guideline, for your audit team, is roughly 10% of the total number of employees within the organization. A company of 20 employees would need to train 2 employees, and a company of 100 employees would need to train 10 employees.
Now ready to start building your internal audit team? Make sure you select members who are good investigators and communicators, then get in touch with us to book them on one of our Internal Auditor Training Courses. We can provide the training in-house tailored to your business and can be provided to any number of staff at once, saving you the cost of travel time and expenses.