Stress free internal audits?

Aug. 14, 2012

Tags: Toolbox

Tips and tricks for stress free internal quality system audits

Tip No: 1

It really comes down to the old Scout motto “BE PREPARED”.

Have you added the dates of all your proposed internal and external audits to a calendar / schedule?

It's a requirement to "conduct internal audits at planned intervals" so your auditor (internal and external) will expect to see your plan.

Tip No: 2

Make sure that for each date scheduled you detail the scope of the audit.

  • Which processes are you planning to audit?
  • Are there associated work instructions, forms you would expect to review?
  • Have you identified the process owners or auditees you will need to contact?

In Quality Systems Toolbox you plan your audits using Tasks, or for simple planning set up a recurring Audit schedule.

Tip No: 3

Prepare your audit checklist well ahead of time. There are two methods we recommend:

  • Mark-up copies of each procedure being audited – add questions, highlight forms / records you would expect to witness
  • If you use a generic Audit Checklist then review it and ensure its continuing validity, add further questions and highlight forms / records you expect to see

Good sources for further questions are the problems and findings from previous audits, or recent Issues (non-conformance) identified that are relevant to the area being audited.

Tip No: 4

Contact the auditee a few days before the scheduled dates and confirm availability / times.

Tip No: 5

Before undertaking your audit, check previous audit records for any outstanding audit findings – find out why these action items have not been “closed out”.

Review these “issues” in the Quality Systems Toolbox – ISSUES module.

Tip No: 6

Put the auditee at ease right from the start of the “opening meeting” – introduce yourself, explain that you are auditing the system not the personnel. Inform the auditee how any areas of non-compliance will be documented and raised in the system. Reinforce the message of continual improvement.

Tip No: 7

Make sure that you record details of all documents and records shown to you during the audit. Record dates, part numbers, order numbers, customer names – this “objective evidence” may need to be checked by your External Auditors. Make sure it is legible.

Tip No: 8

Prepare your Audit Report as soon as possible after completion of the audit. The longer you leave it the more detail gets lost / forgotten.

Upload your Audit Report to Quality Systems Toolbox.

It will not get lost, everyone can find it, and interested 'followers' will automatically receive a notification that the report is available.

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