Pushing Continual Improvement

Tuesday, 24 June 2014
ASR Editor
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Process-Management-ConceptAn effective audit program pushes an organization’s continual improvement process. Here is a quick review of the key parts and pieces of an internal audit system that an outside auditor investigates during their visit. How does your firm stack up?

Internal Audit Schedule --- does your organization’s audit schedule cover all elements of the appropriate standard and is the audit based on the process approach, if appropriate? An audit schedule is useful to verify that audits are conducted in a timely manner (month scheduled). Audits performed 30 to 60 days beyond the scheduled date are not effective in ensuring the system is meeting its objectives.

Auditors --- are auditors designated on the audit schedule up to date with the current standard revision? How frequently do they conduct audits? Also, has the auditor’s competency to conduct audits been reviewed by the appropriate person in the organization?

Audit Timeliness …audits performed and corrective actions that are completed being carried out per the organization’s stated requirements?

Audit Notes and Checklists – do audit questions aim at the scope of the assigned audit? Do auditors document what they have reviewed, both good and bad? Could the checklist be used to review the audit process? NC’s and OFI’s that are documented on the checklist refer to issues that will be written later in the audit report?

NC or CAR Log - are managers and supervisors responding promptly to the auditing procedure or corrective action procedure? Are personnel using good Root Cause Analysis in their response to NC’s? The responses to audit findings aimed at changing the system rather than employee retraining? Does the NC response suggest mistake proofing or error proofing as a means to permanently eliminate the problem? Are internal auditors writing more NC’s than the 3rd party auditors?

Effectiveness - is the corrective action implemented verified by an internal auditor, and is that action providing value to the organization such as no repeated NCs, reduction in rework and elimination of scrap?

If your organization’s internal audit system doesn’t exhibit the above characteristics, there is a strong possibility the organization is missing a pro-active means to push the system for continual improved performance.

Author Info

By, Rand Winters, Senior ASR Lead Auditor

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Auditing | CAR Log | NCR | Process Approach

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