Conducting a Quality System Audit


Van Nest, Fred W.   (1988, ASQC)   Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, Syracuse, NY

Annual Quality Congress, Dallas TX    Vol. 42    No. 0
QICID: 3426    May 1988    pp. 215-220
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Article Abstract

This tutorial deals with the implementation or execution phase of a quality system audit. That is the phase in which interviews are conducted and objective evidence is gathered and digested. The earlier companion presentation described preparing for the audit, and a later companion presentation will describe presenting the findings and following up on corrective actions.

The tutorial provides step-by-step instructions for conducting a quality system audit. The steps include administrative activities, data gathering, data analysis and some caveats about the audit process. The auditor is encouraged to continually be on the lookout for things that could cause a serious industrial accident and to act swiftly and effectively if an unsafe condition is identified.

The tutorial also addresses several state-of-the-art and advanced concpets that can significantly improve the effectiveness of the audit process. Many auditors make the mistake of stopping their investigation of a particular activity as soon as a nonconforming condition is identified. This presentation encourages the auditor to consider the finding as the tip of an iceberg and continue his investigation to see if there are more serious problems lurking beneath the surface. Techniques for the investigations are included.

Auditors often treat their findings as individual problems and fail to recognize common root causes. The tutorial outlines techniques for digesting findings and identifying root causes of the problems.

Auditors sometimes rely on their authority to demand corrective actions for the nonconforming conditions they identify. When there are disagreements, this practice may breed animosities and often leads to lack of respect for the auditor and the audit process. The tutorial encourages the auditor to develop a persuasive case that will motivate others to correct the problem, and provides sophisticated techniques for developing a case that provides that kind of motivation.

The tutorial concludes that when the advanced philosophies and techniques are used, the auditor soon becomes a respected member of the corporate team and makes more substantial contributions to corporate productivity and profit.


Quality audit

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