Rosen, Heinz (1992, ASQC) Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Melville, NY
This paper discusses the impact of ISO 9000, as seen by a leading American registrar. First-party auditing (done in-house) generates internal improvement, while second party auditing (done by a customer) ensures compliance with that customer's requirements. Third-party auditing (done by a registrar), the author points out, is most effective in meeting the needs of several customers, as well as legally mandated requirements.
A registrar's credibility rests on name recognition/certification and industry's respect for the registrar's pronouncements. Make sure your registrar is competent in both standard quality system assessments and your technical discipline. The registrar should also be disinterested (financially) in the audit outcome and should itself be compliant with international or regional standards.
On audit day, expect brief initial meeting followed by the team's dispersal into their specialty paths. The auditors in these paths look for the presence of a quality policy and point person responsible for internal compliance. They also look for several additional pieces of quality information. When they identify a discrepancy, they should point it out immediately, to avoid surprises later on. The audit is finished with a meeting that summarizes the audit finding and recommendations.