Registrar response

I’m writing in response to the letter in the February 2009 edition of QP titled, "True value." I’m a certified quality auditor and a certified manager of quality and organizational excellence. I have been performing third-party audits for registrars for the past 10 years.

I find it very discouraging that so many organizations blame registrars for much of what ails modern quality systems. I think my colleagues across the country would agree that registrars range from the very good to the very bad. If you paint all registrars with the same brush, however, that’s akin to saying all injection molders or all machine shops are the same. It’s a very naive approach.

The author of the letter had some interesting things to say. First, the assumption was made that registrars have the authority to change how they structure the audit-day calculations and the contracts. That is just not the case. Registrars typically do not write their own standards. Any complaint about audit-days calculations or length of contracts should be directed to accreditation bodies, not certification bodies. The accreditation bodies closely monitor the calculation of days and the structure of contracts.

For example, if an organization is a supplier to the automotive industry, the requirements regarding audit time and contracts are set forth in a document issued by the International Automotive Task Force. I would suspect the reason for the author’s concern with value-added audits is the strong system his or her organization has in place (because the author mentions the "green" status of its scorecards).

The author’s other concern is the value of the third-party audits. I’m getting tired of hearing how registrars do not add value. It is the goal of every registrar and every audit team to provide value to the client organization.

If your company is certified, that means you have employed a registrar to perform audits and issue a certificate should your system be judged as conforming to the standard. This places the registrar in the position of being a supplier and a customer. If registrars did not provide value to their customers, the registrars would not be in business long.

Perhaps those who complain the loudest are on the outside looking in. If you have reservations, then approach management about the possibility of being part of the audit process. I have never denied auditee personnel access to the audit process. I believe that as you gain a deeper understanding of the third-party system, you will tend to be far less critical.

Ernest Blanchard
Lead auditor—ISO 9001, ISO 14001, TS/16949
SGS—North America
Lowell, MI

Career commended

I was deeply inspired after reading Diane Kulisek’s Career Corner column, " Make Your Own Luck," in the March 2009 issue of QP. Diane spoke from the heart and offered truly sound advice to anyone striving to better themselves. In these challenging times, it is imperative that our reach exceeds our grasp. Or, as my father would say, "To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs." Bravo to Ms. Kulisek!

Peter J. Sherman
Associate Director, AT&T

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