As the date of your certification body visit approaches there are lots of things that can be done to ensure the day is a success and stress-free. Planning and preparation will ensure that you host the audit with ease and that you, hopefully, end the day with a ‘clean sheet’!
Our consultants have been helping clients prepare for such audits for years and have a vast array of experience to share to ensure that things are trouble free. Our tips include the following:
- Internal audits – ensure these are up to date and effective. It is preferable to have identified any issues yourself rather than have these found out by a certification body auditor. Note also that ineffective audits or not delivering your audit programme can lead to a non-conformance.
- Review any previous audit findings from your certification body – the visit tends to open with a discussion on these and a review of evidence to show that you have delivered effective corrective actions
- Has anything happened since the last visit that the auditor will be interested in? Have you developed a new product, expanded operations or changed processes? All these changes should be reflected in your management system – ensure the system you have is fully reflective of the organisation.
- You should have received an agenda or audit plan for the visit. Review this and ensure that personnel likely to be involved are informed and that they are briefed as part of your preparations.
- Walk around your facility with a critical eye – things that you see everyday may not actually be suitable or correct and need review (or get a fresh pair of eyes to look over something that may be overly familiar to you). Check housekeeping – if things look ship shape then they probably are! (This is particularly important for environmental and health and safety audits)
- During the audit itself, these are our main items of advice:
- Make sure the auditor receives full induction on arrival – especially if it is a health and safety audit. Failure to do this at the start can generate a finding and is also a bit embarrassing!
- Always be honest and up front – auditors can tell immediately if you are trying to hide something! If an auditor thinks you are hiding something, the more they will dig for evidence!
- Do not waste time – have all the documents and records the auditor may need close to hand and available. It gives a great impression and sets the auditor at ease.
- Answer only the questions asked – do not overly elaborate or offer up items of information that is not within audit scope. You may raise a concern that the auditor was unaware of.
- Provide refreshments and a place of work for the auditor – but there is no need for you to treat them to a meal
Certification body audits and auditors vary in style, approach and thoroughness. Needless to say, the above tips can help you through the process irrespective of the auditor that knocks on your door.
QCS consultants are available to help you prepare for your certification body audit and are also able to become your outsourced management system manger, hosting the audit on your behalf. If you think there is anything QCS can do help you get the most from your management system and ISO Certification then do get in touch on 01236 734447 or email@example.com.