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Internal Audit Requirements for ISO 9001 Audit: A Guide to Streamlining Quality Management

26/05/2023by admin0Read: 8 minutes

ISO 9001: Overview

ISO 9001 sets the framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving a robust quality management system. It provides organisations with a structured approach to enhancing customer satisfaction, streamlining processes, and achieving overall business excellence. By adhering to ISO 9001 Internal Audit Requirements, organisations can improve their operational efficiency, enhance their reputation, and gain a competitive edge in the market. The standard emphasises a process-oriented approach to quality management, focusing on understanding and managing the interdependencies between various processes within an organisation.

Internal Audit: Definition and Purpose

Internal audits are one of the most important tools for ensuring effective quality management systems. They provide an opportunity for organisations to identify areas of improvement, ensure compliance with ISO 9001.

ISO 9001: Overview

ISO 9001 sets the framework for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving a robust quality management system. It provides organisations with a structured approach to enhancing customer satisfaction, streamlining processes, and achieving overall business excellence.

By adhering to ISO 9001 Internal Audit Requirements, organisations can improve their operational efficiency, enhance their reputation, and gain a competitive edge in the market. The standard emphasises a process-oriented approach to quality management, focusing on understanding and managing the interdependencies between various processes within an organisation.

  • Identify areas of non-compliance with ISO 9001 standards
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of their quality management system.
  • Identify areas for improvement and opportunities for cost savings.
  • Ensure that the organisation is meeting customer and regulatory requirements.

Internal audits are also an important tool for promoting a culture of continuous improvement within the organisation. By regularly evaluating their processes and identifying areas for improvement, organisations can continuously improve their products, services, and processes, ultimately leading to increased customer satisfaction and improved business performance.

ISO 9001 Internal Audit Requirements

ISO 9001 is a quality management system standard that provides a framework for organisations to improve their processes and achieve customer satisfaction. One of the critical requirements of ISO 9001 is conducting internal audits to ensure that the organisation’s quality management system conforms to the standard’s requirements and is effective.

ISO 9001 outlines specific internal audit requirements for conducting internal audits in this process, which are detailed in various clauses within the standard.

Internal Audit (Clause 9.2):

9.2.1

This clause emphasises the need for organisations to conduct internal audits to determine the effectiveness of their quality management system and its compliance with ISO 9001.

a) Conforms to:

  • The organisation’s own requirements for its quality management system.
  • The requirements of this International Standard.

b) Implemented and maintained effectively by the organisation

9.2.2 The organisation shall:
  1. Plan, establish, implement, and maintain an audit programme(s) including:
  • Frequency, methods, responsibilities, planning requirements, and reporting.
  • Taking into consideration the importance of the processes concerned, changes affecting the organisation, and the results of previous audits.
  • Define the audit criteria and scope for each audit.
  • Select auditors and conduct audits to ensure objectivity and the impartiality of the audit process.
  • Ensure that the results of the audits are reported to relevant management.
  • Take appropriate correction and corrective actions without undue delay.
  • Retain documented information as evidence of the implementation of the audit programme and the audit results.
9.3 Management review
9.3.1    General:

Top management shall review the organisation’s quality management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy, effectiveness, and alignment with the strategic direction of the organisation.

9.3.2   Management review inputs:

We shall plan and carry out the management review taking into consideration:

  1. ) The status of actions from previous management reviews.
  2. b) Changes in external and internal issues that are relevant to the quality management system.
  3. c) Information on the performance and effectiveness of the quality management system, including trends in:
  • Customer satisfaction and feedback from relevant interested parties.
  • We have met the quality objectives to a great extent.
  • Process performance and conformity of products and services.
  • Non-conformities and corrective actions.
  • Monitoring and measurement results.
  • Audit results.
  • The performance of external providers.
  1. d) The adequacy of resources.
  2. e) The effectiveness of actions taken to address risks and opportunities.
  3. f) Opportunities for improvement.
9.3.3 Management review outputs:

The outputs of the management review shall include decisions and actions related to:

  1. a) Opportunities for improvement.
  2. b) Any need for changes to the quality management system.
  3. c) Resource needs.

The organisation shall retain documented information as evidence of the results of management reviews.

The ISO 9001 Internal Audit Requirements are essential for ensuring that an organisation’s quality management system conforms to the standard’s requirements and is effective. By establishing an audit program, and defining audit criteria, scope, frequency, and methods, an organisation can continually improve its processes and achieve customer satisfaction.

Internal Audit Planning

 Internal audit planning is a crucial process that ensures that an organisation’s internal controls and risk management processes are operating effectively. In order to plan for internal audits, there are several key steps that should be followed, including:

  • Determining audit objectives, scope, and criteria:

Identifying the risks and areas of the organization that are most important to be audited involves identifying the key controls, processes, and systems that need to be audited to ensure that they are operating effectively.

  • Selecting competent auditors:

The audit team must include experienced and knowledgeable auditors who have the necessary skills to conduct the audit effectively. The team should also include individuals with experience in the specific area being audited.

  • Establishing the audit schedule and frequency:

Establish the audit schedule based on the risk associated with the area being audited and establish the frequency of the audit based on the frequency of changes to the process or system being audited.

  • Identifying the resources required for the audit:

To complete the audit effectively, we need to identify the necessary resources like personnel, technology, and tools. So, by carefully considering these steps, organisations can ensure that their ISO 9001 Internal Audit Requirements are comprehensive, effective, and provide valuable insights and recommendations for improving their performance.

Conducting Internal Audits

Conducting ISO 9001 Internal Audits involves a systematic and objective evaluation of an organisation’s quality management system (QMS) to determine its effectiveness and compliance with ISO 9001 requirements. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Gathering and reviewing relevant documents and records:

    This step involves collecting and reviewing documentation related to the organisation’s QMS, such as policies, procedures, work instructions, records, and other relevant documents. The purpose of this step is to understand the organisation’s QMS and identify areas that require further investigation.

  2. Conducting interviews and observations:

    In this step, we interview employees at various levels within the organization to gain an understanding of how they implement the QMS in practice. We also make observations of the workplace and processes to verify conformity.The purpose of this step is to gather first-hand information and feedback on the effectiveness of the QMS.

  3. Assessing compliance with ISO 9001 requirements: 

    This step involves comparing the findings from the review of documents, interviews, and observations with the requirements of ISO 9001. The purpose of this step is to identify any discrepancies between the QMS and the standard’s requirements.

  4. Identifying nonconformities and areas for improvement

    This step involves identifying any nonconformities or areas where the QMS is not meeting the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard. The purpose of this step is to highlight areas where improvements can be made to increase the effectiveness of the QMS.

  5. Reporting the audit findings:

    Once the internal audit is complete, a report is prepared that includes the audit findings and recommendations for improvement. The report should identify areas of non-conformance, as well as opportunities for improvement in the QMS.

Overall, conducting internal auditsin accordance with ISO 9001 is a critical step in ensuring the effectiveness of an organisation’s QMS. Organisations can identify areas for improvement and take corrective actions to address any non-conformities that are identified by following the steps outlined above. This can ultimately lead to a more effective QMS and improved customer satisfaction.

Reporting and Follow-up

Reporting and documenting audit findings are crucial steps in the audit process. The primary objective of reporting and documenting audit findings is to communicate to relevant stakeholders the audit results, including any identified weaknesses and recommendations for improvement.

The following are some key requirements for reporting and documenting audit findings:

  • Preparing the audit report: The audit report should include a clear and concise summary of the audit findings, including any significant observations, recommendations, and conclusions. It should provide sufficient detail to enable stakeholders to understand the audit’s scope, methodology, and results.
  • Communicating findings to relevant stakeholders: Once the audit report is complete, it is essential to communicate the findings to the relevant stakeholders. This may include senior management, the audit committee, and other internal and external parties. The communication should be clear and concise, highlighting the key findings and their implications.
  • Determining corrective actions and preventive measures: Based on the audit findings, it is important to identify and prioritise corrective actions and preventive measures. These should address the root causes of any gaps or deficiencies and provide a roadmap for improvement. The action plan should be feasible, specific, and time bound.
  • Monitoring and verifying the implementation of corrective actions: Once corrective actions and preventive measures have been identified, it is critical to monitor their implementation. This involves tracking progress against the action plan, verifying that the actions taken are effective, and adjusting the plan as necessary. The monitoring process should be ongoing and involve regular reporting to stakeholders.

By following these requirements, organisations can ensure that audit findings are appropriately addressed and that they improve their overall performance and effectiveness.

Competence of Auditors

Auditors performing internal audits need to have a variety of competencies to ensure that they are capable of carrying out their responsibilities effectively. To ensure the effectiveness of internal audits, auditors must possess specific competencies. These include:

  • Knowledge and understanding of ISO 9001 Requirements: Auditors must have a thorough understanding of ISO 9001 and its associated requirements to accurately assess conformity.
  • Audit Skills and Techniques: Auditors should be equipped with the necessary auditing skills, such as planning, interviewing, documentation, and evaluation, to conduct audits efficiently.
  • Impartiality and Objectivity: Auditors must demonstrate impartiality and objectivity throughout the audit process, ensuring fair and unbiased evaluations.
  • Training and Ongoing Professional Development: Organisations should provide auditors with adequate training and opportunities for professional development to enhance their auditing skills and keep them up to date with the latest practices.

Management Review and Continual Improvement

Management review is a vital component of a quality management system (QMS) as it provides a platform for senior management to evaluate the effectiveness of internal audits and drive continuous improvement in the QMS. The role of management review is to assess the overall performance and effectiveness of the QMS based on the findings of internal audits and other relevant information.

During management review, senior management evaluates the findings of internal audits to identify any gaps or non-conformities in the QMS. The management team then determines the root cause of the identified issues and implements necessary corrective actions to address them. This process ensures that the QMS stays up-to-date and in compliance with industry standards and regulations.

The importance of using audit findings to drive continuous improvement cannot be overemphasised. By continuously improving the QMS, organisations can improve their processes, products, and services, which ultimately leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Companies that do not use audit findings to drive continuous improvement risk becoming stagnant and losing market share to competitors who are more agile and adaptive.

For example, a manufacturing company may receive feedback from internal audits indicating that their production process is not as efficient as it could be. The management team could use this feedback to implement process improvements such as implementing new technologies or streamlining workflows to increase efficiency. By using audit findings to drive continuous improvement, the company canthe company can reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.

Conclusion

Companies should, therefore, conduct internal audits to ensure the effective implementation and maintenance of their Quality Management System (QMS) as required by ISO 9001.

Complying with these, ISO 9001 Internal Audit Requirements is crucial for achieving and maintaining ISO 9001 certification. An effective QMS that is regularly audited can help companies identify areas for improvement, reduce waste and rework, and ultimately enhance customer satisfaction. Non-compliance with these requirements can result in lost business, reduced efficiency, and potential legal and financial consequences. Therefore, it is important for businesses to take internal auditing seriously and allocate appropriate resources to ensure compliance.

Anitech’s Solutions

Anitech advises organisations to prepare an ISO 9001 internal audit checklist to ensure they do not miss any step or important detail during the internal audits. An expert ISO 9001 consultant can guide you in preparing a standard checklist tailored for your organisation’s requirements.

Our experienced team can help you with the same. Feel free to call us at 1300 802 163 or e-mail – info@anitechgroup.com

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