Internal audits play a pivotal role in evaluating the resilience of your Quality Management System (QMS).
Purpose of Internal Audits
These audits serve multiple purposes, primarily aimed at ascertaining that your QMS fulfills the following:
1) Proper Implementation and Maintenance:
They gauge the extent to which your QMS has been correctly implemented and is being maintained.
2) Objective Attainment:
Internal audits assess whether your QMS effectively achieves its objectives.
They verify that your QMS aligns with management and regulatory requirements, ensuring adherence to recognized standards.
4) Customer Contractual Compliance:
Internal audits also ensure that your QMS aligns with the contractual obligations of your customers.
5) Adaptation to Business Changes:
They ascertain whether your QMS remains up-to-date and adaptable to changes within your business environment.
Why ISO 9001 Audits are Important for Businesses?
ISO 9001 audits are vital for businesses as they ensure compliance with industry standards, bolstering their reputation and customer trust in the competitive market. These audits also drive efficiency and cost savings, crucial in today’s economic landscape.
Ultimately, ISO 9001 certification empowers businesses to continuously improve their processes and stay ahead in the dynamic business environment.
The below points emphasise how ISO 9001 can benefit Australian businesses, enhancing their competitiveness, reputation, and efficiency.
1) Customer Trust:
ISO 9001 builds trust with customers, crucial for Australian businesses in a competitive market.
2) Efficiency Gains:
ISO 9001 streamlines processes, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency.
3) Legal Compliance:
Compliance with ISO 9001 ensures businesses meet Australian and global regulations, reducing legal risks.
4) Risk Management:
ISO 9001 helps identify and mitigate risks, ensuring business continuity.
5) Continuous Improvement:
ISO 9001 fosters a culture of ongoing improvement, vital in the Australian business landscape.
6) Global Recognition:
ISO 9001 certification is globally recognized, facilitating international trade.
7) Supply Chain Integration:
Many Australian and international businesses demand ISO 9001 compliance from suppliers, promoting seamless operations.
8) Competitive Edge:
ISO 9001 sets businesses apart from competitors and signifies a commitment to quality.
9) Stakeholder Confidence:
ISO 9001 certification earns trust from customers, investors, and partners, bolstering reputation.
10) Data-Driven Decisions:
ISO 9001 encourages data collection and analysis, enabling informed, data-driven decisions.
Pre-Certification Internal Audit
Before proceeding with certification, it is imperative to conduct an internal audit to ensure alignment with standards and regulatory requirements. This step minimises the likelihood of corrective actions during the certification audit.
An experienced ISO 9001 consultant will review the QMS implementation, identify necessary actions, assess business changes, and ensure the readiness of a business for the certification audit.
Ongoing Internal Audits
Post-certification, internal audits must be conducted at planned intervals to ensure ongoing compliance. These audits should encompass all aspects of your QMS. ISO Global Anitech can assist in determining an audit schedule and conducting these internal audits.
ISO Internal Audit Procedure
ISO standards mandate the establishment of an internal audit procedure. This procedure should encompass:
1) Audit Schedule: Determining responsibilities, frequency, and audit scope.
2) Auditor Selection: Ensuring impartiality and objectivity in the audit process.
3) Audit Reporting: Describing how findings are reported.
4) Audit Review: Management’s responsibility to review audit reports.
5) Record Keeping: Detailing the retention of reports and relevant evidence.
Steps to Conduct an Internal Audit
Becoming an internal auditor requires an understanding of ISO Standard requirements, often attained through Internal Auditor Training. The audit process involves:
1) Planning the Audit:
Scoping, identifying relevant procedures, stakeholders, and evidence requirements.
2) Conducting the Audit:
Examining processes, looking for objective evidence of compliance, and maintaining objectivity.
3) Writing the Audit Report:
Documenting objective evidence, non-conformances, and potential improvements.
Common Mistakes to Avoid During ISO 9001 Internal Audits
Common pitfalls to avoid while performing an ISO internal audit include:
- not having a defined audit scope.
- failing to include the appropriate individuals.
- not taking a methodical approach.
- failure to adequately document findings.
- failing to adequately handle nonconformities.
- failing to use the audit as a learning experience.
Anitech’s Tips for Efficient Internal Audits
Here are Anitech’s tips to perform internal audits efficiently:
1) Clear Audit scope:
It is important to define the scope of the audit to ensure that all relevant areas are covered and nothing is overlooked.
2) Involving the Right People:
The audit team should consist of individuals with the necessary knowledge and expertise to effectively assess the processes and systems.
3) Structured Approach:
Following a structured approach helps ensure consistency and thoroughness in the audit process, including planning, conducting, and reporting.
4) Proper Documentation:
Findings should be accurately and comprehensively documented to provide a clear record of the audit results and facilitate corrective actions.
5) Effective Non-conformity addressing:
Non-conformities identified during the audit should be addressed promptly and effectively to prevent recurring issues and improve overall compliance.
6) Learning Opportunity:
Internal audits should be viewed as a learning opportunity to identify areas for improvement, share best practices, and enhance the organization’s overall performance.
Internal Audits – Success and Failure
Notably, there is no success or failure in internal audits. Their purpose is to provide factual insights into the system’s operation, with identified issues serving as opportunities for improvement and refinement.
ISO Internal Audit Checklist
The internal audit checklist aids auditors by identifying process steps, evidence requirements, and interview questions for staff tasks.
For customised internal audits and ISO 9001 implementation, contact us today at 1300 802 163 or e-mail – email@example.com