The House of High Quality Articles for Everyone in the World

Jun 2, 2010

THE AUDITORS

Why Auditors are Needed

ISO 9000 is an international standard developed to assist organizations to implement and operate effective quality management: systems. In a perfect world it might be sufficient lo publish an environmental standard and expect organizations around the world to conform on their own for the benefit of their customers and themselves.

In such a world, certification would be of no concern. Unfortunately, ours is far from being a perfect world. Even in an imperfect world, organizations would not need a certification process if there were a sin¬gle world authority that could mandate adoption of the standard and enforce adherence. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has no authority to mandate or enforce its standards; its job is to develop standards through its international committees. Individual organizations decide whether or not to use the standards. Any organization worldwide is free to adopt or not adopt ISO 9000. The decision is inherently an internal one, although organizations may feel pressure from customers or other interested parties.

Internal and External Auditors
Organizations seeking to use the ISO 9000 QMS model need "independent" observers verify conformance with the QMS and its constituent elements. These independent observers are the auditors. Auditors include employees of the organization and employees of a third-party registrar firm. While it is not normally a problem for third-party auditors to be independent, objective observers, it is an issue for internal auditors. Internal auditors should never audit their own organizational component (i.e. department, function, group). For example, an engineer should never audit the engineering department which he or she is assigned. Internal auditors must not audit their own work.

Auditor Qualification

ISO 10011-2 details the qualification for QMS auditors. Qualification criteria include the following:3
 Education—at least secondary (high school) or equivalent.
 Demonstrated competence-in clearly and fluently expressing concepts and ideas
 Orally and in writing.
 Training—to ensure competence in carrying out and managing audit, including:
- ISO 9000
- Assessment techniques
- Planning, organizing, communicating, directing
 Experience-four years relevant workplace experience, of which at least two years should have been related to quality assurance activities. Before assuming respon- sibility for performing audits, should have participated in a minimum of four audits,
 For a total of at least twenty days.
 Personal attributes-must be open minded, mature, possess sound Judgment, an- alytical skills and tenacity. Must have the ability to perceive situations realistically. understand complex operations, and understand the role of individual units with;
 The overall organization.
 Lead auditors have the same qualification criteria as auditors, but require more experience and demonstrated leadership capability (ISO 10011-2, clause 11).
In addition to the requirements for demonstrated auditor skill, knowledge, and expe¬rience, auditors are now required to demonstrate knowledge of the eight quality man¬agement principles on which ISO 9000:2000 is based.