Planning for an ISO 9001 internal audit? Review this article to explore seven effective tips that can make your internal audit even better.

Internal audits are a regular activity that is critical for ongoing ISO 9001 compliance. Every ISO expert would agree that the ISO 9001 internal audit is challenging. ISO 9001 is an internationally acclaimed quality management standard that provides numerous requirements related to the activities of the managers and the executives. The main purpose of ISO 9001 is to influence positively the way an organization is being managed.

In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips that can help you improve the performance of your ISO 9001 internal audit. Before diving into the tips, let’s have a look at an overview of an ISO 9001 quality internal audit.

What is an ISO 9001 Quality Internal Audit?

Auditing can be defined as verification of activities and processes within an organization. It is a process of determining whether you are compliant with your ISO 9001 management system and the requirements of ISO 9001. An internal audit is open to being applied to the entire organization or to a specific function, process, or production step. Some audits might be designed for special administrative purposes, such as auditing documents, risks, or performance.

The main aim of a quality management system audit is to measure the existing quality management program in order to determine its conformance to the ISO 9001 standard, the company policy, and other regulatory requirements.ISO 9001 internal audits are to Quality Management Systems (QMS) the way ISO 14001 internal audits are to an Environmental Management System (EMS)

What should you consider for ISO Internal Audits?

• Document Control

Document control implies that the right persons have access to the current version of the documents they need. Document control is required to prevent unauthorized use of confidential and controlled company documents. Records are one of the confidential documents that show how an organization has achieved something. An internal auditor must check your records to determine how well the system is working.

• ISO 9001 Documents

An organization does not just need to control documents labeled “ISO 9001”. In fact, there should be no such documents in reality. A Quality Management System is designed for the entire company. Therefore, all business related documents should be controlled.

• Responsibility for Document Control

All employees, who create a document or use documents, are responsible for maintaining document control. Every responsible employee should understand the main purpose of document control and the procedure for document control.

Now, let’s enter the main discussion-seven tips with which you can improve your ISO 9001 quality audit:

1. Set out your objectives

From the very beginning, your auditors should have a clear idea about the main goals of the audit, so that they can employ methods suitable for achieving such goals. Set out the objectives you want to achieve from the internal audit and let your auditors know about them.

2. Define your quality policy

The auditors will need to understand the content of your quality policy and it relates to the productivity of the organization. Therefore, once you have selected the audit team, you must explain your quality policy to them.

3. Consider customer feedback

Customer satisfaction is the backbone of an organization’s quality management system. In fact, a QMS is developed to encourage an organization to reach the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Therefore, while planning for ISO 9001 internal audit, don’t forget to consider customer feedback. You can measure the quality of your products or services against what your customers have to say about your offerings.

4. Look at the management reviews

A reputed company performs frequent management reviews. During the internal audit, auditors must go through the management reviews to track how the company is progressing.

5. Work on the document control

The auditors should determine the effectiveness of document control system, such as:

• Are the current procedures implemented?
• Are obsolete documents being used by mistake?

The auditors should always insist on the ISO 9001 control of documents and records as a minimum.

6. Manage the process interaction

The auditors should try to find out how the processes are affecting each other. A positive impact on other work processes is good for the organization.

7. Consider the supplier

Does your system meet the interests of your suppliers? You should always remember that the interest of the third parties, such as the suppliers, contribute to the overall performance of the organization.

These are the tips that can help you get most out the ISO 9001 Quality internal audit!

Author's Bio: 

Edgar Somerville is an ISO auditor and trainer having expertise in ISO 9001 internal audits. Apart from ISO 9001 audits, he is also adept with ISO 14001 internal audit. His blogs lead aspiring auditors to success. These informative pieces are helpful for entrepreneurs and top management as well.