Most businesses think that meeting the ISO 9001 requirements in their business management is the only thing to do to ensure ISO certification. But, how do they make sure every requirement is met? The ISO 9001 standard encompasses 10 elaborate clauses, with each addressing different aspects of the business and what needs to be done to ensure compliance. Even though everyone, from top management to lower-level personnel, plays a distinct role in achieving ISO 9001 certification requirements, the business should consider utilising external or third-party ISO consultation assistance to ensure compliance with an outside eye and guarantee certification.
An internal audit or the auditing of your quality management system or QMS is important if you are considering getting your business ISO 9001 certified. Here is a step by step guide to correctly conduct an internal audit.
Understanding the Stages of Audit
The internal audit process comprises two stages: 1) Documentation review, and 2) process review. Whether you engage professional auditors from a quality assurance services company or use trained in-house auditors, both stages must be thoroughly and correctly conducted. The first stage will ensure that your new and improved QMS is documented and incorporates all the requirements of ISO 9001. The second stage will confirm that the implemented QMS matches the documented system. Successfully passing both stages will ensure zero non-conformities, and check that the QMS is in line with the ISO 9001 standard.
It is strongly suggested to allow a professional third-party agency to conduct your audit. They will bring unbiased assessment, audit reports, external discretion, specialist opinions, and non-engagement of internal staff, which will save your organisation’s time.
Appoint the Right Team for Auditing
To ensure a complete ISO 9001 internal audit, you need to hire the right team of auditors. When you are seeking professional auditors from an outside agency, it may be difficult to gauge their analytical expertise, understanding of the ISO 9001 compliance requirements, and knowledge of your industry. Therefore, do some research and find the agency with the most experience, provides the most wide-ranging certification services, and has a vast number of satisfied clients. Check through the client testimonials for reviews of the agencies so you can ensure that their services are reliable. Additionally, you also need to choose a team that is friendly, as you will need to regularly communicate and work with them to improve the compliance of the QMS. Therefore, observe their communication skills before hiring them.
Ask for Constructive Feedback
Even if the professional auditors have found that your QMS is compliant after conducting the two-stage audit, urge them to give constructive feedback to help it get better. Apart from any non-conformance issues in your QMS that they may have found, ask them how to maintain ISO certification, how to consistently update and improve the QMS, and how to find and resolve non-conformities in the future. Do not feel apprehensive if they do have ideas on how to drive the competence of your QMS. Instead, acknowledge that every idea from the auditors is constructive for the business. Just remember that their job is to help every business achieve compliance, therefore, misleading you will very negatively affect them. Therefore, it is in their best interest that your business succeeds.
Completing the internal audit before ISO 9001 certification will help you improve your management system’s compliance and ensure excellent benefits for your business. An internal audit is the best way to ensure the ISO 9001 requirements are met by the QMS, and the audit needs to be properly conducted by trained auditors. At Compliancehelp, we are a leading agency that offers various quality assurance services, and our personnel has extensive skills to conduct internal audits flawlessly and minutely. With our years of experience in the ISO certification field, we have helped many businesses achieve compliance and get certified. Talk to our experts and schedule your internal audit today!
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