4 Things to Look for in a Quality Auditor

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August 15, 2011

In late July, Smithers Quality Assessments (SQA) held an Auditor Training conference in Akron, OH near our corporate headquarters. Our goal is to make sure our auditors are up-to-date on the latest information regarding the business management systems for which we are accredited, including ISO 9001, AS9100, ISO/TS 16949, ISO 13485 and  ISO 14001.

There are several quality and environmental business management systems certification companies out there. We all likely use different standards to hire, train and retain our auditors. How do you know you have a competent, effective auditor?

  1. Are they competent and qualified? A competent auditor understands the standards and principals of auditing and how to analyze all elements of a business management system. Many are required to have continuing professional development on a regular basis.
  2. Do they know your industry? Check with your quality assessment company to see what internal process is required to measure auditors’ industry knowledge.
  3. Are they available when you need them? Your assigned auditor should be with you every step of the way, from audit scheduling to document review to future enhancements and to answer any audit-related questions.
  4. Do they openly communicate with you throughout the certification process? Your auditor and the certification process should support open and frequent communication where objective feedback and discussion are welcome.

What makes SQA auditors different than others? Smithers auditors ask the right questions that cover all of your business interactions from start to finish. We believe it’s not just a quality management system we are designing or refining, but a business management system that integrates functions from customer service to invoicing to product shipment.

SQA auditors are highly trained with hands-on methods, not just through online means or an instructional manual. They must pass an industry competency test, which many other certification companies do not require. This ensures you have the most knowledgeable auditors working to help you with your certification process.

We don’t do this because we have to, we do this because it is the right thing to do.

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