Top Management Audits
There are two common types of Quality Management System audits. Theres the companys 1st party audit where the organisation audits itself. This type of audit is more commonly known as an Internal Audit. Then there is the 3rd Party Audit, usually carried out by your chosen certification body. Regardless of which audit is in process, both almost always have one failing in common. Tope Management is almost always excluded from the scope of the audit.
There could be a number of reason why this is the case, not the least of which could be because staff charged with performing these audits, including the Management Representative, may be afraid of speaking to a director or an MD or are afraid of asking tough questions for fear of reprimand.
But lets say that you have been encouraged by top management to do just that. So what should you be asking? Here are the top 5 questions that effective audits reveal about top managements commitment.
- What is their vision for the company? Is that vision documented somewhere and, if so, how is it communicated to all staff and not just those immediately below them?
- What overall Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) have they set and do they cascade this information down the organisation in a manner that all staff understand what is required of them to achieve those objectives. Even a staff member at the lower echelons of the organisation should be made aware of what he is required to do and how important his role is in achieving those KPIs.
- What resources have they budgeted for to ensure that the Quality Management System functions effectively and that their Quality Policy is fulfilled? The fewer the resources, the more the QMS department will struggle to get things done and vice versa.
- What is their role in the Quality Management System and how do they show their commitment to their staff. Their commitment and the way they get involved in the system is an indicator of the level of buy-in across an organisation and how well the system is adhered to.
- And finally, how often are Management Reviews held? When was the last review? Who was present and what were the key decisions that came out of that meeting? What happens to the minutes once they are recorded and to whom are they circulated? There is no point to these reviews if they are held just because the standard mandates it.
This article has been written by Birjees Hussain