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Submitted by Monte C. Guitar, PMPA Director of Technology.
Don’t wait for an outside auditor to provide the assistance to “make you better.”  The best opportunities for improving precision machining operations will not be provided by your outside auditor. Here are our 3 reasons that precision machining companies are the ‘real experts’ on their processes and business:
Reason #1-  Process Expertise. Who knows your processes better than you? You’ve been doing this stuff for many years prior to ISO being a condition of business. You bring in the auditor to assess your quality systems, not to consult on your business.
Reason #2- Limited expertise by auditor in your processes. To be truly expert requires depth of experience in both auditing and your processes. Unless the auditor worked specifically in your field, they lack expertise in your process. What  they bring is quality systems expertise to evaluate your implementation.
Reason # 3- Standard is basis for the audit, not the auditor’s vision. If the requirement is not in the standard, then implementation becomes a business choice. It is easy for an auditor to describe the wonders of “one place I’ve seen” to a company that is looking for their own version of utopia. It is another thing to implement. Calibrate the good ideas  the auditor brings to your firm’s  available time and manpower constraints.
Top management should be concerned if they determine in a closing meeting that the best improvement opportunities for the company via the quality area were identified after an eight hour visit from someone who is not even fully educated to your process.
Great auditors recognize their role in helping precision machining companies improve their systems. Great precision machining companies recognize their responsibility to improve their implementation.
Denise Robitaille wrote an interesting piece in Quality Digest that might be of interest to you. Audits are an integral part of your business:
What do you think the auditor’s role should be?

1 thought on “3 Reasons You Know Your Process Better Than Your Auditor!

  1. Perry Wiltsie says:

    I agree with Monte’s article. However I wouldn’t limit it to third party auditors. Internal and third party auditors have many similarities in that they are independent of the processes they are auditing. Whether an audit is internal or from a third party, it is important to understand the total costs being incurred. How do you get value from an Audit?
    Any audit whether an Internal Audit or one performed by a Third Party is a snapshot in time. Audits have typically been done to “FIND SOMETHING WRONG” with the current systems or the way an individual is performing their job. That process reacts to a problem and is driven by the audit. It is one way of finding and fixing problems, but it is not the best way to add value!!!
    Falling on your sword – it is not uncommon for people to bring up potential non-conformances or suggestions for changes to an auditor. Employees may do this because they are frustrated or their isn’t a system that gives them a voice in making changes. Again it is one way of finding out information but is it the best way to drive change in our companies?
    The focus of our internal audit system has changed over the last year. We now map out our processes and review the effectiveness of those processes with the people most affected by them. The purpose of this change is to make each employee an owner of the processes that they are part of. As this system is implemented and developed, process owners will be developing measurables that will allow them to know whether the process is performing up to the level it should be. When the goals are not met then a plan will be followed to meet the goal.
    Empowering Employees – a) Educating employees to understand the responsibilities of their jobs, b) Empowering them to review how they are doing their jobs, c) Allowing them to make the required changes that will make them successful in their jobs, and d) Creating measurables that let employees know how they are performing. The more employees understand their jobs and develop their own measurables showing the effectiveness of key processes, the better our company will become.
    Hopefully in the end our employees will voice their concerns and make us aware of potential issues when they occur rather than finding them in an audit. That is the best and quickest way to receive the benefits of change and one way of adding value to our Quality Management System.

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