Quality audits are a form of Quality Control, they are inspections. They are planned and documented assessments of the system, process, or material. They compare actual performance against planned arrangements.
The purpose of the audit is to improve the effectiveness of the Quality Management System. They are not an evaluation of the people! There primary purpose is to drive quality improvement.
System Audits - A system audit is a review of the entire quality system used by a company. It is a review of how quality standards are implemented, measured and met by the company.
It is a verification of the procedures used to measure the quality of the product, how issues are recorded, and how the company ensures that any failed product is not passed on to customers.
It's a review of all of the processes that make up the entire system.
Process audits - A process audit verifies that a documented process meets quality requirements and that the process is being followed.
Audited processes include manufacturing processes as well as other business processes related to the quality system.
Process audits examine one or more pieces of the system.
Product Audits - A product audit physically verifies that product meets design specifications and any other quality requirements.
Product audits require measuring physical dimensions and typically testing. A product audit also involves checking the calibration status of measurement and test equipment to verify that the product truly meets design requirements.
Internal Audit – Internal audits ensure that a company is meeting its own procedures, quality standards and any contractual requirements. Internal audits are typically by auditors who work for the company being reviewed.
They are also sometimes hired by a company to audit its own functions. Auditors must always be independent of the function that they are auditing.
They are performed by your own people on yourself.
External Audit – External audits are performed by auditors separate from the company being audited. They are typically performed by a potential customer prior to contract award to ensure that a company meets certain quality standards.
External audits performed by a company that has a contract with the audited firm are often referred to as second party audits. The second party quality audit is performed by the company holding the audit.
External audits are also conducted during the performance of a contract as a part of continued surveillance.
For example - your customer performs an audit on you, or on your supplier.
Third Party Audit – External audits performed by an organization that has no contract, or potential contract, with the company it is auditing is called a third party audit. A third party audit is often done to attain or maintain certification to a recognized quality standard.
With third party audits there is no customer-supplier relationship - the audit is performed by an unbiased third party (ISO registration authority)
The results of a quality audit are audit observations and/or audit findings. Almost all quality audits result in these because the perfect Quality Management System has yet to be created.
Corrective action should be taken for observations and findings although findings are certainly the priority.
There Are Four Key Phases To An Audit:
Remember, the primary purpose of quality auditing is continuous quality improvement!
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