A quality assurance audit is a process conducted by either an internal or external auditor that helps to ensure an organization’s systems are in place and is being followed. The objective of the audit is to draw attention to needed improvements and ensure legal and regulatory requirements are being followed in order to bring consistent quality goods and services to the consumer. A successful quality audit concentrates on the needs of the organization.
Before starting a quality assurance audit, an auditor should review and become familiar with procedures, work instructions, standards, and specifications. Using a quality checklist during an audit enables the auditor to stick to the facts, be clear, and accurate with any documented evidence. While conducting the audit, the auditor should: keep an open mind, gravitate away from biases, be patient, and refrain from correcting individuals during the audit. The auditor should stray away from confrontation and remind all participants the purpose of the audit is to promote continuous improvement.
After the audit is conducted, use your knowledge of the organization’s work flow and procedures to recommend corrective actions, state due dates, and assign responsibilities. List all findings on the quality assurance report and send it to the corrective action team for resolution.
A secondary audit is then conducted in order to verify that all corrective actions implemented by the corrective action team has been put in place and they properly align with the organization’s standard operating procedures, needs, and continues to promote product and service quality. Once verified, a final report is sent to the corrective action team listing all findings and resolutions implemented.
A quality assurance audit lets management know: about current issues, potential problems, allows for evaluation and determination of the effectiveness of training, and shows support for the organization’s quality assurance program. The main outcome of an audit is to promote improvement and generate continuous feedback ensuring that the organization’s systems are in compliance with all internal procedures and external regulations.
One of the main mistakes that a quality assurance auditor can do is to audit with a gotcha attitude. Negative emotions detour from the scope and purpose of the audit. It draws attention away from the people and the team winning attitude and directs faults and facts found during the audit to individuals instead of the organization’s failed systems.
There are several types of quality assurance audits: system, product, service, department, process, compliance, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party audits that can be conduced in order to help an organization boost consumer confidence and increase the company’s credibility. International Organization for Standards, ISO 9000 a certification program sought by many companies as a way to guarantee the public that their company delivers excellent quality products and services. Companies use the ISO 9000 auditing system to verify that the company’s quality assurance systems are in place and that they are effective at catching defects before they get to the consumer.