The external auditor – The organisation specialist

Photo: Peter Shanks – “plasticine labyrinth” by Flickr

The external auditor is often underestimated by organisations, which is strongly discouraged. People don’t realize that the requirements on auditors are very high. A relevant experience in the sector and a broad organisational knowledge are minimum requirements.

Let’s add the facts that:

  • An auditor visits a lot of companies: between 40 and 70 a year
  • There are regular exchanges between auditors as well as adjustments among them
  • The requirements on the certification bodies have visibly increased over the last years

In a certain way an auditor can be considered as an organisation specialist.

To receive an auditor is always a source of stress, as it’s a kind of an examination. An auditor can ask difficult questions.

The moment can be badly lived because he can put his finger on the wound. Try to see everything from an external standpoint. For an organization it’s difficult to work on the weak points because that implicates change.

The objective of the auditor is to verify whether the organization can be nominated for certification. The certificate is given for the quality of the organization. It’s not only for the quality manager or the quality manual. It’s primordial to realize that.

When non-conformities are found, there is room for improvement. In principle, there is always such room. It’s certainly advantageous to dig deeper, when it comes to improvement measures in case the auditor found non-conformities.

To have a perfect may appear exaggerated. The vision of the organisation is often different when seen from the inside. In addition, there is so much work that one isn’t open to criticism on the organization. The attention on the process is deviated. Or is that exactly the process?

When can we afford to take such a position?

  • In the case we receive 0 product complaints a year
  • At an equivalent level of supplier complaints
  • If, during external audits, only between 1 and 2 remarks or 1 (minor) non-conformity are found

The situation above is rare. But even arriving there, it’s still important to always be watchful and take care of continuous improvement. Because, by doing nothing, we may be doubled.

Most of the companies are far away from the above described situation. Instead of complain about external audits, the auditors and the time it takes, it’s recommended to take the subject by hand. Only that moves the organisation forward.

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