Are you interested in becoming an ISO 9001 auditor within your organization? The role of an ISO Auditor is described as: “responsible for ensuring that the production systems and processes of manufacturing firms comply with ISO standards. They must conduct surveillance and assessment of these firms and report any non-conformity in audit reports. ISO auditors also make necessary recommendations to help the system operate in compliance with required ISO standards.” – Source
Having an audit program and competent internal auditors to regularly assess your QMS to ensure that requirements are met and to drive continual improvement is a requirement of ISO 9001, and it makes good business sense to ensure that you have competent auditors that will be able to find gaps in your quality system so that you can take the necessary measures to improve them.
You will need to take the necessary steps to train yourself and seek training on the various companion requirements, the standard, and its best practices. Becoming an auditor will take time and a detailed understanding of the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
At Isometric, we can help you to become an internal auditor. Our trained Lead Auditors undergo Exemplar Global accredited training using ISO 19011 to ensure that we know how to build and manage an audit program and select and train competent auditors, and we would of course encourage you to reach out to us HERE if you’d like us to help train you or folks within your organization as internal auditors or if you would like Isometric to conduct an internal audit in your organization. But we also feel that there are many aspects of ISO 9001 implementation and auditing that are not as difficult as many consultants would have you believe, and there are many things that an organization can do to implement and audit their QMS on their own, without using expensive consultants. We care about small organizations with limited budgets, which is why we frequently point you toward free resources that can help you to grow, like the Doxonomy documentation kit, and, for the purpose of this post, Internal Auditor and Lead Auditor training that can be taken for free online at Advisera.
BECOMING AN AUDITOR
To become an auditor, you will first need the necessary training. As an auditor, you need to demonstrate knowledge of ISO standards and comprehension of the standard you will audit against, along with its companion material and standards for proper auditing techniques and expectations. Consider taking introductory-level courses if you are brand new to ISO 9001 like an awareness course or introduction to the standard course. These courses are often low cost, and low time commitment and allow you to learn about the standard either in class or online. You will also need to take a Lead Auditor or Internal Auditor course to learn auditing techniques and requirements.
As mentioned in the introductory paragraph, we frequently use Advisera’s online training for Internal Auditors, Lead Auditors, and Lead Implementors. Advisera is an Exemplar Global accredited training partner, and they offer quite a few free training courses to help you implement and audit against ISO 9001, as well as several other international and industry specific standards. They of course have paid options for companies to set up company accounts and track the progress of their auditors’ training, or for additional workshops or certifications, but most of the video lessons and assessments are completely free.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AUDITOR AND LEAD AUDITOR
As a Lead Auditor, you are responsible for leading the audit team, preparing the audit plans, delivering meetings and submitting the audit reports and findings at the end of each audit. If you are part of the audit team, you report to the Lead Auditor who will assign you specific areas to audit and report on, and a timeline to submit your report. You will not be responsible to present during opening and closing meetings, and you will not be responsible for creating and submitting the final audit report.
LEAD AUDITOR ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Possess strong analytical and problem-solving abilities
- Manage a team of auditors
- Evaluate an organization’s processes for compliance with quality requirements
- Develop audit plans and schedules
- Participate in quality audits (and lead a team of quality auditors, when needed)
- Identify processes, situations, etc., where an organization is meeting requirements, as well as identify opportunities for improvement
- Develop audit reports and present to top management
- Assist with follow-up audits, as required
BECOMING A LEAD AUDITOR:
To be a lead auditor you must have a varying minimum number of years of full-time general work experience and practical experience in applying ISO principles, procedures and techniques. You will need to seek out certification training from a personnel certification body and perform the required auditing time via shadowing other auditors. Lead auditor certification generally requires tertiary education plus two years of work experience as a lead auditor in training.
Auditors should also have strong interpersonal skills and be comfortable with public speaking, and proficient in the written and spoken language in which you will be auditing. Being proficient in Microsoft Office is also helpful as you will need to develop written reports and format appropriately for the organization you are working for.
Auditors should also be able to think outside the box to problem-solve if audit plans do not go according to plan. Whilst an auditor should be prepared well in advanced and aware of time management due to the interpretive nature of auditing an organization, the auditor should also be able to re-prioritize if circumstances out of their control change the plan.
Isometric Consulting offers many auditing services. If you would like to reach out to us to inquire about internal auditor training or to receive a quote to have us perform an internal audit either remotely or at your facility, you can do so in the contact form HERE.
Some of the content of this post was originally posted at ISO Update on Nov. 21, 2019. You can read the original post HERE.