Original Date: 11/12/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Internal Audits
In 1998, Frontier Electronic Systems developed a structured guideline for its Internal Audits to comply with ISO- 9001 process requirements. The result has been an increase in customer satisfaction, significant improvement in on-time delivery, and a reduction in defects. The audit data is archived for customer and external auditor review.
Previously, no formal audit procedure existed at Frontier Electronic Systems (FES). Each business or service area was responsible for tracking and maintaining employee adherence. Without structured guidelines for process monitoring, proactive correction of process deficiencies was difficult to achieve. Poor communication between auditor and auditee resulted in failed audits, due to omission of required objective evidence and insensitivity by the auditee to “shall” statements called out within the process. Lack of an audit schedule added to the process’ preparation and focus problems for completion of an audit. Additionally, since audit data (e.g., objective evidence, findings, corrective actions) was not effectively maintained, outside sources could not reference them. With the implementation of ISO-9001 processes at FES in 1998, an internal auditing mechanism became a requirement. In 1998, FES wrote and released its process (FES Doc. #ESP-4.17-1) for performing Internal Audits.
Internal Audits of FES processes are conducted by a team of trained auditors based on an annual audit schedule. The audit team performs audits independent of its own functional areas. The auditee receives a one-week advanced notification by the team, along with a list of required objective evidence and a “shall” statement checklist associated with the process being audited. During the audit, the objective evidence is provided immediately in order to make the audit more streamlined and less confusing to both auditor and auditee. Upon completion of the audit, all related findings and corrective action activities are completed by the team. The audit data is then archived in its associated file for easy accessibility by the audit team, Process Quality, or a customer/outside auditing team. This archived data greatly aids outside auditors, providing up-to-date information.
The Internal Audits function as one of the key feedback elements in FES’ Continuous Improvement Program. The audits ensure that internal processes are being executed consistently, thereby providing improved efficiency and quality performance as demonstrated by first-pass yield data of 98% over the past 24 months. In addition, maintaining focus on the audit schedule and clarifying the requirements for objective evidence and “shall” statements to the auditee streamline the audit process and minimize disruption without compromising the effectiveness of the audit.
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