Original Date: 05/01/2000
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : ISO-9001 Quality Management System Audit
In the past, Northrop Grumman Defensive Systems Division (DSD) used separate auditing systems for its ISO-9001, process, and software audits. This approach resulted in more than 50% duplication as these systems covered overlapping areas. The manual method for tracking corrective actions was also lengthy and ineffective. Management had low visibility of the overall quality management status, and the use of a general ISO-9001 audit checklist was not always relative to Northrop Grumman DSD’s business. In 1999, the company consolidated all of these individual systems into the ISO-9001 Quality Management System Audit.
The ISO-9001 Quality Management System Audit combines the ISO-9001 20 elements, the ISO TickIT software, and the process audits into one management reporting system. The system also uses a singular electronic data system for auditing, and consolidates the audit planning activities. As a result, duplication is eliminated and corrective actions are easily tracked. Audit records include favorable and unfavorable audit results; corrective action results (CARS); and delinquent CARs. Overdue corrective actions for audits are automatically escalated to consecutively higher levels of management in one week increments on a monthly basis.
In 1999, Northrop Grumman DSD also established the ISO-9001 Annual Quality Management System Health Status. Provided to management, this annual report covers the overall ISO-9001 health assessment, current audit results, a three-year audit summary, recommended changes to the Quality Management System, customer satisfaction, and other audit topics.
Together, the ISO-9001 Quality Management System Audit and the ISO-9001 Annual Quality Management System Health Status provides Northrop Grumman DSD with greater visibility and access to audit results. By using an efficient, consolidated system, the company decreased the number of audits from 268 in 1998 to 183 in 1999, a reduction of 32%. In 2000, this figure was further reduced by another 16%. Corrective action cycle times have also improved. Previously, more than 10% of the corrective actions were late or rescheduled. That statistic is now less than 2%.
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