Internal audits are very important for any Quality Management system. Internal audits are done to monitor if your procedures are in place, effective, and so a way to improve your processes
The companies own personnel are responsible for these types of audits. To become an internal auditor, the employee must first undergo some training, but also keep up to date with the requirements for auditors.
Auditors must be objective, so they can generate useful information. When auditors know the process, it will be easier to detect errors / irregularities.
Internal auditors are an important part of the whole system.
But why are internal audits important.
Internal audits are a way of getting information about (possible) weak points, and so opportunities to improve the system will come forward.
This is what it is all about:
CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING THE SYSTEM. Making procedures more effective and more efficient, improving the quality of your products / service.
Internal audits are also a way to motivate employees. Everybody has to collaborate so the changes can take place; employees see and experience how important quality is. Future auditors must complete training to become internal auditors.
Auditors (employees) see how they can make a difference in the organization, and so commit themselves to the organization.
Internal auditors generate the data, make reports, and then hand it over to management.
In their turn management has an important role. Management is responsible for the quality system.
After receiving the audit report, management has some work to do.
Management has to check which deviation (error) has the highest risk factor, and attempt to eliminate it (them) as soon as possible.
Management has to work according to a plan. The plan has to be worked out, and has to be communicated to everyone.
Management has to appoint a responsible person (or team) for completing the job, and stipulate when it has to be completed.
During planning and implementation, we see how important the PDCA cycle is. (PDSA cycle)
The Plan – Do – Check (Study) – Act cycle is the best way for introducing changes.
* Plan the changes
* Introduce changes
* Check if it works
* Adjust if you need to adjust (or implement the changes somewhere else)
For every step it’s important to know:
- Who the responsible person is
- When it has to be done (finished)
- How it will be monitored
- How to report it
Internal audits are a useful tool for getting feedback for continuous improvement. It’s a method to keep the quality system alive; they are an essential tool in a well functioning management system. There must be continuity; so internal audits must be done at least once a year.
An internal audit is not just a method to get information about how you are doing, but the information is very important for management so they can constantly keep improving the system.