• Alma Brainy

Auditor Skills

by Azrul Faizal

When it comes to management system, continual improvement  has always been associated with Auditing. However the remaining question is…are your audits comprehensive enough to be truly effective in uncovering information you can use? This is where audit preparation is key.

As the basic preparation, an auditor should be ready with the work documents, or tools, that helps plan and guide the entire process-approach audit. An effective audit tool will streamline the audit process, performance based intention and value add. It is crucial for the auditor to be able to choose which audit work document or tools the auditor to be used. In order to be effective the chosen tool should at minimum include the following:

  1. Process Name and Owner

  2. List Process Activities ( most important activities done within this process

  3. Process Limits: The inputs and the outputs of respective process. Process interaction

  4. Process Control: What are the monitors and measurements used to control the process effectiveness; Process Operation Methods? What are the applicable documented procedures and instructions?

  5. The Needed Resources: List of the most important resources needed to perform the process?

  6. Relevant management system standard requirements: What are the most important requirements to be addressed by the process? (identify clauses that are directly related to the relevant process)

  7. Applicable customer, statutory and regulatory requirements associated with the scope of the management system.

1. Turtle Diagram

The turtle diagram is a tool commonly used and a proven way to define processes. It is also a useful tool when conducting a management system or process approach audit. Turtle diagram can assist the auditor to do the following:

  • Identify relevant sources of risk.

  • Address performance, highlighting those sources that influence the MEASURE of the process.

  • Trace where will the outputs of the process go, and what are the INPUTS the process uses.

  • Use the tool to collect relevant auditor evidence when performing the auditPerform the audit to trace outputs of the process into other areas of the system

The turtle diagram act as a framework for defining the following components of a process:

Process name: Normally expressed as an action; suggest using a verb for the name of the process like Marketing, Ordering, Manufacturing, Auditing, Management Review).

Inputs: What is this process will fill? Define this need at the characteristic level. Consider any releav regulatory and statutory requirements. Does the standard specify any requirements as inputs for this process?

Outputs: Has the customer’s need been met? Are the characteristics required in the input have been achieved?

What: What are the resources for the process (materials, equipment, buildings, hardware/software, etc.)?

Who (Owners): Who is the process owner and the individuals operating the process? 

Who (Supporters): Identify individuals involved in supporting this process. Refer to the “How” box and link to supporting processes.  This might include safety, Facilities and Equipment Maintenance, IT, etc.

(Process Control): How is this process controlled (procedures, sub-processes)? Which processes support this process?

How (Supporting Processes): What are the supporting processes. Examples might include training, housekeeping, facilities maintenance, equipment maintenance, etc.

Measures: Which measures are used for analysis of process effectiveness (measures and metrics, use of data)?

Focus on Performance

You’ll have a general overview of the process once you fill up each boxes with the relevant information. Next you’ll return to the Measurement box and further investigate to see how the process is performing. This activity will take you back to many of the other relevant boxes in order to investigate records for the objective evidence of how the process is performing.  stop drilling down if the performance of the process is good and seems well-defined. Move to another process that does not seem to have acceptable performance.

2. Process Approach Planning Worksheet

Another recommended tool for process-based auditing is a process approach planning worksheet. The worksheet is designed to assist planning an audit by breaking the audit into practical, concrete audit paths; that is, processes that are linked together, have definable and individual characteristics attributable to processes, and actually exist. Once completed this audit map provides information for planning and conducting an audit, and allows you to decide which parts (processes) of the organization’s QMS you wish to investigate and diagnose.