An audit to receive certification for an ISO quality management system, or an environmental management system of roughly the same kind is one of the most stressful times for any company, its workers as well as its executives. Some people in the corporate world refer to it as “hell week,” and with the unease and stress an audit brings, it’s really no wonder why. Fortunately, you can take the stress off, or at the very least, minimize it, in order to pull off a successful audit. Like we always tell our clients, the keys to your success are in your hands. All you have to do is pay attention and use your common sense.
Here are some tips to help you pull off a successful ISO certification audit. All of the pointers below are based on our clients’ experiences, many of whom have met success by following a simple, yet effective strategy we here at CG Business Consulting like to push. Bear in mind that these tips are applicable to most ISO audits, such as the systems under the ISO 9000 to the 14000 series.
In all my years in the business consulting industry, I’ve seen countless executives and employees experience anxiety and episodes of up-tightness all because of an ISO registration and ongoing surveillance by an auditor or registrar. The best way to ease the anxiety is to make the appropriate preparations before the auditing process takes place. If you think you’ve done all you could to make sure things go as smoothly as possible, and you still feel anxious, then you’re just being silly.
2 Brush up on your work description
Not only should you do this, the people working under you should do so as well. Know what your job description is, know what your respective roles are, and know what your responsibilities in the organization are.
3 Be Clean and Sharp
I’m not going to mince words with you. Appearances count, a lot. So be sure your employees are at least presentable, workstations are clean, and any records of any kind are just a few minutes away from being found-nothing puts an audit more into perspective than organization.
4 Don’t be on the Defensive
Auditors are not your enemies. An audit is not an adversarial situation, so don’t be too defensive, and above all, don’t argue with the auditor. Ask for questions if you want to make clarifications, but don’t argue with points your auditor makes.
Watch out for next installment of this 2-part article for even more tips come auditing time.