Quality auditing allows an organisation or business to evaluate their processes, systems, designs, or products to see if they meet standards and comply with regulations. It’s important for regular quality audits to take place so that improvements can be made and issues can be identified. Missing this important activity can lead to inefficiencies and, even worse, non-compliance with laws and regulations.
It’s easy to see why quality audits are essential and good auditors are always in demand. But knowing how to start your career in quality auditing can be confusing. One of the best places to start is taking a quality auditing course online. This will formalise your existing knowledge and develop new skills that will help you advance your career. The benefit of our online auditing courses is that they can be taken through Recognition Of Prior Learning (RPL), which recognises your previous experience and converts it into formal competencies.
Want to learn more about RPL? Take a look here.
But what is actually involved in a quality audit and how does it work?
The different types of quality audits
There are many types of quality audits, and each one may work differently depending on the organisation and industry of the audit.
They are generally categorised as:
Process audits look at how an organisation’s processes are performing within their defined parameters and metrics. It will measure whether the processes are meeting industry standards, as well as the effectiveness of the process to meet business requirements. The definition of a “process” is varied, and it can be specific to an organisation or set standards within different industries. It can be a series of actions or steps related to how the business operates internally or externally, and anything in between.
A system audit is slightly different to a process audit, as it looks at all the elements of a management or workplace system and whether they are effective and appropriate. It will assess whether the system has been developed, executed, and documented to meet certain requirements.
Product audits look specifically at a product and whether it is meeting requirements set by customer requirements and performance standards. “Product” can mean both a physical product or a service, which a business provides to customers. Product audits are incredibly important for assessing the safety of items, particularly of physical products, and meeting consumer standards and regulations.
Steps in a quality audit
There are usually four main steps in a quality audit, and each is important for properly carrying out an audit and getting accurate results.
Let’s take a closer look:
First things first: starting the quality audit. In the initial stage, preliminary discussions will take place between the parties involved so that key information is shared and objectives are set. The initiation will also look closely at the metrics or standards against which the process, system or product will be assessed. Setting this groundwork will inform the rest of the audit and ensure it meets the objectives.
Planning an audit is essential to ensure that it is carried out correctly and effectively. Planning can involve setting the schedule of the audit, identifying the resources required to carry it out, gathering documentation and systems access, working out how the reporting will be delivered and how corrective actions will be implemented.
The all-important step is undertaking the audit. This involves assessing the process, system, or product under review to the standards against which it is being measured. This step can vary greatly, and can include anything from on-site audits and interviews with managers or employees, to data analysis and digital system analysis. It’s important that auditors have an analytical eye and can impartially assess what’s in front of them. If these are skills you want to strengthen, you should consider undertaking a quality auditing course online.
The final step is reporting on the audit and delivering the results to all parties. The report can comprise observations made by the auditor, the data gathered from analysis, interview transcriptions, issues that were identified, and recommendations on the actions to be taken. The reporting can highlight areas that are performing well and successfully, and can also include recommendations about when the next quality audit should take place so that continuous improvements are made.
Quality auditing can be a complex and multifaceted discipline, but it’s a highly valued process for a range of organisations and businesses. It helps to maintain success and ensure businesses are operating at their best.
If you’re interested in learning more about auditing or exploring your options for taking a quality auditing course online, get in touch with our friendly team today!