Wednesday, August 19, 2015

“Hey, is your organization doing annual audits?......DON'T BOTHER!

“Hey, is your organization doing annual audits?......DON"T BOTHER!”

Why do we do audits? What is the purpose of an Audit? No matter what business your in, you can not succeed unless you have “control” of your processes. Many companies use the audit system to assure that processes, areas, jobs and other functions of the company are in control. Of course, a lot of companies are seeing the power of statistical process control, SPC, to achieve their control over processes. 

Annual Audit Schedules are good but does not afford consistent control.
I support the use of SPC but, the reality for most emerging companies with new processes, audits are the control measure of choice. In the Safety Management System, SMS, world, the audit is the foundation of the Quality Assurance,QA, program. Let me emphasis that I support Audits. There is no doubt that “What gets measured gets done.”Audits, done right, do assess processes very well. However, audits are simply a “snapshot.” Performing “annual” audits or in some cases longer time intervals, allow the processes to go “un-monitored” for long periods of time. 
The "Deming" inputs to all processes

If we understand the “Interaction of Forces” recognized by Dr. W. Edwards Deming, then we need to understand the volatility of the process inputs that can easily cause “out of control” situations.  

The output of all processes are affected by the system inputs, Machines, Material, Methods, People, and Environment*. If one of these defined inputs varies in some way, then then the output of the process is in jeopardy of becoming "out of control." For example: you hire a new person, buy a different material, introduce a new machine...etc. The output of the entire process can be affected. 

So what can we do to truly “monitor” a process. First, I recommend the use of SPC. However, if that is not possible, then we need to find a way to audit in a more frequent sequence. This will be time consuming and costly especially for the QA department. This is where we must embrace the idea of QA as everyone’s responsibility. 

All sections of a process produce a product. That product will have the results of the process evident. By simply performing a “quick” audit of the process “product,” we can gain knowledge of the process itself. The example shows a marking and packaging process. We can simply select a process step to “inspect” the process product. Once the part has been marked, we can do an audit to see if the first part of the process is in control. Then we can look later step to see if the packing and package markings and placards are in-control. 

Key Performance Indicators at selective steps

These simple audits can be done by the process manager at much shorter intervals than the annual QA audit of the packaging and shipping area. These Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, are NOT to replace the QA audit! It is a simple check by the department itself to circumvent possible out-of-control situation before they cause major non-conformances. These KPIs will also produce data that can be used to track these processes by QA.

It took me 2.4 minutes to produce this KPI audit in the iAditor App for my ipad. Now I can perform this simple 4 question KPI audit on my iphone. The audit will take less than 5 minutes to do. Since it is so easy to do these audits, I can perform these audits on a weekly or biweekly basis. This will increase the control of that process ten fold.

The iAuditor APP from Safety Culture made making the KPI audit so simple.

(You can learn how to implement this control so easily. goto: 
or better yet, attend the “Future of Auditing” Symposium at #Disneyworld’s Coronado Resort in January. 

Mr. Dennis Taboada, M.eng.,CQE, CQM is the CEO of the DTI Training Canada Ltd. and DTI Training Consortium USA. The Design, Development and Delivery of Quality Assurance/Safety Management System Training for NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Israeli Defense Force, Transport Canada and many Aviation and Manufacturing organizations. 

*Dr. Deming recognizes measurement as a 6th input.

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