The internal audit is a mandatory step for businesses to achieve ISO 9001 certification, this article provides the steps that are required for preparing and succeeding at the internal audit.

Internal audits are the most essential part of the ISO certification process, regardless of the standard. They help reassure that an organisation meets all the requirements of the standard and is hence eligible to be certified. Internal audits are also referred to as continuous improvement tools for the businesses through which they can uncover the weaknesses in their management system and take actions to remove them. If you are looking forward to getting a strong QMS (Quality Management System) implemented and want it to be certified, then preparing for the internal audit is an essential step to comply with ISO 9001 requirements. When it comes to certifying your QMS, ISO 9001 is the most recognised standard. It is increasingly achieved by businesses to validate their QMS and simultaneously improve their product/service quality by promoting best practices.

While the internal audit is a significant step of the certification, you should be prepared to pass it successfully and secure your certification. Here we have compiled the requisite steps to prepare for the audit.

3 Requisite Steps to Prepare for the ISO 9001 Certification Internal Audit

Proper Presentation of Your Procedures

Even though there is no need for written procedures for the internal audit, you should be able to show the auditors that you have specific procedures for quality management in place. You need to properly arrange and present the information regarding the procedures so that auditors understand them. The auditors need to evaluate them thoroughly to identify areas that need attention or improvements. You must also inform the auditors who are operating those procedures and how it’s being operated. Maintaining clarity of your procedures of the QMS is the first core need of an audit that helps to get the desired outcome.

Evaluating the Issues Faced Earlier

The second important thing that you should do to prepare for an internal audit is recollect the issues that your business faced in the past. You need to think about the non-compliances, process failures, customer complaints, faulty inputs, and other relevant issues that happened in the past in your business. Checking these areas again in the internal audit is necessary so that you know if there are chances of the issues emerging again! Subsequently, you can implement actions or amend your QMS accordingly to prevent those issues. For instance, if there were huge complaints in the past regarding packaging and product damages, you can include in the internal audit a thorough checking of the packaging materials and processes.

Consider the Critical Business Processes

This is the main part of the internal audit where the auditors inspect the critical processes of your business. The critical processes refer to the most vital areas in your supply chain and focus on developing the product or service you want to provide to the customers. For instance, your business might be manufacturing furniture, so your critical processes would be assembling or manufacturing the parts, designing and developing the end product, and testing it for assurance of durability and strength. It is hence essential to recognise the processes that are integral for manufacturing your product or delivery of your services and focus on improving them after finding the loopholes or risks.

These are the three key steps that help you to successfully carry out an internal audit in your business and get you one step ahead closer to compliance with ISO 9001 requirements. However, there are a few more tips that you must consider apart from these. You need to notify the employees who are especially engaged in your quality management procedures and work with the QMS. Their participation is valuable in the audit process as they can provide real insights on the procedures to the auditors. Another important tip is creating an audit checklist. It helps in properly executing each stage of the audit without missing out on any crucial processes.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is the owner of a distinguished ISO consultancy firm in Australia that aids businesses in getting ISO certified in a fast and cost-effective way. He is the lead consultant for the ISO 9001 quality standard and likes to guide businesses on meeting ISO 9001 requirements, steps for achieving certification, and maintaining ISO compliance.


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