5 Steps to Successfully Prepare for an ISO 9001 Audit
Achieving ISO 9001 certification is a significant accomplishment for any business in Australia. Being certified means your organisation has implemented a robust quality management system that meets international standards. However, while the ISO 9001 audit is a crucial step in obtaining this certification, it can be a daunting task for many companies.
To help make the process smoother, we have outlined five essential steps to pass your ISO 9001 audit in Australia:
Step 1. Get Familiar
The first step in preparing for your audit is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the ISO 9001 standard. Familiarise yourself with the requirements, structure, and terminology used in the standard.
That said, it is essential to know which clauses apply to your organisation and what evidence the auditor will require to demonstrate compliance. You can do this by obtaining a copy of the standard from the ISO website or contacting an Australian-accredited certification body for guidance.
Step 2. Conduct a Gap Analysis
A gap analysis involves assessing your current QMS against the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 to identify areas of non-compliance or opportunities for improvement. This process provides a clear understanding of the gaps in your system and creates a roadmap for addressing these issues before the audit.
During the gap analysis, involve relevant personnel from different departments to ensure a comprehensive understanding of your organisation’s processes. Remember to document your findings and create an action plan to address any non-conformities or areas for improvement. Also, ensure that all actions are completed, and evidence is available to demonstrate compliance during the audit.
Step 3. Train and Involve Your Team
Successful implementation of a QMS and passing the ISO 9001 audit requires the involvement and commitment of your entire team. As such, ensure all employees understand the importance of the ISO 9001 standard and how it applies to their organisational role.
Provide training on the requirements of the standard, your QMS processes, and any changes that have been made as a result of the gap analysis. This will ensure everyone knows their responsibilities and can confidently demonstrate their understanding during the audit.
Step 4. Conduct Internal Audits and Management Reviews
Before the external audit, it is crucial to conduct internal audits and management reviews to ensure your QMS is functioning effectively and meeting the requirements of ISO 9001:2015. This provides an opportunity to identify and address any non-conformities or areas for improvement before the external audit.
That said, internal audits should be conducted by trained and competent personnel who are independent of the area being audited. The results of the internal audits should be documented and reviewed by management to ensure appropriate corrective actions are taken. Similarly, a management review should be conducted to evaluate the overall performance of the QMS and its effectiveness in meeting the organisation’s quality objectives.
Step 5. Prepare for the External Audit
Once you have completed the previous steps, it is time to prepare for the external audit conducted by an accredited certification body in Australia. This will involve two stages:
In the first stage, the auditor will review your QMS documentation, including your quality manual, procedures, and records, to ensure compliance with ISO 9001:2015. They will also check that you have addressed any non-conformities identified during your internal audits and management review.
In the second stage, the auditor will visit your organisation to verify that your QMS is effectively implemented and maintained. They will conduct interviews with employees, observe processes, and review records to gather evidence of compliance.
Now, to prepare for the external audit:
- Ensure all documentation is up-to-date and readily available for the auditor.
- Communicate the audit dates and schedule to all relevant personnel.
- Prepare staff for interviews by reiterating the importance of the audit and their role in demonstrating compliance.
- Ensure any corrective actions from internal audits and management reviews have been completed, and evidence is available.
Achieving ISO 9001 certification is a significant milestone for any Australian business, demonstrating a commitment to quality and continuous improvement. And by following these five steps, you can be well on your way to successfully preparing your company for the certification process to enjoy all the benefits of being certified!
Edara Systems Australia is a specialised consulting firm in the industry that also provides construction management software solutions. If you are looking for ISO 9001 audits to prepare for certification, reach out to us today!