If you are new company owners or managers, facing the auditor for the first time must be a daunting experience. Many company owners or managers still feel that an audit process equals unexpected findings about problems that they even do not notice at first even when they have tried to run the company with honesty and integrity, which can severely impact the final result.
It is true that a detailed audit process often can reveal problems that are unseen before, especially when you run a business or company with many departments. However, in an audit process, it is completely normal when an auditor spots several minor problems; you will mostly just get warnings and be asked to fix the problems quickly. A severe standard violation, for example, is counted as major finding, and this kind of thing must become your main concern. Otherwise, here are some tips to help you get through your first audit.
First, as a company owner and department manager, you must understand well about ISO requirements; these are the golden rules that all company owners must understand to make sure that their manufacturing process as well as their services or goods fulfill applied standards. Prepare all the related documents, data and necessary certificates few weeks before the audit, including the written records of ISO standard implementations (just in case the auditor asks for them), and make sure that all of them are still eligible.
Also, make sure that you understand well about all business procedures that are performed daily in the company (if you are a department manager, understand well about your department’s work procedures). Remember, an auditor is an outsider who does not know anything about your company.
Whenever the auditor asks a question, avoid looking hesitated or answering with assumption; audit process is all about facts and data, and hesitation or incoherent answers can make the auditor suspect something fishy happens in your company or department. Personal communication aspect is a non-technical factor that can win you a smooth audit process.
Treat your auditor as a normal business guest that you face constantly. Prepare your office carefully to make the auditor feels more comfortable and give good impression. During the break, do not hesitate to strike up casual conversations such as talking about work or family. Often, two people who meet at a formal occasion become close to each other because of small things as personal communication.
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