What Are Quality Audit Checklists?
A quality audit checklist is a tool that is used to guide quality managers and auditors when they conduct evaluations of the quality control practices implemented in the product creation or business procedures. The main point of a QA audit checklist is to streamline the auditing process and increase its effectiveness by keeping a record of all the important observations as well as the questions and responses exchanged during the audit.
In this article, the following points are explained:
What Is the Importance of Conducting QA Audits?
Through QA audits, the performance of existing processes is systematically assessed by a team of internal or external auditors. Typically, this is done to comply with industry quality standards and register for ISO 9001.
However, being an essential part of compliance requirements isn’t the only role of QA audit checklists. They are also critical to evaluating the viability of existing and new business processes and systems because it is through quality audits that comprehensive details of the current processes are objectively documented and provide proof for the execution of actionable plans in addressing observed challenges.
To best benefit an organization, quality audit checklists should not entirely focus on identifying issues and corrective actions but also include examples of good practices. This way, departments can receive holistic information that they can use to come up with a well-rounded strategy; effectively identify which practices are to be repeated and to be improved. This can better help deliver a more sustainable improvement overall.
What Are the Categories of Quality Audits?
The American Society for Quality indicates three types of quality audits:
1. Process Audit
The primary purpose of process quality audits is to evaluate the compliance of organizations to industry standards. Specifically, checking that processes are implemented within set limits. A process audit can check compliance to required specifications on temperature, pressure, weight, and other measurements. On top of this, it also evaluates the effectiveness of process controls by checking employee training and work procedures.
2. Product Audit
A product quality audit is aimed at assessing if outputs like products or services are at par with customer specifications and meet quality standards.
3. System Audit
System quality audits assess the management system. It seeks to make sure that the way the various management systems of an organization are performing according to company regulations and meeting expectations.
Who Performs Quality Audits?
The team performing the audit will vary depending on the intent or purpose for which the audit is conducted.
- Third-party audit: When a company decides to create a quality management system that complies with set industry standards like ISO 9001, an audit is performed by an independent audit organization that has no conflict of interest. Successful audits can result in registration, recognition, license approval, and certification; while, unsuccessful audits can result in a fine or penalty.
- Second-party audit: When a customer (typically a company) wants to make sure that the supplier is meeting the requirements of the contract, they conduct an audit or hire an external team of auditors to assess on behalf of the customer. The customer can evaluate the entire contract or part of the contract; anything they see fit to audit. This is more formal than first-party audits because the results can influence the customers’ buying decisions.
- First-party audit: When an organization wants to audit itself to evaluate its performance against its own procedures and industry standards, it conducts an internal audit. Typically, the assessment is done by employees employed by the organization who have no interest in the audit results of the area being audited.
What Are the Steps of Completing a Quality Audit Checklist?
You can use a quality audit checklist during audits by implementing the following steps:
- Identify your audit focus. Before you get an auditor, you should first determine the scope and criteria of the audit. This will most typically focus on the critical areas of the business or process.
- Prepare your quality audit checklist. The next step is where you prepare your quality audit checklist. Your checklist will be your audit plan, so it’s important that you review the current procedures, requirements, and work instructions. Once you have a good idea of the standard you’re supposed to benchmark the evaluations with, you can draft the quality audit checklist and questions.
- Conduct the audit. Executing the audit will include interviewing employees, checking system control, assessing operational processes, and constant coordination with relevant departments. So, it’s important that you stay impartial, accurate, objective, and highly informed of standard procedures.
- Report your findings. Document all positive and negative observations that you found along with a detailed narration of the facts. It’s also important that you provide evidence, indicate names and findings. You can use the quality audit checklist as the basis for your report.
- Come up with corrective actions and monitor execution. Once your initial report is done, a copy should be sent to the corrective action team or relevant department heads and a meeting set to discuss the proper execution of the actionable plans. Responsibilities and due dates must be assigned accordingly.
Once the corrective actions are completed, they should be documented on the findings report.
Conduct Quality Audits Easily on Any Device
Lumiform’s mobile app makes it easy for quality auditors to conduct inspections via tablet or smartphone and easily consolidate data for analysis. Using the app, you can assign corrective actions faster and track their progress easier. Best of all, insights can be generated immediately so you don’t have to worry about spending time manually crafting reports just to keep relevant team members and stakeholders constantly updated. All it takes is a few clicks of a button and you’re good to go.
With Lumiform, you can take your auditing process to the next level with:
- Flexible form builder that let you create fully customizable and flexible checklists that you can easily update as you progress.
- Access over 12,000 ready-made templates which you can use to create audit checklists in just a few minutes.
- Generate real-time data and implement corrective actions in a timely way, so processes remain up to industry standards.
- Conveniently bundle all audit results into a single report and share with stakeholders easily.
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