ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is a set of quality management standards that assist a business in implementing procedures and processes, with the aim of guaranteeing a high-quality product or service. In order to achieve ISO 9001 accreditation, regular internal audits need to be carried out to ensure that processes are being followed.
An internal auditor must ensure that higher levels of management fully support and endorse the creation and implementation of all quality-management procedures. Without this support and the enthusiasm to put ISO procedures into practice, the system will ultimately fail. Upper management should designate one of their number to supervise and oversee the creation and implementation of any quality-control systems. It is also this individual's job to communicate the importance of quality management to all staff and ensure that objectives are achieved.
Upper management should ensure that all customer requirements are determined and met, and it is the purpose of the audit to identify these. This is a beneficial use of time, as it allows management to focus resources on ensuring that customer demands are met. This increases customer satisfaction, which is a goal of all businesses.
Every company should have a quality policy and it is the responsibility of the auditor to identify and establish whether this policy meets the company's needs, and if it is continuously improved. It is also the auditor's role to discover how this policy is communicated to all employees throughout the organisation, as well as establishing whether it is regularly reviewed.
It is the role of the auditor to determine if the higher management team meets on a regular basis to discuss the effectiveness of the quality-management systems put into place and whether minutes and records of these meetings are retained for future reference. The structure of these review meetings should also be clearly defined to allow the progress of quality-management procedures and systems to be measured each time the team meets.