In Quality Management System there are three main categories of audits, which depend on the relationship between the auditor and the person being audited. These are called first-party audits , second-party audits , and third-party audits. Below I describe the party’s categories and try to explain the typical audit names that fall under each.
A third-party audit occurs when a organization has decided that they want to create a quality management system (QMS) that conforms to a standard set of needs, such as ISO 9001, and hire an independent organization to perform an audit to verify that the Organization has succeeded in this endeavor. These independent Organization are called registrars or registrars, and they are in the business of conducting audits to compare and verify that the QMS (9001) meets all the requirements of the selected standard, and continues to meet the needs on an ongoing basis. After providing certification to companies that they approve. This can be used to give customers of the certified Organization confidence that the Quality Management System(QMS) meets the requirements of the chosen standard. There are 3 types of audits used in this process, They are certification audits, maintenance or surveillance audits, and re-certification audits.
A second-party audit is when a Organization performs an audit of a supplier to ensure that they are meeting the requirements specified in the contract. These requirements may include special control over certain processes (such as soldering or welding), requirements on traceability of parts (knowing which parts are used in which products), requirements for particular cleanliness standards, requirements for specific documentation, or any of a host of other items of special interest to that customer. These Second Party audits can be done on-site by reviewing the processes or even off-site by reviewing documents submitted by the supplier. Part of the contract or Customer can audit all – whatever it is, they see a need to audit. It is the important to understand that a second-party audit is between the customer and the supplier and has nothing to do with becoming certified.
Some people thought that second-party audits would not be necessary once a Organization is certified to ISO 9001 by a certification body, but this is not necessarily true. Even If you are certified by a third-party audit, some of your customers may still want to conduct a second-party audit to look at elements of their contract, especially if these elements are differ as the ISO 9001 requirements. This is not required by all customers, and is not required to be certified to ISO 9001 by a certification body, but it is specified in some contracts and there are some Consumer that choose to perform these type of audits.
First-party audits are often called internal audits. Internal Audit is when someone from the Company itself will audit a process or set of processes in the quality management system to ensure it meets the procedure that the company has specified. The Similar person can be an employee of the company or someone hired by the organization to perform the internal audits, such as a consultant, but the important thing is that the person is acting on behalf of the Organization rather than a customer or ISO 9001 certification body. This type of Internal audit is focusing not only on whether the company processes meet the requirements of a standard, but all rules the company has set for itself. The audit will look for problem areas, areas where processes do not align with each other, opportunities for improvement, and the effectiveness of the quality management system. By design, these audits can and should be much more in depth than the other audits, since this is one of the best ways for a company to find areas to improve upon.
Know the difference, and don’t get confused
Do you need to do second-party audits on your suppliers to better understand their capability to meet your needs? How can you improve more from your third-party audits? What requirement’s to be done to improve your internal first-party audits to work toward improvement? By understanding the different types of audits and what they mean for you, you can more easily know how they can best be used in your Company to work toward improvement of the quality management system (ISO 9001).
What ISO 9001 training and certification is available if you’re an individual?
Training in the concepts of ISO 9001 is available, and there are a range of course options for individuals to choose from. Only the first of these can lead to certification for the individual to be able to audit for a certification body, but the others are very useful for those who will be using these skills within their own company:
ISO Lead Auditor Course – This is a four- to five-day training course focused on understanding the ISO 9001 QMS standard and being able to use it for auditing management systems against these requirements. The ISO 9001 course includes a test at the end to verify knowledge and competence, and it is only with an accredited course that an individual can become approved to audit for a certification body.
ISO 9001 Internal Auditor Course – This is commonly a two- or three-day course that is based on the lead auditor course above, but does not include the test for competence, so this is most useful for someone beginning to do internal audits within a company.
ISO 9001 Implementation Course and Awareness – Several courses are offered that provide knowledge of ISO 9001 and how to implement it. These can be one- or two-day courses, and can even include online e-learning sessions as a method of teaching the material. These courses are good for those who need an overview of the ISO 9001 standard, or those who will be involved in the implementation within a company, and many are more economical than investing in the lead auditor course for those involved at this level.
There are a number of accredited training organizations around the world where you can gain individual qualifications in ISO 9001.
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