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Lead Auditor

Discussion in 'IATF 16949:2016 - Automotive Quality Systems' started by John C. Abnet, May 31, 2018.

  1. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    All;
    I am going to past here the information being carried over from the conversation in the post "ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Course" on the "ISO 9001:2015 forum....


    Group;
    While we're on this subject, let's discuss the actual term "Lead Auditor", as it is an ill-defined and often mis-identified term. A "lead auditor" is an accreditation body term and to truly gain the accurate title "Lead Auditor" it requires more than a test. Most requirements include "X" amount of auditing hours with an existing certified auditor and endorsed organization/program. The origin of "Lead Auditor" is actually a position given to an associate of an accreditation body and not originally (currently?) intended to be for individuals outside of the AB circles.
    An example of oddly (wrongly?) using the term "Lead Auditor" is as follows...
    IATF 16949 (the expanded "automotive version"of ISO 9001:2015) requires CSR (Customer Specific Requirements) be met. In the case of General Motors, GM throws the term "Lead AUditor" around in a manner that I understand to be quite loose when compared to the term's actual "definition"/intent. e.g....
    8.4.2.4.1 Second-party audits (from GM's CSR)...
    2. The organization (2nd party) must utilize a qualified ISO Lead Auditor, or a qualified internal auditor with evidence of their successful completion of training, and a minimum of five internal ..."

    I would infer from GM's use of the term "Lead Auditor" that GM suppliers essentially need to train an associate (i.e. SQE, etc...) for a career with an AB in order to meet GM's requirement.


    @Andy Nichols , continuing our conversation from the noted forum/post.....
    So, what say you in regards to a GM supplier ? I see no way for them to meet GM's CSR (customer specific requirements) without either having a staff member take a "Lead Auditor" Exemplar Global endorsed course OR outsource process and 2nd party audits to someone who has. Thoughts?



     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    The question becomes, in my mind, what's a "Qualified Lead Auditor"? It doesn't actually call out an Exemplar Global or IRCA card carrying auditor, therefore it leaves it to the client to decide. Frankly, experience shows it's a practical impossibility for most people with a regular day-time job to attain the qualifications set out by Exemplar and/or IRCA to become one of the grades of auditors available. My 25+ years experience tells me that - even as a consultant where I can claim all manner of activities as compliant with the experience criteria - I still struggle to get the hours of SYSTEMS audits, plus have someone else on the team.
     
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  3. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

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    Thanks @Andy Nichols I appreciate the input.
     
  4. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    In actual fact, the term Lead Auditor was coined in the UK before ISO 9001/2/3 were published and Certification Bodies came on the scene. In the mid 80's, the UK procurement giants - mainly government run utilities, defence departments etc - needed a high degree of professionalism in their supplier audits. Don't forget, they were spending tax payers' money and awarding significant contracts to suppliers in parliamentary constituencies where impartiality was the by-word.

    A small number of procurement (quality) representatives set about creating training courses for their Supplier QA auditors to improve objectivity. In one case, my mentor and trainer, Jeff Monk, worked with Gordon Staples - both were in Supplier QA at British Gas and they developed what became the Rede Group and Excel Partnership (subsequently BSI) Lead Auditor courses. I've been trained under the first and have taught (many, many times) the second.

    In the early 90's, when Certification Bodies were created, they needed to staff up and the need for "Lead Auditors" as a professional qualification was created. The training already existed, it just needed a body to take care of the qualification process - the then Institute of Quality Assurance stepped up and accredited both auditors and training courses - under IRCA (the International Register of Certificated Auditors). There were a few grades, Lead Auditor being the most highly (experienced) level.

    After that, things become (at least for me) a little less clear. The USA copied the process, under the RAB, except they also accredited Registrars, and things started to go haywire, IMHO. Enter SAI Global (from Australia) and, as they say, the rest is history...
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
  5. Steven Severt

    Steven Severt Member

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    I noticed in my Exemplar Lead Auditor course that the term Lead Auditor seemed to be used interchangeably with Audit Team Leader.
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Indeed. That's because, typically, (supplier) audits were conducted by a team of auditors (not just quality people)
     

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