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The training of TS16949 internal auditors - What are the requirements?

Discussion in 'IATF 16949:2016 - Automotive Quality Systems' started by Carol Robinson, Dec 2, 2015.

  1. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Was it a specific auditor's guidance, and not a direct communication from the HQ of the Registrar? I'd be cautious of something from HQ and I'd ignore any comments from the actual auditor...
     
  2. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Ok so here it is via mass email blast:

    We have also received many questions from client contacts related to our interpretation of clause 7.2.3 Internal Auditor Competency as well as 7.2.4 Second-Party Auditor Competency. Questions relate to how we will audit this area and what criteria will be utilized to determine acceptability or meeting the intent. This applies to both the company auditors as well as any outside service providers where their Trainers competency must be demonstrated. Although the areas of competency are clearly identified in the standard, the concern relates to how much evidence (training and/or experience) is sufficient for each area.

    The first expectation of any auditor should be that there is established criteria within the QMS to define the necessary competencies. Next part is how much is enough? There is no standard criteria to demonstrate competency however Auditors must assess this reasonably and also look for effectiveness of the training. Of course the exceptions will stand out and be flagged as areas of concern. Auditors know that to upgrade their own qualification it required over 12 hours of time so if someone less knowledgeable is suggesting they attended a 2 or 4 hour class then this would probably not be acceptable.

    Each trainer has their own mix of experience and training so not fair to put them all in one basket so to speak. As we get more experience we will organize communications to assist in calibrating expectations but for now we must rely on practical and reasonable interpretations. At present we suggest we will look at qualification and competency records of course and judge them with consideration of the results of the implementation (ie. Internal audit results, did they miss obvious things, employee awareness, etc.).

    You could spend entire day auditing auditor training. My educated guess is a cert from a well respected training organization will simplify it greatly.
     
  3. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    If find it ironic that CB auditors make such a fuss about IA training etc. when, in my experience, they themselves do a less than stellar job!
     
  4. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    That judgment aside, we auditors are supposed to be verifying effectiveness of the management system. That would include determining competency and ensuring it is met, for persons working on behalf of the organization. That updated clause means contracted services too. If you want to enforce 3rd party auditor competence, there is a clause for that too: 8.4.

    As always, determining and ensuring competency for support functions is challenging. That is likely in part due to the job arguably needing a triad of competencies to include:
    1) technical expertise of the subject and understanding of the standard(s),
    2) organizational ability, and
    3) communication skills (and hopefully interpersonal skills).

    How effective performance is evaluated is up to you (and in our case, the registrar, under accreditation oversight). Auditors are expected to verify it is done. That is all.
     
  5. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    True, Jennifer, however, how is a client supposed to know what a CB auditor does and how they demonstrate competency? If you haven't seen it, how do you know if it's any good, kinda thing? Relying on inspection by the accreditation body isn't going to reveal much, is it?
     
  6. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know, but I have a big problem with some outsider who is not an HR expert telling me which one of my people are competent and which one's are not.
     
  7. Phillip D'Acquisto

    Phillip D'Acquisto New Member

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    When I say certified I am referring to the type of training where you take a test in the end and they classify you as certified. I went to AIAG 3 day class on ISO 9001:2015 and IATF 16949 but all I received was a participation certificate. Will this comply? In a prior ISO/TS 16949 audit at another company we were written up because the internal audited didn't take the class where they had to take a test and get a certificate. I don't want my new organization to fall into that same issue. I can always go back and take the 5 day course where you take the test but my organization is trying to save that cost and time.
     
  8. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    I suppose the argument is that passing the test proves competence. To me, the reality is that auditors will want simple. The ability to show a certificate from a known provider will go a long way with that. Unless the internal audits suck, you'll probably be ok.
     
  9. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    Presenting certificates of successfully completing courses for internal auditing may satisfy an auditor. But satisfying a "good auditor" will take more than just having a certificate. Competency is demonstrated. Internal auditors should be able to demonstrate their "understanding" on the competencies specified in clause 7.2.3.
     
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  10. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Like I said they will look at the audits as well. A good audit plus a certificate and the auditor will move on to other things.
     
  11. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    That wasn't a valid nc! For starters, let's stop worrying about what a Registrar auditor might write you up for, and instead, focus on making sure your internal auditors are competent. No-one ever got competent just going to class... Give your auditors plenty of practice so you can show the Registrar auditor effective audits.
     
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  12. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    This may have gotten past your auditor (heaven forbid) but it's NOT what's required.
     
  13. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Why, what more is needed?
     
  14. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    I'll treat this as a serious question - the requirement is for an organization to be able to demonstrate competent internal auditors. Firstly, satisfying a Registrar auditor is NOT what certification is about. This may not have been your experience. Similarly, competence doesn't come from attending a 1 or 2 day course. Since competence is defined as "demonstrated ability to apply skills and knowledge", maybe a course could develop some knowledge, but certainly NOT skills...
     
  15. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    So are you saying an internal auditor needs to go through an "apprentice" program to develop those skills? How else to develop those skills?
     
  16. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    That is exactly the point I am trying to make. The organization is expected to define competency and ensure it's met when people go off and do responsible tasks. An auditor's role is to merely verify that is done, or not.

    That said, I like to do internal audits on the last day. If I find 7 things and all the internal audits say "Everything is conforming!" I will explore the process to understand what they are looking for and how prepared they are to find it.
     
  17. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    Passing their test is, in my view, the ability to regurgitate memorized trivia as much as anything else. I've taken, and failed AIAG's exam three times because of the structure: at that time, one must pass all five modules with at least 80%. Less than that in any one module and one must come back (90 days later? I forget) and retake all 5 modules. My objection was having to remember things like the formula for repeatability in MSA. As though I am going to do a calculation as part of my audit, or analyze their calculations to determine if they meet the formula - as though I won't have the MSA Manual with me. Utter baloney. :mad:

    I appreciate your having taken the AIAG 3-day class. Since competency is generally defined as the absence of mistakes, the usual means to determine that is observed performance. Taking the class can help "set you up for success" in preparation for that.
     
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  18. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

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    To be fair, I do not know details of the new 16949 standard. ASQ did put out an article though, that includes a reference to updated competency expectations - can you open it? Keys to IATF 16949:2016
     
  19. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    No, that's not what I'm saying. Candidates for being an IA should have some coaching, for sure.
     

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