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IATF 16949 Internal Audit

Internal Audits are a QMS’s best friend. Audits allow organizations to improve their quality management standard, becoming more effective and efficient of the system. They also help you prepare for your registration audit. So, what is the best way to make your internal audit program most effective? Below are several trips to help you get the most from your internal audits.
  • The authority of your team needs to be established and the auditors must be trained and independent of the areas they are to audit. This will increase the cooperation from auditees.
  • Make a schedule for areas to be audited and how frequent they need to be audited.
    • Prepare an anual audit schedule and distribute
  • Create an audit plan
    • Determine what other audit resources are needed – checklists, other auditors?
  • Establish the purpose of the audit –
    • is it a general overview of an area?
    • or is it specific to a system within an area?
  • Determine the purpose of the audit –
    • Are you trying to improve internal processes? government regulations? quality standards?
  • Summon a meeting with auditors to review the plan, purpose and scope of the audit.
  • Read the documents you will be auditing against. Know what they say. Develop questions to ask the auditees.
  • Conduct an opening meeting with the auditees.

During an Audit

  • Be professional throughout the audit and avoid being judgmental.
  • Make sure to follow all required procedures including: safety and clean room procedures
  • Clearly state the purpose of the audit to the auditees
  • Answer questions or discuss compliance problems that have been brought to your attention
  • Be malleable, if a potential problem occurs that is not within the scope, evaluate the problem and any potential risk of the problem.
  • Encourage honesty with the auditees

After the Audit

  • Assemble an auditors meeting to discuss the closing meeting results.
  • Gather for an auditors meeting
  • Meet with all auditees involved with the audit
    • First, point what was done well.
    • Second, address the nonconformances and ensure the auditees understand the nonconformance and what part of the standard is not met.
  • Issue a report in a timely manner based on the audit results- All auditees to decide on corrective actions. Allowing auditees to have input will give them ownership in implementing changes.
  • Set reasonable deadlines for those responsible for completing any corrective actions that need to be addressed. The correct action deadlines may vary depending on the severity of the nonconformity.
  • Be available and willing to assist the auditees.
  • Ask for feedback on you and your audit team, and make adjustments based on feedback.
  • One last tip: Involve people!

Audits are a great opportunity to train others. Ask for a volunteer (who is not an auditor) to walk through the audit process with you as an assistant. This will provide others with a better understanding of what audits are and why they are necessary. When you involve people, it creates a feeling of inclusion, making everyone feel important to the company, which allows the company to reach its goal of compliance

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