Monday, March 29, 2010

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Outsourcing Internal Quality Auditing functions

Although organizations consider that the third-party ISO 9001 Annual Surveillance Audits provide independence, integrity and value, their outcome is often simply permission to conduct business as usual. Competitive cost pressures have created a commoditized, streamlined environment where these audits focus narrowly on adherence to specific quality, safety, environmental or financial standards. As a result, these audits too often leave companies with a handful of persistent performance problems and unidentified business risks that can erode shareholder value.

In respect of Internal Quality Audits, the companies find that the findings initiated by their own company’s employees, trained as internal auditors, were minor and did not add any value. Findings were of the document control type, incomplete tags which didn’t move the company towards continuous improvement activities. These findings simply weren’t important to them.

There is an option of making this Internal Auditing more effective, more value-adding and providing a business overview- outsourcing this function.

In the paper and presentation seen at the ASQ Audit Conference in October, 2008, “Effective Internal Audits: Is Outsourcing the Answer?” Denis Devos reveals results of his study which shows that “there is a growing tendency for organizations to rely on the services of professional auditors to perform audits”. In his study, Denis completed a survey of 155 companies. 76% - 86% (nonautomotive companies vs. automotive companies) of the companies surveyed had outsourced the internal audit function, even though there was an “internal” audit team in place.

Today, experienced auditors go beyond the conformity by identifying levels of compliance with – and the effectiveness of – a company’s own established best practices, management processes and business excellence framework. The detailed, customized analysis generated, gives business leaders a genuine insight into how effectively their current business management systems are performing and how they can use them to create even more value for customers and shareholders. Importantly, they also provide a road map for the continual improvement that many standards require and that is necessary to build and maintain competitive advantage.

Can this be an effective tool for measurement of performance excellence

Inviting professionals to comment on this.