Process Audits – Three-Step Process

Process audits can also follow Pilot's three steps – Identify, Insure, Improve – as this would provide a standardized approach, providing consistency in how they look at all processes at your organization.

Step One, Identify: The auditor would look at the process to see if managers and employees understand the organization, its risks and legal requirements tied to the process they are working with, and the controls needed. Past nonconformances would be reviewed. He or she would review the objectives that have been set for the process and the status of the project(s) and strategic plans and any input to the success or failure of the plan. The policy statement is reviewed as to what it means to workers in that particular process, in order to get a clear understanding of what the workers see as the key values and principles for the organization.

Step Two, Insure: The auditor reviews the documentation (specifications, control plans, procedures, records, quality control, and responsibilities) requirements for the process, the applicable procedures, and work instructions. Are they being followed – why or why not? There will be a review of infrastructure and working environment of the process. What communication methods are used to improve performance – for example, “OneStep Lessons”? Training and competency will be checked. How are changes dealt with – for example, process changes and improvements? What nonconforming products have been found in the process and why? There will be a review of any outsourced work done on that process, maintenance of equipment, calibration, etc. What customer focus is required in the process? Are customer requirements being met in this process? How? Are there any issues tied to the supply chain – for example, design or production?

Step Three, Improve: What monitoring and measurement is done in this process (inspections-environment, health and safety, quality control, external reviews – insurance reports, compliance audits, nonconformances)? What is its status? How can it be improved? Can any areas be improved through automation and changes? Review of analysis of data related to this process and its evaluation results. What recommendations would managers and workers in this process suggest for improvement to the operation or the organization's management system processes? Has any “innovation” come from this process for improvement? What was it? Was it rewarded? In the management review of the process, what has been discussed, and are there any concerns or action items?

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