For years I have promoted certification as a major contributor to higher quality within engineering organizations. I still maintain certification is essential to ensure an unbiased view of the knowledge and experience of all team members. When it comes to overall lab quality, however, how can one rest assured that proper processes are being applied and followed? The answer is simple: regular audits.
Although regular auditing might be a simple answer, the actual act can be more complex. In many cases organizations do not have the skills or knowledge internally to conduct regular audits, as this requires training and experience. Therefore, they tend to hire an outside entity to conduct audits at a level just deep enough to maintain accreditation. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, but it can result in gaps in quality that are only addressed at the time of the audit. So how can this be overcome? The best suggestion is to create an internal audit team. After all, who knows the organization better than your own team? Not to mention, they already have a solid understanding of and experience with engineering. But how do you develop an internal audit team? Through training and experience.
Training is usually the easy part, as auditing courses are available globally and, in many cases, virtually, so attending a course can be done even while in quarantine for Covid-19. Experience, on the other hand, can be more challenging. To gain experience you typically need to be hired to conduct an audit; ironically, to be hired to audit you typically need experience. This is where many get stuck, and the creation of the internal team begins to degrade. iNARTE’s parent company, Exemplar Global is working on a solution to this problem—the Audit Simulator powered by QLBS.
Available soon, the Audit Simulator can be used to gain experience and understanding of how an audit is conducted. The tool will allow you to review questions and checklists, evaluate evidence and comments, and make decisions on the state of compliance or noncompliance. Learners can then compare their results against professional, experienced auditors. This is a way to practice auditing without risk to help prepare you and your organization and instill best practices.
Exemplar Global’s Audit Simulator will be available soon. For a sneak peek, please view our “Introducing Simulator” session at the Online Auditor Expo. The event is free for iNARTE customers to attend. All you need to do is enter the “OAE2021” coupon code at the checkout.
If you would like more information about the Audit Simulator, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.