Quality Assurance (QA) audit is performed in order to ensure that the systems are in place and being followed religiously to provide good quality to the customers. It also highlights the need for any improvement in the systems in order to consistently deliver good quality products or services. The audits are also performed to make sure that the organization is following the legal and regulatory requirements. Some audits are conducted by the company’s internal auditors whereas some are performed by external ones.
Various QA Audit Types are as follows:
- System Audit
- Product or Service Audit
- Department Audit
- Process Audit
- Conformance Audit
- Compliance Audit
The organization has various systems which when put together make a whole system. A system audit is an audit performed on any of these systems. Any non-conformity during a system audit is critical, because, if the system itself is wrong, the output is likely to be wrong.
Product or Service Audit
The product or service audit is performed on the product or service to find out if the product or service meets the requirements of the customers and the standards set by the organization. There are various stages at which this can be performed. It could be during the process of product manufacturing, after the product has been manufactured, or even after the product is packed and ready to be delivered to the customer. The nonconformities found during this QA audit are taken very seriously, since all these nonconformities are equivalent to customer complaints.
As the name suggests, the department audit is performed with a focus on a given department. The scope of the audit covers all the activities performed, all the procedures followed and all the systems available in the department. This audit highlights the areas for improvement in that department.
Various processes are critical for the smooth running of an organization. Actually speaking, all the activities from order inquiry to delivery of products follow a defined process in any organization. Hence, an audit of such processes is performed to identify the areas for improvement. Process audit also covers the audit of some special manufacturing processes that are critical for the quality of the end product. These processes may be in-house or at the suppliers place, the one to whom that process has been outsourced to.
The external parties normally perform this QA audit. It is a form of third party audit where the auditing party evaluates if the organization does meet the requirements as are supposed to by the systems. This could also be for any kind of system certifications that organizations wish to apply for. The certificate-awarding agency also conducts the conformance audit periodically to make sure that the organization is meeting the certification requirements.
Compliance audit is performed by regulatory agencies to confirm if the organization is meeting the legal and regulatory requirements. In case of any non-conformity, a re-audit may be required. The purpose of the re-audit is to ensure the effectiveness of the corrective actions taken and complied with.
The output of the audit is an audit report that is circulated to all the concerned people. The purpose of any type of QA audit is not to find mistakes, but to find the areas for improvements. If it is taken by the auditor and the audited party in this spirit, the organization can be sure that it is on the path to improvement and will be able to consistently meet all customers, system, legal or regulatory requirements.