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“Would You Like to Slip Into Something More Comfortable?

Why truth in ISO audits is better than sounding good

Over the decades PQA Certification has had clients who welcomed the honest assessment of their quality management system (QMS) and others who, let’s say, wanted to show a stellar report to their stakeholders, to make management look better. But we’ve always resisted that, for several important reasons. First, impartiality – objective seeing and reporting of facts – is a cornerstone of any type of auditing, and that should not be compromised. Two, an audit could be compared to your annual physical examination; do you want your doctor or nurse to tell you all is well, when it looks like your health may be in danger?

We well remember a host of cases when the report our auditor delivered was not as pleasant as people wanted to hear. Non-conformances can sound like you ‘really screwed up’ – but all a non-conformance means is that something is not as it should be in the QMS, not that ‘someone’ is the problem. There might have been a lack of data analysis, which means management may not be finding out what they need to know to run a strong enterprise. Or it might have been a lack of planning in purchasing raw materials or outside processes, so a supplier who hasn’t been certified for a certain process is still receiving orders for a critical customer, which could cause problems with that key client.

Someone might not like hearing about this kind of news, but not hearing is worse, wouldn’t you agree?

The Truth about ISO Audit Length and Reporting

Sometimes we’ve received complaints that the audit is longer than the company would like. (Frankly, sometimes they’re longer than we would like!) But there are international-level mandates and calculations on audit time, based on the size and complexity of the company: how many employees in how many locations, and what they’re doing, etc. We follow those mandates just like any other certification company. And if we reduce the audit time below the required minimums, we run the risk of missing something important -- like those findings people don’t really like but need to know about.

During an actual audit, recording actual evidence is a necessary discomfort. We have to show what we found, where we found it, and why it wasn’t what it should have been. Sometimes that gets more embarrassing than someone wants to admit. But the fault is almost never with a person, but with some aspect of the system; and upgrading the system can save time, money, accidents, and customer rejects. Again, would you rather be comfortable, or know the truth?

Plain and Simple – and Truthful

By now this sounds a little like a brag piece, and frankly, we’re proud of how we truthfully and objectively serve our clients with professional audits and reports. But that’s just how the industry is supposed to do it, and we’re careful to meet those requirements.

If we can help you prepare for certification with one of our training packages, or certification audits, please email, or fill out the form at We’ll get right back to you with further questions and a reasonable quote.


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