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Dad, with my sunglasses on, I look very tanned indeed. And how do you look at your quality system?

16/06/2019 | Bart Bosch | Quality

Coming back from a wonderful holiday with a nice tan, for many that is the ambition of a holiday in the sun. However, it is important not to let your sunglasses colour your reality. Because with a pair of sunglasses, your skin usually looks a few shades darker. The same applies to a quality system. Too many quality managers look at their own quality system with sunglasses, which makes the image look a little more optimistic than what it really is. 

Which quality manager is not afraid to take off his sunglasses and look at how the quality system actually works? If you do so, you will usually notice that the system looks a bit pale and is less healthy than you had hoped for.  

Objective and independent audits?  

In practice, we see that many quality managers rarely take off their sunglasses and usually do not look objectively at the quality system. This phenomenon has several causes. Indeed, audits are carried out on a regular basis. But are they really objective and independent? 

Certification audits 

When we look at how certification audits are conducted in practice, we have to admit that they are not completely independent. You pay the certification company to come and perform an audit. This company has an interest in you passing the audit, so that you can get or keep the certificate. In this way, the certification company assures itself of future revenues. If you fail the audit and lose or don’t get the certificate? In that case, the certification auditors also lose a potential customer. Can an audit be truly independent and objective if this is the case?   

Supplier audits and internal audits 

When we look at the practice of supplier audits and internal audits, we have to conclude that independence and objectivity are not evident in these situations. For example, if all our suppliers are GFSI-certified, it is very difficult to achieve other, contradictory results in the supplier audit. They are audited on behalf of companies by auditors linked to a certification body. The internal pressure on own auditors can also play a role in the assessment of the supplier. In the case of internal audits - in which different departments assess each other - it is also far from self-evident to critically evaluate and negatively assess colleagues.  

No interest in the end result 

If you really want to know the current state of your quality system, you should opt for an independent audit. An audit is only truly independent and objective when the evaluating party has no interest whatsoever in the final result. Otherwise, you’ll inevitably get coloured conclusions. Which quality manager dares to take up the challenge? 

Such an independent audit is certainly worthwhile. When we conduct independent audits, we find that our results do not match the results of the certification audit in no less than 40 percent of the cases.  

Would you like to know more about the importance of conducting an independent and objective quality audit? Contact Quontinuim