Most organisations are still auditing a quality management system by element or clause of a particular standard and missing out on the value of process auditing and techniques. First of all, be clear on what the core business processes are. Then process auditing can provide real value by evaluating how these processes are performing, how the risks are managed and if the objectives are being achieved.

Start with the big picture. Look at whether or not Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are being achieved. Where KPI’s are not being met, have a look at the improvement programme in place to close the gap. The root cause of not achieving the KPI’s will be one or combination of the process inputs such as manpower, material, method, machinery or environment to protect the service or good. Focus in on which one of those or combination have been identified as root cause.

Ensure management are using a closed-loop system such as the plan-do-check-act cycle. As an auditor, it is important to understand the market, the customers, the suppliers, the core processes of the business and constraints such as finance.