The benefits of a pre-audit during a certification process
How ready are you for a certification evaluation? Many companies could think they are not, and others may believe they are, when, in fact, there are many things still to do before starting the certification process. So, how can a business be prepared to undergo the strict process of an audit certification? A pre-audit is the key to success.
What is a pre-audit?
A pre-audit is an evaluation performed before the actual assessment. You do everything as in the real one, but it has absolutely no value towards the certification. During a pre-audit, the third party reviews all documents to ensure that all procedures are correct. It is very usual for companies to hire a third party to conduct it.
Before undertaking the official evaluation, a pre-audit can be a preparation of sorts. With CICS Americas, 9.5 out of 10 businesses that pass the real audit went through a pre-audit before.
Although a pre-audit is entirely optional, companies see it as their first step in the evaluation process to get a certification. And if that wasn’t enough, you can ask your auditing company to evaluate a specific area in your system in search of any deviance.
What’s the difference between a pre-audit and a desk evaluation?
The desk evaluation is already part of the official audit. During it, the third party reviews the documents, instructives, and processes of each area. Throughout this design stage, the auditor receives all the paperwork that describes the system. Then, during the implementation stage, he visits the site to ensure every process adheres to the design.
The thing is, all the norms tell you what you have to do, but not how. In an official evaluation, the auditing body will only let you know if you comply or not, but not what you need to do. Therefore, a pre-audit will bring upon you all the corrective actions you must take to pass the certification audit with no problem whatsoever.
Here are some of the most prominent benefits of a pre-audit during a certification process:
It’s worth mentioning that the result of a pre-audit, whichever may be, will remain confidential; just you and the auditing body will know it. This external perspective will let your business work its weak points before the official evaluation. Think of it as a valuable practice that will give you much room for improvement.
Identification of non-conformities
The pre-audit will point to any non-conformities found in the system; a corrective action plan will address them immediately. Also, your company will now have a renewed security to undergo the audit. The implementation will be done faster by knowing which aspects of the system need to change to adhere to the quality code in question. It will be a unique opportunity to turn your attention to problematic areas unknown to you until that moment. Our clients know that this is one of the most important benefits of a pre-audit.
Preparation for the official audit
Having identified the non-conformities, now is time to focus the resources on fixing them. But, bear in mind that, depending on the outcome of a pre-audit, your business may decide to postpone the evaluation to prepare better or, on the contrary, obtain the confidence necessary to face the assessment in the best possible way. A pre-audit will give you the roadmap ahead.
No future financial losses
Suppose that you undergo the audit, and some non-conformities arise. You need to address them as quickly as possible not only because it is a requisite for the certification, but because you may need to fulfill a contract already in place with any buyer. If we are talking about a major non-conformity, the investigation and subsequent implementation could take you some time, possibly losing the buyer’s contract. The pre-audit could have identified the risk areas long before something like this happened.
You probably didn’t expect this one benefit, but a pre-audit is likely to lower your stress level during the evaluation process. How? In CICS Americas, we suggest that the same auditor be the same for the pre-audit and the audit itself. Why? By establishing a rapport from the beginning, you and the auditor will work hand in hand with the certification in mind. This relationship of trust will let you feel relaxed towards the ultimate goal.
A pre-audit adds value to your system and the certification process. Although this first step is entirely optional, your business should not pass the opportunity to undergo an evaluation that will open your eyes as to the corrective actions you have to make to succeed. Of course, choosing the right third party to do it is vital to make the most out of the benefits of a pre-audit.