Should you Invest in Training your Employees?

Should you Invest in Training your Employees to be ISO9001, AS9100, ISO13485 or IATF16949 Internal Auditors or Hire a 3rd Party Auditor?

My experience has been if you train your employees to be internal auditors usually, they take the experience and run. They stay at your company a year or two then start looking elsewhere for more money and/or better benefits. When your trained internal auditors, your employees are auditing their friends and find their friend aren’t following the process your internal auditor doesn’t state the process is not being followed in their internal audit report. Your internal auditor does not write a corrective action so no one knows there is an issue. Therefore, your internal audits are not effective.

Do you struggle to keep your internal auditors after they are trained?

If your employee goes through Lead Auditor training, they even more valuable to your company and other companies out there looking to hire someone to lead their Quality Management System (QMS). Chances are you probably don’t want to send your employee to a Lead Auditor course.

Hire a 3rd party auditor to do your internal audits.

Your employees get the experience of internal auditing then after a year or two they leave your company. Now you are faced with are you going to pay for someone else to be trained or is it cheaper to hire a 3rd party auditing firm like then continue to train employees to audit your system. Also, when you hire a 3rd party to do your internal audit, you hire a fresh pair of eyes that are not friends with anyone.

Regardless if your company is ISO9001, AS9100, ISO13485 or IATF16949 every standard requires you to perform internal audits. Who does your internal audits are up to you. Will you choose to continue training employees or go out and look for a 3rd party auditor?

Beware if Your Consultant Wants You to Sign a Contract

So, if you need help implementing or updating your Quality Management System (QMS) who are you going to call? Well, before you call anyone, do some research. Even if you receive a referral from a customer, supplier, or registrar, beware of signing a contract, especially with a large consulting firm. Regardless if you find them from a Google search for ‘ISO9001 consultant’, social media site, or get a referral there are things you need to know before you commit.

Know Your Payment Terms

Once you sign a contract you are legally bound. If you don’t receive the services the company promised you or you just do not get along with the consultant you will be STUCK. When you interview your consulting candidates let them know your payment terms – once they have performed the service, they will be paid 15 or 30 days later, do NOT agree to 50% upfront then the balance after the service is complete. Not every consultant is greedy, but there are a lot of them that take retainers and then generously bill for their time.

In that regard, if you are certified to ISO9001, AS9100, ISO13485, or IATF16949  – BEWARE of the consultant that comes in and needs to change everything because it is wrong. If you are already certified then your system only needs to be tweaked. Many consulting firms like to change documents so they can charge you more money. A good independent consultant with years of experience and good references will be clear and concise when it comes to billing their services.

Consultant Referrals and References

One way to hire a consultant is to get a referral. Even if one of your customers refers a consultant to your company you should call and interview the consultant over the phone. After you speak with them and think you feel comfortable with them invite them to come to your facility. Be sure to ask them for references from companies that they have worked with, then call those companies and find out if the consultant helped them.

Getting a referral may not be convenient and not the only way to go. Just do a little homework, and get references, then you won’t be sorry later.