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Today I concluded conducting an IRCA authorized QMS Lead Auditors Course. During the mock audits conducted as part of the course curriculum, the participants’ ability to identify most appropriate clause of ISO 9001:2015 against an NC remained a challenge. In real life first/second/third party audits, even experienced auditors find it challenging to map a given NC to the right clause of the standard. For example, an NC about product delivery with known defects is mapped not only to clause 8.6 of ISO 9001 but also to 8.5.2 (Identification and tractability), 8.7 (control of NC outputs), 9.1 (monitoring and measurements etc) and 7.3 (competence). Needless to say, by doing this the focus on right correction and corrective action is lost, leading to vague responses from auditees.
My advice to auditors is to think for a few moments on the NC or the situation on hand and then mentally map it to ‘most appropriate clause’. Only if necessary, start going through the clauses of the standard for such mapping, To the extent possible, map the situation to one clause only, unless off-course when there is a genuine need to refer to two clauses.
In no case, more than two clauses should be mapped.