An Internal Audit is used to assess conformity, evaluate effectiveness, and identify opportunities for improvement. Internal audits also help you prepare for external audits.
It is necessary to demonstrate that your ISO 9001 Quality System is effective. During an internal audit you will compare your quality system against the requirements of the standard. You will select a group of internal auditors from within your company to perform the audits.
You will begin once your system has been implemented and will need to perform internal audits before your Registration Audit. The Registration Audit is the audit which is performed by the Registrar who will issue your ISO 9001 Certificate upon successful completion of that audit.
Before your Registration Audit you will need to use and improve your system for 2-3 months. Read our about using and improving your system in Step 6 for more details.
You will want to have a number of trained internal auditors for your audit program. You will be auditing each area of your facility once or twice a year, with an audit team of 1 to 4 auditors depending on the size of the area. You will want to have enough auditors trained so that the auditors will not audit their own area, and so that you are not pulling one person away from their work too often. A general guidance number is 10% of the total number of employees; a company with 50 employees would train 5 auditors, and company of 100 would train 10. As the number of employees goes up, the percentage would go down.
Look for employees that have a strength in investigating issues and that are good communicators. The better people skills the auditors have, the smoother your audits will be performed.