Audit Versus Inspection?


Would you please tell me what the differences between audit and inspection are?


This is a great question.   We can start with the definitions of inspection and audit per the new ISO 9000:2015 standard.  Inspection is “Determination of conformity to specified requirements”  (3.11.7)  and Audit is “systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence and evaluating it objectively to determine the extent to which audit criteria are fulfilled”  (3.13.1).    Without parsing the words to much, the difference is one of scale:  Inspection is most often associated with inspecting a product or a service to make sure it is right, and an audit is most often associated with a higher-level review of the system that is designed to produce and inspect the product or service.    An audit of a manufacturing process wouldn’t just inspect the product, it would ensure (at a system level) that required inspections had already been performed on the product.  I have often made the differentiation in the following way… “An inspection is down in the grass, but to do an audit, you have to climb a tree.”  The reflects the difference in purpose and perspective for an audit.   Other authors, such as Arter, Sayle, and Russell refer to inspections as ‘backward looking’, that is, what was actually done to provide a product or service, while audits are ‘forward looking’.   Audits ensure that proper management controls are in place to ensure product quality into the future.   Instead of inspecting quality in (to a product produced in the past), an audit evaluates how well a quality system will predict and prevent quality problems (in the future).   My three favourite references are Quality Audits for Improved Performance by Dennis Arter, Management Audits, by Allan Sayle, and the ASQ Auditing Handbook, edited by JP Russell.

Thanks very much,

Denis J. Devos, P.Eng
A Fellow of the American Society for Quality
Devos Associates Inc.
(519) 476-8951

Posted in Auditing, Other | Tagged | 1 Comment

Transitioning to ISO 9001: 2015


ISO 2015 has a 3 year implementation period. I recertified in 2014 and need to recertify in 2017. At this point I have a little under one year to transition instead of the 3 years identified. What alternatives are there that I might take advantage of so I have a longer transition period? My 3rd party registrar has been no help.


I would suggest that this individual approach their registrar/auditor and reason with them. I have heard of 3rd party auditors who are willing to help organizations with their transitions in numerous ways, including finding a comfortable way to transition without losing investment made in the current standard.

Second, the requirement to transition over to the new standard is not demanding that people wait until their current certificate runs out.  This company can begin a gradual transition right away. Stretching it over a couple years gives a company plenty of time to ‘learn’ and transition. Therefore, 2017 would be a possible time for a smooth change over to the new standard.

Registrars are our helpers; not some strangers lurking in the dark. They should be approachable and willing to help.

Also ASQ, as well as other sources, offer various forms of transition training and information.  The new standard can seem a bit intimidating at first glance but once thoroughly examined, it is actually more simple in several areas.

Atychiphobia – a persistent fear of failure can lead us to see stumbling blocks ahead of us. You can turn those stumbling blocks into stepping stones with some support from your registrar and a positive attitude.

Bud Salsbury, CQT, CQI
Quality Assurance Manager
Takco Manufacturing

For more information about ISO 9001: 2015, please visit our Learn About Quality page or view these articles about transitioning to ISO 9001: 2015.

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Switching Rules


We are planning to implement ANSI/ASQ Z1.4-2003(R2013) sampling inspection plan with our Finish products which are currently 100% inspected by QC Inspectors.  I read  about the importance of the switching rules  on a continuing stream of lots and have the following  questions:
1.Is it acceptable to select a specific plan (tightened, normal or reduced ) and use it without the switching rules?
2.Are there any exceptions which allow us to use a specific plan without applying  the switching rules?


  1. You can use any plan without using the switching rules but it does run the risk of not meeting the alpha risk in the end. These plans were developed to be used as documented. A normal plan is generally used and the switching rules come in when the clearance number has been obtained.  Some processes may never switch.  If you choose a plan that is tightened or reduced to start with, you potentially will either spend too much on inspection (tightened) or risk having bad product go to the customer (reduced).  It is a business decision for you to make if your customer is not demanding it.  The switching rules are there to protect the producer when the product is running very well or it has problems.
  2. If your customer is not requiring a particular plan, you can use what you want. It is a business decision, no reason for any exceptions.

I hope this helps.

Jim Bossert
Sr Performance Improvement Specialist
JPS Hospital
Fort Worth, TX

Posted in Other, Z1.4 & Z1.9 - Sampling | Leave a comment

ISO 9001:2015 Documented Information Requirements


I am trying to ascertain if I need to write a Quality Manual to comply with ISO 9001:2015. I see some clauses require ‘documented information’. Do I just address those or the entire document?


Thank you for the question.

To begin with, the new ISO 9001:2015 Standard does not present a requirement for a Quality Manual. Those requirements are now part of Clause 4.3 and 4.4 of the new standard. That information “shall” be maintained as documented information.

You would be wise to 1] Acquire a copy of the 9001:2015 standard if you haven’t already done so. 2] Check in for information explaining the new terminology related to the standard. 3] Consider pursuing the services of a quality consultant for thorough guidance.


Bud Salsbury
ASQ Senior Member, CQT, CQI
Takco Manufacturing
Phillips, WI

Posted in ISO 9001 - Quality Management Systems, Other | Tagged ,

Value Stream Mapping


We produce plastic fittings and pipes. We only have one process: only one machine is needed to produce a product.  Can we still benefit from Value Stream Mapping? If yes, could you please explain how?


Thank you for your question.  Value Stream Mapping (VSM) can benefit organizations of any size.  The fundamental question you want to answer is: How quickly can I receive an order, build it, and be paid for it?    This is “order-to-cash”.    Along the way, we look primarily at two things – how quickly and smoothly can I get a build order to flow through my factory, and how do I minimize raw material inventory and work-in-process inventory during that process?    Value stream mapping can benefit your organization by answering some of the following questions…. How long do I wait for raw material (e.g., am I buying from down the street, or does it take months to arrive from China)?  How long is a customer order in hand before I start up my machines to produce it? How long is my machine set-up?  How long does work in process sit between machines?  How long does material sit in the back of the plant before it is shipped?   How long does it take me to get paid?    Value stream mapping can help to answer these questions and challenge your organization to continuously shrink these times.     I had one client who got very good at this.  They insisted on payment from key customers within 30 days, and had payments terms of 60 days with their suppliers.    In many cases, they were paid for their products before they even had to pay for their raw materials.  That’s lean!


Denis J. Devos, P.Eng
A Fellow of the American Society for Quality
Devos Associates Inc.

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ISO 9001: 2015 Deliverables and Processes


Under the revised ISO 9001 2015 standard, what do you see as the key deliverables and processes owned by the Quality manager or QA department?


A project or process is made up of primary components aimed toward successful completion of the project/process objectives.  Those individual components are the deliverables.

In other words; you have Inputs and Outputs. An Output is a deliverable resulting from the process (Input).

The old aphorism “Everyone is responsible for quality” is strongly encouraged throughout ISO 9001:2015. Therefore, with the adage of Risk Based Thinking to the new standard, the Quality manager and the QA department would be responsible for the deliverables of their department and its processes. They would also be responsible for discerning any risks to the company’s goals and objectives.

Bud Salsbury
ASQ Senior Member, CQT, CQI
Takco Manufacturing
Phillips, WI

Posted in ISO 9001 - Quality Management Systems | Tagged ,

ISO 9001: 2015 Design and Development Clause


We are service providers in NDT and inspection field. I want to know how to implement the design and development clause from ISO 9001-2015.


There are two ways to approach this:

One is to use the process developed in ISO 9001:2008, 7.1 where you probably have a “quality plan” for the execution of the service delivery (ISO 9001:2015, 8.1).

The second approach is to design the process itself (ISO 9001:2015, 8.3).  That involves these activities:

• Development of a design plan
Who will do what when with what?
Necessary control points
• Identification of customer requirements as inputs, along with inputs from similar previous service offerings
• Identify any special service characteristics, such as safety issues, regulatory compliance
Consequences of failure
• Identify products/services to be purchased/outsourced
• Documentation of these inputs
• Preparation of an output in a format appropriate to the organization
• A comparison of the outputs with the input requirements and an approval, if required
Outputs should include process monitoring and measuring requirements
• Outputs can include verification, design review and validation*
• A mechanism to handle process design changes

George Hummel
Voting member of the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 176 – Quality Management and Quality Assurance
Managing Partner
Global Certification-USA
Dayton, OH

Posted in ISO 9001 - Quality Management Systems | Tagged