In a QMS certification audit process it is common to generate recommendations for improvement during the process, these recommendations make organizations improve their management systems and processes.
At QMS, we define improvement recommendations as:
- Compliance with the requirements of the assessment criteria (Standards) may be at risk and the organization is obliged to investigate the potential for non-compliance and implement actions.
At the end of the certification audit, the auditor may leave with the organization one or more recommendations for improvements, in the QMS, these recommendations must be handled and in the next audit they will be checked to assess their effectiveness.
But after all, how to deal with recommendations for improvement?
The organization can use the same internal system to deal with non-compliance and thus treat the recommendations for improvement with corrective actions and the effectiveness verification process.
- Correction / Disposition: The organization needs to evaluate an immediate correction, also called disposition, for the recommended improvement recommendation. This process aims to remedy the situation immediately.
- Causes: Just as in non-conformities, it is necessary for the organization to evaluate possible causes that generated this appointment. Within the company’s system there is already a defined method for cause analysis, so it must be applied as such. Tools like the Ishikawa Diagram help this process to get to the root cause.
- Comprehensiveness: the scope assessment process for the recommended improvement recommendations is also fundamental for correct treatment, it must be verified whether the triggering fact of this improvement recommendation can be present in other processes or sectors of the organization.
- Corrective actions: After completing the previous steps and already knowing the root cause of the triggering fact for the improvement recommendations, it is time to establish the action plans. Based on the whole investigation, the organization can take one or more actions to remedy the problem, such as training actions, process review, procedure review, double check of processes, etc.
- Verification of effectiveness: After corrective actions, the organization, in accordance with its internal procedures, verifies the effectiveness of corrective actions.
In the next surveillance audit, all evidence, action plans, records will be verified by the responsible auditor to close the QMS controls and show continuous improvement through improvement recommendations.