Michelle Bangert, Managing Editor of Quality, sat down with Senior QA Auditor, Paul Mignon, about his session at The Quality Show South

Michelle: Can you tell us a little bit more about your session?

Paul: So I have kind of a different, I have a unique perspective on auditing, being a recipient of audits and also in the auditing field. So I've noticed a trend in a lot of audits we receive that there's always a checklist involved and they're very rigid to that. I found that what really suits my purposes better is to, in most cases, not all, but some, is to have a little bit more of a flexible purpose, scope, criteria, and be really transparent with the supplier and have it focus to what I want to look at and it really comes out to a better end result in the end and a pretty good relationship with the supplier and me as a customer.

Michelle: So can you give us a little overview of sort of the auditing basics we're going to talk about?

Paul: So I'm really going to be focusing on the audit plan. I'm going to be focusing on from the customer's point of view. And the basic parts of the audit plan are purpose, scope, audit criteria. And then there's, I'm really going to kind of key in on those parts and explain how you can use those parts, not as a weapon, but as a lever, a leverage, lever to be able to get, you know, maybe you're having problems with a product, or maybe you're having problems with the process, or, and you'd wanna focus your audit plan in that direction, and, by doing that, you're really up front with the supplier. And I've had really good luck in doing this. And so at the same time, I can usually even solve problems while I'm on an audit. So what may start off as an audit might end up as I may even stop the audit halfway through and do problem solving the rest of it. And it's been beneficial for both of us. I like in the summer you talked about a respectful relationship is really important for auditing. So could you talk a little more, what's the key to kind of developing that? JP Russell is a former member of, he's passed away, he's a former fellow at ASQ, he's an auditor, and he has a list called J.P. Russell's best etiquette guides or something like that.

And he has a list and it really felt true tome. I mean, be on time, you know, follow safety rules I try to really be respectful of the suppliers time and people resources and everything they've done to let me come in for a day or two days and sometimes even three but usually it's two for usually audit solo. And so, you know, one of them is don't try and trap the supplier. And so, always let the supplier know where you're at on your perceptions. So if like, if you think you have a finding, let them know. And then let them try and explain it to you. A lot of times you might have, you might be getting a story all wrong. So I never, I never, you know, come to the end of an audit and then start popping findings on them that they had no idea where they came from because I don't like that when that happens to me, and so I don't turn around, I don't do that to people. So that's one way. Other ways is to be respectful of the supplier's, kind of their org chart and their hierarchy of employees.

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