Surveillance audits are conducted by ISO-recognized bodies to ensure your company is following up on its quality management system (QMS) after getting ISO certified. When a business gets certified, it is based on a functional QMS that meets the international body’s standards.
To ensure long-term compliance with high standards of production, ISO certifications are only valid for a set period, after which companies have the option to renew them or have them removed from their branding. For the former, companies must continue to maintain quality standards acceptable to ISO. Annual surveillance audits help businesses renew their certifications by keeping the company’s production processes in check.
What Are Annual Surveillance Audits?
Let’s say that a business secured a certification based on an excellent QMS model. It developed and implemented a plan that met international standards, documented the procedures, and trained its workforce to maintain these standards. Maintaining such standards over the long run needs a motive.
An ISO 9001 certification, for example, lasts three years from the date of issuance. Maintaining a standard for products and services over this term ensures the certification’s renewal upon its expiry. However, compliance with policies and processes requires a disciplining tool that provides incentives.
Annual surveillance audits are auditory services aimed at keeping the QMS standard of a business in check so stakeholders know which areas to work on in case of non-conformity. The end goal of these audits is to ensure that the company gets an immediately renewed ISO certification upon expiry.
How Do They Improve Quality Management?
Providing regular checks on the company’s procedures helps ensure the company complies with ISO standards while it has its stamped approval. Here is how surveillance audits can improve quality management.
Recognize The Need For Corrective Action
Over time, complications in multi-step procedures are bound to arise. Documentation for existing policies may work well for a certain period of time until rotations within a company or new hires change the dynamic of the problems at hand.
Annual surveillance audits help businesses recognize where they may be lacking and implement corrective action to improve. An annual practice is better than auditing when it is time to renew the ISO certification because it helps you avoid dealing with problems in bulk at once.
Adherence To Quality Standards
When a company opts for annual audits, it makes its priorities known. Standard of quality gives businesses exposure to international markets and large audience pools to make a customer base out of. It only makes sense that a business considers its quality service as an asset.
Adherence to the promises you make through your service is what ultimately drives customer expectations. With an ISO stamp of approval on your brand, a customer will prefer you over others because you promise quality. Annual surveillance audits help your company deliver on that promise by regularly checking the quality of service provided.
Perpetuate A Culture Of Accountability
Regular examination of the business processes is necessary to maintain a workforce that remains dedicated to the company’s goal of quality service. It perpetuates a culture of accountability among employees to keep delivering on the goal of standard service. This boosts productivity, engages the workforce in healthy competition, and accelerates learning.
When a culture of accountability is created, individuals learn their responsibilities clearly and understand the consequences of their role. This causes each step in development and production to be spearheaded by people that care about the end goal.
Consistency In Service
Consistency in service is achieved by upkeeping the standard of products. We intuitively choose to buy from businesses that always meet or exceed expectations. Consistent service drives customer loyalty. If a customer has returned after buying from you twice, they will likely come back for more. To retain this customer, you have to keep delivering on the promise of quality.
Make Re-Certification Easier
Finally, annual surveillance audits keep your auditors in the loop with the company’s status of quality management. This works in your favor because, at the end of three years, when the business’ ISO certification expires, it does not have to go through lengthy QMS checks again to renew its certification. Instead, a simple auditory check from your auditor is enough to establish the company’s compliance with ISO standards.
We are an ISO auditing firm that provides annual surveillance audits to clients that have gotten their ISO certifications from us. We make long-term relationships with clients to help them maintain robust quality management systems. Our associates offer ISO 9001, 13485, 14001, and 45001 certification services to businesses. Get in touch today to get a free estimate of our services.