Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Audits at Work

This week the company I work for is going through an ISO 14000 audit. ISO 14000 is a series of internationally accepted standards for an Environmental Management System. ISO 14000 requires that a company consider the environmental aspects of it's operation. We make car parts. Our customers require suppliers to be ISO 14000 certifies, we are obtaining that certification.

I enjoy audits and have been audited by the best. From Naval Reactors to CalOSHA to the EPA and various manufacturing quality standards agencies, I have been audited by them all. My area of authority is usually pretty squared away, and I try to have a good time with the auditors. They are doing their job, and if I have done mine, all goes well (I am, of course, not talking about the city code enforcement crew who's entire reason for being is revenue generation for the city).

Today I broke a golden rule that should always be observed by those being audited, I started talking politics with the auditor.

I was assigned to escort one of the auditors during today's afternoon session. Before we got going, she called her daughter to let her know that they had a place as extras in the show "Friday Night Lights". After we had completed the bulk of the afternoons audit, I mentioned that I was also going to be involved in filming a TV show this weekend. One question led to another and it turns out that she is a pretty steadfast anti. We were both wearing our "big kid" pants so called a truce before things got heated and were able to finish the audit without rancor.

This is a bit out of character for me. I would not normally put an audit at risk like that. My only excuse is that I am so very excited about getting to train with Todd Jarrett this weekend that I can't help but talk about it. One more work day and I'm off.

Thanks again to all of you who voted me into this trip. I can not thank you enough.


Anonymous said...


I'm sure you will do well on your audit. I'm sure the success of passing the audit will add to the excitement of going on your trip.

But I can't not believe that you talked politics with an auditor. That's risky. From personal experience, I know that most auditors are professionals, but some can be a little vindicative.

My job is primarily maintaining our ISO9001 certification so I really speak from experience. I'm sure you reacted appropriately and stopped the conversation but I wouldn't be surprised if someone talks to you about it...I know I would.

Expecting pictures and a full write from the training this weekend. I'm glad a local boy won.

John R said...

You are correct Bob, it is never advisable to talk politics with an auditor.

One of my work life strengths is my ability to work with auditors. Our ISO 9000 and TS auditors all ask for me by name when they visit the facility.

I doubt very seriously there will be any fallout from my momentary indiscretion, and it is not likely something that will happen again..