Auditing is used to circumvent any question of integrity. Organizations mainly audit the accounting department.
The quality manager and a very enthusiastic administrator spent a couple of hours taking me through their methodology for developing documentation.
They had created an impressive style guide that defined text layout, font styles and format. The templates they had created for procedures and work instructions were logical and well thought out. The process for document issuance and recall appeared relatively bulletproof--even if a bit labor-intensive.
To see how this system behaved in action, I selected the contract review procedure and a rather complex setup document for a spray paint apparatus to follow through to the point of use. Each document contained sophisticated, exacting language and nearly five pages of text.
My first stop was the legal department, where I observed that all the attorneys were able to produce the latest revision of the document and demonstrate their understanding of its content. The quality assurance manager beamed like a proud papa as the neat binder of documents was produced for my inspection.
Then I stopped at the first of four paint stations on the shop floor. I asked the operator how he knew which setup parameters and acceptance criteria to use. He rummaged through a toolbox and produced a laminated piece of cardboard coated with various hues of over spray. The card contained a meticulous, hand-drawn table, matching paints, PSI settings, materials, nozzle types, bake times and finish criteria.
I flipped through the work instruction and chuckled appreciatively. The operator had accurately reduced five pages of verbose text to a concise table that he could refer to at a glance and apply to his task at hand.
The operator at the second station was using an older revision of the correct document. I will spare you what we found when we contacted the other two sites using the same document. Later, as I sat down with a very deflated QA manager in the conference room, I commented on how lucky he was that he had people who cared enough to document what they were doing.
During the ensuing discussion, we came to some common but painful conclusions: The documents were written as a required step in the compliance process, not as a value-added proposition. In fact, the registrars I speak with tell me controlled document violations are their most common finding.
Developing an effective, value-added controlled document system requires planning and monitoring just like any other element of a quality system. Why are you making the considerable investment in a document control system?
There appears to be a direct relationship between the return an organization can expect from the system and the imagination and creativity of those who developed it.
If the intent was to make sure the minimum requisite documents were written and accessible, you can expect a minimum return. If, on the other hand, your team asked itself how each system element could best serve the particular process, the returns would be enormous. Allow for improvement over time Developing reliable and consistent process execution is critical for effective production planning.
To begin, try to separate redesigning processes from documentation. If you see obvious flaws or opportunities for improvement, act on them. Just remember, dismantling and reassembling each process as you document it generally causes more problems than it solves.
This path is akin to designing each room of a house as you build it. But always predicate this approach on developing and tracking pertinent system metrics that will permit you to identify flaws and drive ongoing process improvement. Involve the right people Make sure the people who will be using the documents are involved in writing and reviewing them.
Someone else can polish the language and format if needed. Consider document ergonomics Documents are tools and should be subject to the same initial selection criteria.
Is the tool accurate enough for its intended use? If used correctly, will it give repeatable, reproducible results? Can the user read all the indicators easily while using it?
Have personnel been taught how and when to properly use the tool? Is there a defined storage container or location that protects the tool while ensuring accessibility? All of these criteria apply to documents as well.
Layout, and even the media used to access a document, should be relevant to its use. Design documents that communicate content accurately and quickly. They need to find the information quickly and get back to the task at hand. Operators and inspectors usually welcome color photographs of defects and acceptance criteria.
Clearly defined criteria make operators more autonomous and can significantly reduce the time material sits awaiting additional evaluation by a material review board or additional parties.In an earlier article, Surfing the Web at Work, the status of employee monitoring and some of the reasons why employers might want to monitor employee email and internet use were reviewed.
The article also reviewed the consequences both employees and employers are experiencing in the workplace because of inappropriate use of electronic equipment, email, and the internet. policies and procedures as a function of compliance, risk management, and governance.
The recommendations Benefits of logging, monitoring, and reporting include: • Stronger IT governance—Logging, for auditing, intrusion monitoring, compliance monitoring, and ensuring adherence to segregation.
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