If you have contracts with the Department of Defense (DoD), then you know that DCMA audits can be a stressful experience. The worries contractors already had about DCMA audits has been amplified with recent changes to the process. The good news is that Trident Quality Management Solutions can support you through the DCMA audit process to ensure it goes smoothly, so you can approach the audit with confidence. Here is what you need to know.
DCMA Audit Process Updated
The DCMA—the Defense Contract Management Agency—assists governmental agencies like the DoD with the administrative side of the contracting process. Although they are typically involved with contractors from very early in the pre-award stage of the process, the DCMA task that is most significant to contractors is typically the audit process. In the past, the DCMA relied on the accreditation and certification body that awards and audits ISO 9001 to confirm that contractors were meeting those standards. Now, the DCMA is going to use their own auditors to assess compliance with ISO 9001 requirements.
DCMA Audit Preparation
The idea of having the DCMA conduct an ISO 9001 audit is worrying for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. The standards are the standards, and in order to maintain your certification, you are already consistently assessing your adherence to the requirements and making adjustments as needed. Preparing for the audit doesn’t require different processes than your typical ISO 9001 audit, except you may find it helpful to have your subject matter expert available to help navigate the differences of opinion that are sure to arise, as they would with any ISO 9001 audit.
Corrective Action Requests
If your DCMA auditor flags an area for improvement, it is important to remember that you have the ability to assess that issue within the context of what is best for your organization. If you have a different opinion about an issue than the DCMA auditor and cannot come to an agreement, they may issue a CAR—Corrective Action Report—to request service improvements. It is best to avoid CARs when possible, so working with your subject matter expert and the DCMA team to find compromises is the best strategy.
Don’t let a DCMA audit cause panic within your organization. Trident QMS has helped countless companies through this process, and we are available to provide the support you need. Call us at (520) 314-4343 to find out more about all of our QMS implementation and support services.