Audits are a critical part of maintaining ISO 9001 certification for your quality management system (QMS). Sometimes, audits conducted by external groups are beneficial to getting objective information about your business, but internal audits also play a role. When it comes to internal ISO 9001 audits, there are two types to consider: horizontal and vertical. Here is a look at how these two types of audits differ and the best times to use each one.
Horizontal ISO 9001 Audits
A horizontal audit occurs when you choose one process and track how it functions across all departments that interact with it. For example, if you want to see how training records for new employees are handled in different departments in your organization, you can perform a horizontal audit to track the records, see how they are being used in each department, and determine if there are any inefficiencies or mistakes that need to be corrected.
Horizontal audits are a great tool, but they cannot tell you anything about how a given process interacts with other processes in your organization. You may determine during a horizontal audit that your process for maintaining training records is working as intended, but you won’t be able to see if any part of the process is having a negative impact on any other processes. For this reason, horizontal audits are often used to assess processes after corrective actions have been taken on them.
Vertical ISO 9001 Audits
Vertical audits involve assessing all processes and activities undertaken by a department. With this kind of audit, you can see how all of the processes within that department are impacting each other and if there are any issues with how information or outputs are coming into and out of the department.
Conducting multiple vertical audits of closely related departments is the best way to get a complete picture of inefficiencies or quality-control issues. Conducting these kinds of audits can help you identify systemic issues that could be impacting your entire organization.
Trident Quality Management Solutions can assist you with internal audit planning and execution as well as all of the other work you need to do to maintain your certification. Contact us today to learn more about our targeted QMS solutions by dialing (520) 314-4344.