VOL. 12 July ISSUE YEAR 2011

Nadcap Column

in Vol. 12 - July Issue - Year 2011
Audit Observations

Audits can be intimidating at the best of times. No one enjoys being observed carrying out their daily duties by a highly qualified individual with years of experience in the field.
As part of their renewed focus on customer satisfaction, PRI is committed to making the audit experience as straightforward as possible. One of the ways to achieve this is by ensuring the Nadcap program operations are as transparent as possible.
Suppliers sometimes receive requests to have their Nadcap audits observed by Nadcap Subscribing Primes. This can give rise to uncertainty about the reason for the request and what it means. This article explains this simple process and gives advice on how to handle an audit observation effortlessly.

What is an audit observation?

From time to time, Prime representatives may request to observe audits. They will come to your facility during the audit and act as an impartial observer to the proceedings. Although the Subscribing Member is present, it is still the auditor who is solely responsible for conducting the audit. Nadcap Operating procedure NOP-007 affirms that "under no circumstances, shall the Audit Observer interfere with the audit."
If a Subscribing Member requests to attend your Nadcap audit, you will be notified of the request by Scheduling. PRI then requires Supplier confirmation of the audit observation. The selected Supplier has the right to refuse the request of a Subscribing Member to observe their Nadcap audit. This refusal shall be submitted in writing (via e-mail) with justification to PRI Scheduling. PRI shall then notify the Subscribing Member of the refusal.

Why do audit observations take place?

The aerospace industry is committed to the continuous improvement of the Nadcap program. Audit observations are integral to the improvement process. Observations take place in order to ensure audit consistency, by verifying that high standards are being maintained by all auditors. It is not the Supplier being observed, but rather the auditor and the audit process itself.

How do Subscribing Members select which will be observed?

Subscribing Members observe a set number of audits annually. This includes observation across a range of special processes and auditors. The Prime bases their choice of audit upon the suitability factors such as the special process being audited, with regard to fulfilling their observation requirements. The proximity of the Supplier to the Prime’s facility is also taken into account.

How to handle an audit observation

The presence of a Subscribing Member should have very little impact on the audit process. Many rules and checks are in place to make the audit observation run as smoothly as possible. While the Audit Observer can be treated with the same level of courtesy as any other visitor to your facility, the audit will follow its usual course, without any additional workload or inconvenience.

Rules of Audit Observers’ Behavior

Nadcap Operating Procedure NOP-007 outlines how subscribing primes should behave in the event of an audit observation. The key areas discussed in this document are summarized below:
1. The Audit Observer must remember at all times that their role is that of an observer.
2. Audit Observers are not able to roam freely through your facility; they have to remain with the auditor throughout the audit.
3. The Audit Observer cannot consult with either the Auditor or the Supplier in private during the course of the audit.
4. If the Audit Observer notices a potential product impact or product impact issue the Auditor did not identify, the Audit Observer shall contact the appropriate Staff Engineer with the Auditor and Supplier in attendance.
5. The Audit Observer may direct questions to the Auditor, but not to the Supplier. Any questioning should be limited to the scope of the audit and must not disrupt the audit process.
6. The Audit Observer may not request that the unique requirements of the Audit Observer’s organization be included as part of the audit. The audit shall be restricted to the commodity checklist designated in eAuditNet and job audits selected by the Auditor and Supplier. The Audit Observer shall schedule a separate time with the Supplier to address any unique issues beyond the scope of the Nadcap audit.

Is there any aspect of the Nadcap program you want to learn more about? This is an interactive column so please let MFN know what topics would be most valuable to you and we will address as many as we can.