VOL. 14 November ISSUE YEAR 2013
in Vol. 14 - November Issue - Year 2013
Being A Nadcap Auditor Has Really Opened My Eyes
Name: John Tattersall
Nadcap Auditor since: completed training in February 2002 and conducted first solo audit in May 2002
What would be the key piece of advice you¡¦d give to companies preparing for a Nadcap audit?
Whoever is responsible for Nadcap at your company needs to spend an equal amount of hours preparing for the audit as the auditor will spend conducting the audit. So, if it¡¦s a two-day audit, you need to spend at least 16 hours getting ready. That means 16 hours focusing on the audit ¡V no emails, no phone calls. That¡¦s what the Nadcap auditor does. If you take less time than the auditor, then it only stands to reason that the auditor will observe more than you do, and potentially find more issues than you did.
Still, using the auditor as a model, you should go through the checklist and answer every question thoroughly. It is not enough to say ¡§yes¡¨ to a question ¡V you must be able to support that with evidence. For every checklist question, I¡¦d suggest adding a column for procedure, page number and paragraph reference so that the evidence is easy for you to find during the audit itself ¡V plus it forms a key part of your preparation. Ultimately, Nadcap audit success centers on being well-organized.
We all know that first impressions count. Are there any simple things that a company could do to give a good first impression?
I would have to say ¡§no¡¨. I¡¦ve been involved with nearly 550 audits since I became a Nadcap auditor, and I¡¦ve been to some beautiful facilities where the people were not organised, and some older sites where the staff were well-prepared for the audit. Appearances are not the driver.
In your experience, describe the impact of Nadcap on the companies you have audited?
Oh, I have definitely seen an impact! Nadcap has raised the profile of special processes in the aerospace industry. Anything that has to be paid for gets attention, so even the accountants are aware of special process quality now. Within NDT, Nadcap has also raised the status of inspectors from the dark corners of the factory to NDT technicians. Also, Nadcap has helped internal quality and communications because the different departments have to meet to discuss documentation, issues, etc.
What has surprised you about being a Nadcap auditor?
There have been many pleasant surprises; for example, I have seen some very innovative ways of achieving results.
Another surprise, I suppose, is that there is a psychological element to the audit. Some suppliers seem frightened to complain or disagree with an auditor or Staff Engineer. As a Nadcap auditor for over ten years now, I can reassure anyone reading this that the auditors and Staff Engineers certainly don¡¦t think they¡¦re perfect and are open to hearing different perspectives. So anyone who wants to query a decision or NCR should really feel able to do that. There¡¦s no comeback or bad feeling, and NCR¡¦s are sometimes voided.
What attracted you to Nadcap auditing in the first place?
I had been working in the industry since I left school in 1977. I was approaching my 40th birthday and just felt that, if I didn¡¦t branch out and do something different, I would be at the same company until I was ready to retire. I wanted to try something different.
And it was definitely the right move. I have learned more about my job in the last ten years than I did in the first twenty. Being a Nadcap auditor has really opened my eyes. I feel like I¡¦ve seen every different way there is to do a job ¡V although I keep learning new things all the time!